What Are the Eight Main Islands of Hawaii?

What Are the Eight Main Islands of Hawaii?
There are eight main islands in the state of Hawaii. Most of these islands are well-known to visitors, like Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Visitors to Hawaii will find that each of the islands have a different feel. Some are more laid back than others. However, some of these islands are considered kapu, "forbidden," and do not allow any visitors at all.


The island of Oahu is known as the "gathering place," as 70 percent of the state's population live on Oahu. Popular sites for visitors to Oahu include the world-famous surf on Oahu's North Shore and Waikiki Beach, which is an excellent spot for beginner surfers.


Maui is often referred to as the "Valley Isle." It is one of the most popular islands for tourism, though it remains not as built up as Oahu. Popular sights to see on Maui include sunrise from the top of Haleakala; the drive along the Hana Highway and the many trails and waterfalls along the way and whale watching at Lahaina and Maalaea.


Kauai is nicknamed the "Garden Isle." The island is most famous for Waimea Valley, which is referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." In addition, the Na Pali coastline is very popular for visitors. There are no roads leading to the Na Pali coastline, so it is only accessible via trails, water or by helicopter.


The island of Hawaii is typically known as "the Big Island" due to its size. At 800,000 years old, it is the youngest of the Hawaiian islands and is still growing. Visitors can witness the island growing by visiting the lava flow at Kilauea.


The small island of Molokai is nicknamed the "Friendly Isle." The island once housed a leprosy settlement. Today, visitors will find spectacular sea cliffs which rise thousands of feet into the air. Visitors can take mule rides passed the sea cliffs and up to the former site of the leprosy colony at Kalaupapa peninsula.


Lanai is known by many as the "Pineapple Isle" because, according to Maui Revealed, throughout most of the 20th century, 98 percent of the island was owned by Dole Pineapple. However, today it is a privately owned island. Visitors to Lanai should take advantage of the many dolphin boat tours available, which are very popular.


Niihau is considered the "Forbidden Isle." It is the smallest of the inhabited islands and is a privately owned island owned by the Robinson family. Niihau is off limits to visitors, although there are a limited amount of boat tours that do visit the island.


Kahoolawe was once used by the U.S. military for target practice. Because of this, the island has been nicknamed by locals as the "Target Isle." Today, it is undergoing restoration in the hopes that it will one day serve as an educational center on native Hawaiian culture.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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