Hawaii is like no other place on earth. Home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the world’s tallest sea mountain. Birthplace of modern surfing, the hula and Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Former seat of a royal kingdom and home to the only royal palace on US soil. Hawaii is one of the youngest geological formations in the world and the youngest state of the union. But perhaps Hawaii’s most unique feature is its aloha spirit: the warmth of Hawaii’s people that wonderfully complements the Islands’ perfect temperatures. There are six major islands to visit in Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. You’ll find each island has its own distinct personality and offers its own adventures, activities and sights. Mark Twain called Hawaii, “That peaceful land, that beautiful land… the climate, one long delicious summer day, and the good that die experience no change, for they but fall asleep in one heaven and wake up in another.” We invite you to explore the Islands of Aloha to find your own heavenly Hawaii experiences.
Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States of America. Situated nearly at the center of the north Pacific Ocean, Hawaii marks the northeast corner of Polynesia. While it was once a major hub for the whaling, sugar and pineapple industries, it is now economically dependent on tourism and the U.S. military. The natural beauty of the islands continues to be one of Hawaii’s greatest assets. 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.
Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu is the state’s capital, largest city, and cultural hub. Hawaiian and English are the official languages of Hawaii. Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii’s major airport, serving as the entry point for most of Hawaii’s visitors. All major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Oahu, so you can get here from just about anywhere. There are also direct flights from the continental US to Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island. Hawaii’s currency is the US dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are plentiful ATM machines. Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time UTC/GMT -10 hours and does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
WEATHERAlthough there are no true “seasons” in the islands in the same sense as the rest of the U.S., the climate does go through annual cycles based on rainfall. The “wet” season in Hawaii (cooler temperatures and more rainfall) runs roughly from October to March, and the “dry” season (warmer temperatures and less rainfall) from April to September. There is therefore a higher probability of rain if you visit during the peak of tourist season in late December or January. Hurricane season in the islands runs from June to November. Although Hawaii’s relative isolation means that it is affected only rarely by tropical cyclones, a destructive storm will occasionally hit the Islands.
Overall, Hawaii is warm and balmy — when you step out of the plane you’ll immediately notice that the air is soft and humid — and during the summer months the tradewinds provide a pleasant breeze. Daytime temperatures generally range from the low 80s (27°C) in “winter” to the high 80s (31°C) in “summer”. Very rarely does the air temperature exceed 90°F (32°C) even in the hottest part of summer; however, the humidity will make it feel as if it were a few degrees hotter. Ocean temperatures range between 77°F (25°C) degrees in the winter to 82°F (28°C) in the summer. There is usually no more than a 20°F (12°C) difference between daytime high and nighttime low temperatures.
Depending on where you’re located in Hawaii, the weather can be very different over even short distances. On the same day, on Oahu you might find sun over the beaches in Waikiki and rain only a few miles away in Manoa Valley.
Although the islands receive abundant amounts of both sunshine and rain, rain is more likely on the north and east sides of the islands, which face the prevailing northeasterly tradewinds (the “windward” side of the island), as well as the mountain peaks and valleys. The moist tropical air carried by the tradewinds is forced upward by the mountains, resulting in clouds and rain. Rain is less likely on the coastal areas of the “leeward” sides (the south and west sides) of the islands.
Whale watching season begins in late December and ends in early May. Peak whale watching months are between January and early April. November through February is big wave surf season on Hawaii’s north shores.