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Hawai‘i became the 50th state in the United States in 1959.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located outside North America. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

The eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the “Big Island” or “Hawaiʻi Island” to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.


Hawai‘i’s official nickame is “The Aloha State,” but has been called Paradise of the Pacific and The Islands of Aloha. Any visitor who has been to the Islands, as well as those who live here, truly believe it is a paradise filled with the Spirit of Aloha.

Get a glimpse of Hawai‘i with Go Hawai‘i

Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono. (The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.)

– Hawai‘i State Motto

Explore O’ahu

O‘ahu is Hawai‘i’s third largest and most populated island, where you can find the State Capital, Honolulu. O‘ahu’s nick name is “The Gathering Place,” a nod to the fact that over two thirds of the state’s population resides on the island.

O’ahu is broken into five unofficial areas:

  • The fabled North Shore
  • South Shore / Metro Honolulu
  • Central O‘ahu
  • Windward Coast (east shore)
  • Leeward Coast (west shore)

Explore the neighborhoods in each area by clicking on the galleries linked below.

Explore North Shore

Explore Central Oahu