Hawaii is the biggest island in the chain of Hawaiian islands and is typically referred to as the "Big Island." The island is also the youngest of all the islands, and is still growing. Today, Kilauea volcano continues to pour lava into the ocean creating more landmass for Hawaii. The island is also home to Mauna Kea, which, according to Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed, is higher than Mount Everest, from base to the summit. Amongst the popular things to see and do on Hawaii is visiting Volcanoes National Park.
Oahu is home to 70 percent of the state's population, making it the busiest island in Oahu. It is the center of commerce and also the location of the state capital, Honolulu. Oahu has many big attractions of offer visitors. It is home to the Arizona Memorial. In addition, Waikiki Beach can be found on the leeward side of Oahu. Waikiki is a busy tourist spot and is also an area that is popular with beginner surfers.
Kauai is known for its lush tropical vegetation, and as such has been the location of many movies such as Jurassic Park. The two most popular sites for visitors continues to be Waimea Valley, a canyon which Mark Twain coined the "grand canyon of the Pacific;" in addition there is the NaPali Valley filled with waterfalls and beautiful mountain ranges. The valley is inaccessible by road but can be seen easily by helicopter or boat. Part of Kauai County includes the neighboring island of Niihau. Niihau is a private island though tour boats will sometimes stop there.
Maui County consists of four islands: the main island of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kohalooawe. Kahoolawe cannot be visited. Kahoolawe has, at different times, been over-farmed, used as a penal colony and used by the military for target practice. Today, it is under restoration. Lanai is a privately owned island though visitors are still able to stay there. Molokai was once home to a leprosy colony. Today, visitors can take mule rides up to the location of the former leprosy colony. Maui is a popular destination for whale watchers. In addition, it is famous for the road to Hana which has numerous waterfalls, trails and beaches worth visiting along the way.
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
The islands north of Hawaii are known collectively as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The islands included in this region are: Nihoa, Necker Island, French Frigate Shoals, Gardner Pinnacles, Maro Reef, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Midway and Kure Atoll. These are uninhabited islands that extend over an area 1,000 miles north of Kauai.