How Many Islands Are in the State of Hawaii

How Many Islands Are in the State of Hawaii?

Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, tropical climate, and vibrant culture. One of the most fascinating aspects of this beautiful archipelago is its numerous islands. Many people wonder, just how many islands are there in the state of Hawaii? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question, along with some frequently asked questions about the islands of Hawaii.

Hawaii is composed of a total of 137 islands, although not all of them are habitable or accessible to the public. The archipelago stretches across 1,500 miles in the Central Pacific Ocean and consists of eight main islands: Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Each island offers its own unique charm and attractions, making Hawaii a dream destination for travelers.

The largest island in the Hawaiian chain is Hawaii, often referred to as the Big Island to avoid confusion with the state’s name. It covers an area of approximately 4,028 square miles and is home to diverse landscapes, including active volcanoes, lush rainforests, and stunning beaches. The Big Island is known for its famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where visitors can witness the power and beauty of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Maui, the second-largest island, is renowned for its pristine beaches, world-class resorts, and the iconic Road to Hana. With its warm climate and breathtaking scenery, Maui offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, surfing, and hiking. The famous Haleakala National Park, home to the world’s largest dormant volcano, is another popular attraction on this island.

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Oahu, often referred to as “The Gathering Place,” is the third-largest island and home to the state capital, Honolulu. This bustling city offers a vibrant nightlife, luxury shopping, and a variety of cultural experiences. Oahu is also famous for its world-renowned Waikiki Beach, the historical Pearl Harbor, and the iconic Diamond Head crater, which offers panoramic views of the island.

Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle,” is the fourth-largest island and offers visitors a tranquil and lush paradise. With its stunning cliffs along the Na Pali Coast, awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon, and breathtaking waterfalls, Kauai is a haven for nature lovers. The island’s diverse landscapes have made it a popular filming location for many Hollywood movies, including Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Molokai and Lanai are two smaller islands that offer a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path experience. Molokai is known for its pristine beaches, ancient Hawaiian fishponds, and the towering sea cliffs of Kalaupapa. On the other hand, Lanai, once known for its pineapple plantations, is now a luxurious getaway with stunning resorts, world-class golf courses, and secluded beaches.

Niihau and Kahoolawe are two islands that are not open to the public. Niihau, often called the “Forbidden Island,” is privately owned and home to a small community that preserves traditional Hawaiian culture. Kahoolawe, once used for military training, is now a conservation area and cultural reserve, undergoing restoration efforts to revive its native flora and fauna.


Q: How many of the Hawaiian islands are inhabited?
A: Out of the 137 islands, only seven are inhabited year-round: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, and Niihau. Kahoolawe is currently uninhabited.

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Q: Can you visit the uninhabited islands?
A: While some uninhabited islands are accessible to the public for certain activities such as snorkeling or wildlife observation, others are privately owned or restricted due to conservation efforts.

Q: Are there any additional islands that are not included in the eight main islands?
A: Yes, apart from the eight main islands, there are dozens of smaller, uninhabited islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago.

Q: How can I travel between the islands?
A: There are several options for inter-island travel, including domestic flights operated by Hawaiian Airlines and other smaller airlines, ferry services, or private charters.

Q: Which island is the best to visit for first-time travelers?
A: Each island offers its own unique attractions, so it depends on personal preferences. However, Oahu is a popular choice for first-time visitors due to its mix of urban experiences, historical sites, and beautiful beaches.

In conclusion, the state of Hawaii comprises a total of 137 islands, with eight main islands being the most popular and accessible for visitors. Each island offers a distinct experience, from the active volcanoes of the Big Island to the lush landscapes of Kauai. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Hawaii’s islands have something for everyone to enjoy.