No one knows exactly when the Hawaiian Islands were settled or how old the original Polynesian cultural really is. Waves of immigrants arriving from Tahiti in the 13th and 14th centuries began the cultural blending that continued after the British happened on the islands in 1778. Settlers poured onto the islands, bringing western ways, which the King urgently worked to unite into a cohesive culture. The attack on Peral Harbor and the major role played by citizens of the Hawaii Territory in World War II changed how the way it was viewed on the mainland, leading to full statehood in 1959. Strung across 1,600 miles in the northern Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s 132 islands are the tips of giant volcanoes formed above a vent leading into the heart of the earth. They are part of the Ring of Fire, part of the same circle of volcanoes in Oregon and Northern California. Older island sank under the weight of the lava, while new ones that rose up tower up to 14,000 feet above sea level. Most of the volcanoes are dormant, but Kilauea is the world’s most active hot spot. Today, more than 80% of Hawaii’s population lives in Honolulu and Oahu, Maui and Kauai are the most visited islands. The ancient cultures of the islands are celebrated at the Polynesian Cultural Center, a must do when visiting. In addition to the white sand beaches, you’ll discover tropical jungle, lush island gardens, wildlife, scenic drives, historic churches, royal palaces, plantations, maritime heritage, ancient stone temples, high rises and more. Yet, Hawaii’s famous aloha spirit is likely what you’ll remember most when you return home. It makes friends of strangers, melts cultural barriers, and inspires understanding. Enjoy it all – every day is another day in paradise!

Hawaii Scenic Byways