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Hawaii is My Favorite State - 10 Reasons Why

Updated on October 5, 2014
Turquoise seas and sapphire skies are typical coastline sights.
Turquoise seas and sapphire skies are typical coastline sights. | Source

Hawaiʻi recently made national headlines when Public Policy Polling announced their findings on American's impression of the 50 states. The October of 2011 poll surveyed voters over a four month period and on February 21st, Hawaii was announced as American's favorite state. I have been living in Hawaiʻi for the last 24 of my 53 years. My experience residing in Virginia, Connecticut, and Arkansas, although pleasant was no comparison to the every day joy of living in the rainbow state. For me Hawaiʻi, USA's 50th state, wins by a landslide. Here are my top ten reasons why.

1. Culture

While the number of Hawaiians has dwindled down to 10 percent of Hawaii's population, the native Hawaiian culture is strong and vibrant in the islands. Place names are mostly in Hawaiian. The average tourist twists their tongue pronouncing vowel ridden but historically symbolic town and street names. The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters which combine with diacriticals to depict the lyrical language. Kamaʻāinas or long time residents like myself continue to discover the nuances of this wise, ancient oral, but only recently written language.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Asians account for 38 percent of Hawaii's population, Caucasains 24 percent, Hispanics 9 percent, and African Americans 3 percent. Many people are a mixture of these with 23 percent having some Hawaiian blood. Hawai'iis the most ethnically diverse state in America. This international melting pot makes for a rainbow of ethnic lifestyles and perceptions.

In the mid 1800s to mid 1900s Hawai'i was economically controlled by the Big Five. Five companies owned by missionary descendants produced sugar and built railways to transport it. Hawai'i was yet to become a state, and the Big Five, finding themselves at a loss for labour imported influxes of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Korean immigrants to work alongside Hawaiians in the fields. Working conditions were deplorable with management encouraging a racial caste system as a way of increasing production. Ironically this led to the development of pidgin, a creole that workers used to communicate with each other, and eventually organize a protest group. The sugar plantations would shut down as they became economically unfeasible, but many islanders still speak Hawaiian pidgin.

Although Hawaiian language is taught in the public schools, some say it is no longer being spoken in Hawaiian homes, and express concern that the language is dying. I believe Hawaii's musicians will keep that from happening. If you come to O'ahu for a visit turn your dial to 105.9 KINE, you will hear new and old local artists singing hawaiian songs in a unique style.

Hawaiian Slack Key

2. Music

Hawaii's diverse culture and unique history as an independent nation has led to a local style of music I find amazing. Falsetto hawaiian voices, ukeleles, and slack key guitars combine to flavor a unique niche in the music world. Slack key guitar and other music festivals are held throughout the year. Historically, this tiny group if islands has contributed hugely to the music world with the steel guitar, slack key guitar, and ukelele. Hawaiian music found popularity on the US mainland in the 1950s. Gabby Pahinui, Loyal Garner and others gained new fans and became local celebrities. Today the unique history of Hawaiʻi can be seen through both song and dance.

3. Hula

Thanks to the Merrie Monarch Festival, most Americans now realize that hula is much more than pretty girls in grass skirts and coconut shells dancing. The Merrie Monarch Festival was named after King David Kalakaua. Kalakaua's conviction that revitalizing traditional culture meant survival of the Hawaiian Kingdom became a major factor in hula's continuity. Held every April on the Big Island, Hawaii's dance groups or hula hālau compete against one another for Merry Monarch trophies, the dance contest is just as popular as little league baseball, if not more so. The hands and facial expression play a key role for dancers and the dances themselves tell the history and culture of Hawaiians. Ladies . . . let's face it - where else in the world do young, handsome flower adorned men dance for you?

4. Climate

Hawaiʻi has two seasons; Winter is from November to April. The winter sees more rain, wind and colder temperatures. One very cold night in January, I was high on a hill and my car's temp gage read 56 degrees/13 celsius. That's the coldest I've seen it. August, September and October are the hottest months, yet we seldom see 90 degrees/32 celsius. Trade winds grace shorelines so often, the heat is seldom noticed. Some people . . . people who haven't lived in Northern Virginia think it's humid. Hawaiʻi is called "The Rainbow State" for a good reason. Rainbows are a weekly phenomenon in certain areas of Hawaiʻi, when sun and rain combine to create beautiful prisms. I have seen a few double rainbows, but never a triple rainbow and of course when I do, I won't have my camera. Gardening is year round. I suffer from SAD or seasonal affective disorder, this malady is a depression that occurs from lack of sunlight. When my plane landed in Oʻahu 24 years ago, I had come from a dark Main Land February. I looked out the sunlit window and thought "this is the place for me."

5. Cuisine

Pineapple, mango, papaya, guava, apple bananas, and kiwis are just some of Hawaii's fruits. Grown in gardens or commercially produced, they flavor many island dishes with their salsas. The Pacific Ocean provides a wide variety of fish. Sushi and poke are found in virtually every grocery store and even a few fast food chains. Poke is raw fish, clam, octopus or squid . . . usually combined with garlic, onion and spices to create a delicious salad. Food from just about every nation is available in the Honolulu/Waikiki area. Coffee, vanilla and cacao beans are produced in Hawaii and nowhere else in the United States. Hawaii is the only US state producing taro. Taro, which grows in Asia as well as other tropical areas is a mainstay of the Hawaiian diet which they pound to make poi. I had the joy of tasting poi straight from the field and fresh after pounding. It was scrumptious and no comparison to the poi you find at local grocery stores or luaus.

6. Health Care

People born in Hawaiʻi, live longer than those born in any other state, men to an average of 77.1 years and women to 82.5 years. The U.S. Center of Disease Control or CDC announced their statistics on American Obesity in 2010 and Hawaii ranked 45 out of 50 for the least obese state. This is most likely due to the year round ability for outdoor activity and the large percentage of asians, who fall at the low end of obesity scales. Hawaiʻi is often used as an example to other states for its compassionate health care system. The state requires employers to insure any workers clocking more than 20 hours per week - perhaps another reason these islanders live longer than other Americans.

7. Flora and Fauna

As an island chain thousands of miles away from any continent, Hawaiʻi has endemic species of flora and fauna seen nowhere else. Water, wind and wings brought seeds that grew into unique plants. The endangered Hawaiian Monk seal is seen only in Hawaiʻi. Humpback whales come to Hawaiʻi in the winter. Sea turtles have gone from an endangered to a protected species here. While it is sad that Hawaii has the greatest number of extinct bird species in the world, most endangered birds are now being studied and protected on The Big Island. Oahu is now host to many winged wonders from round the world.

8. Volcano

Kīlauea on Hawaii's Big Island, is the most active volcano in the world. The Hawaiʻi National Volcano Park sees millions of visitors every year. At night you can see distant red hot lava flowing into the sea. The park has a museum and gift shop, but most amazing are the volcanic steam vents and the lava flow marvels that have become tunnels and bizarre shaped rocks. The gases from the volcano are carried by winds throughout the islands and while sulfur can bring headaches and itchy eyes, it and other chemicals mix with the sun's rays and air to create purple tinted sunrises and sunsets seen nowhere else.

Public rights of way to beach encircle the island of Oahu.
Public rights of way to beach encircle the island of Oahu. | Source

9. Beaches

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the public's right to go to the beach. Public access to beach is strongly encouraged in resort and community building plans. Oʻahu, for example has 92 public rights of way that are a lei around the island. These access ways listed by the City and County are marked by bright blue signs. Most lead to public beach parks and priceless panoramas.

10. Aloha Spirit

Hawaiʻi is called the Aloha state for a reason. In Hawaiʻi, you hear aloha all the time and you feel aloha spirit everywhere. Taken literally alo means now and ha means breath, but ha like most hawaiian words has a deeper meaning as well and that is to bring joy. Aloha is about bringing joy to the here and now, to you and me. Aloha means honor, respect and friend. Regardless of the exact meaning, most of Hawaii has aloha spirit most of the time.

You will see aloha spirit on the roads when the driver with right of way waves the driver at the impossible turn to go ahead. This is usually followed by a "shaka" sign exchange between the motorists. The shaka sign is a hand gesture with the pinky and thump extended. Like aloha spirit the shaka sign is another island tradition.

Is Hawaii on your bucket list?

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    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 5 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      You just tell your place of work if their ever hiring someone for maintenance that you know someone that would love the position lol :)

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 5 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      yea i bet may to july would be great, i dated a girl when i lived in cali from hawaii. She was pacific islander and she told me about all their rituals and stuff. It was really neat getting to know all of that. And by the way, anything above 70 would be perfect for me. It keeps dropping below 40 here in the mornings here in indiana lol

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Isenhower33, enjoy your visit to Hawaii. The weather is perfect here, but it the most perfect between May to July. Thanks for visiting my hub:)

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 5 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      I wouldn't even have to read this to know that i would love to be in hawaii. I had basketball scholarships to play there but never went. Wish i could go back and take the scholarship. Its one of the few states i haven't visited yet, but im sure i will make my way there within the next year :)

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      YogaKat, Please let me know if you come across a walkway without rails, because it's probably the scene in my dream! I tend to place the scene in Hawaii.

      I agree with you: "nothing like a captive audience". And you and your friend have insured that by a book which fills an important gap. Bravo!

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Stessily thanks for your visit . . . I canʻt believe I forgot to put in a comment box. That will be taken care of right away! I enjoy your comments as they are always innovative and thorough. The walkway at Mākālei Park is actually on top of a wall that fronts condos. The rails are a safety necessity and I assume they were always there as they seem strongly embedded into the concrete wall-walkway. Thanks for mentioning my book. We were just interviewed by an editor of Hana Hou (Hawaiian Airlines Magazine) and are likely be a feature in their December/January issue. Nothing like a captive audience to elevate sales:)

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      YogaKat, I'm coming back here to leave a comment here about "How to Find a Secluded Beach Near Waikiki", which apparently has no comments module.:-)

      This sentence, early in that hub, is enchanting and creates an incomparably lovely image in my mind: "O`ahu's public parks are a lei around the island."

      When I came to your profile of Mākālei Park, I had to take a quick break to look for images of its walkway, over which, "at high tide waves crash up and over the rails." Mākālei Park may very well be the scene of one of my recurring oceanic dreams. For many moons now I've dreamed of living near a sidewalk which is washed over with lapping waves. But there are no railings in my dream. Is it possible that the railings were added later, or that a section of the path is or once was without railings? In my other recurring oceanic dream I am swimming with dolphins in Hawaii.

      "How to Find a Secluded Beach Near Waikiki" is interesting, informative, entertaining, very helpful. The information you've provided seems priceless.

      By the way, congratulations on your first book, O'ahu Beach Access! As with "How to Find a Secluded Beach Near Waikiki", your book provides information which may not previously have been easily accessible and which is certain to be valued by locals and tourists alike. I look forward to owning a copy, which will be much used when I venture to paradise.

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting reasons YogaKat. I'm enamoured by the natural beauty of Hawaii as well as the hula dance.

      Mahalo, my friend.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Thanks for commenting and voting Girishpuri :) I hope you can make your dream come true.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      It is my dream to visit Hawaii, Great share, votes up.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 5 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Mr Love Doctor, I have been to your beautiful island twice. It is all that you say. Puerto Ricoʻs landscape and vistas are very similar to Hawaiiʻs. Many of the same trees, plants and flowers as well - though we donʻt have those charming little frogs singing every night.

    • Mr Love Doctor profile image

      Mr Love Doctor 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Thanks for this Hub. You should come visit us here in Puerto Rico - "La Isla del Encanto" - where you will find many of the same reasons to love the place (culture, language, history, sunny beaches, weather, seasons, dance, music, etc.) that are so different from the mainland. We're a very Spanish place, closer to Europe in terms of lifestyle and attitudes than we are to the USA. Of course we're not a state and I'll fight to keep it that way, but otherwise your observations of how wonderful it is to live in Hawaii remind me of why I won't give up my Puerto Rico!

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 6 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Thanks for reading SteveW13 and Mhatter99. Aloha is the best word to describes Hawaii?s "state."

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hawaii is not a state. it is a "state". Thank you for this :)

    • STEVEW13 profile image

      Steve Wright 6 years ago from Norwich, England

      Hawaii really does look and sound like a very special place, I would love to come and see it for myself one day. You do it great justice with your hub.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 6 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Aloha stessily, thanks for reading and commenting. Hula hoops were the bomb! I am missing my old hula hoop. Come visit Hawaii, you won't want to leave:)

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      YogaKat, Your reasons for living in paradise are beautiful. I grew up with a hula hoop, which I kept way far into adulthood.

      I've often thought that Hawaii might be the place for me. Perhaps some day soon!

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 6 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Thanks for popping in pandula77. Hush4444 - thanks for your Merrie Monarch gem and for your aloha spirit :)

    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 6 years ago from Hawaii

      Wonderful, wonderful hub! I think I have SAD too - gloomy, cold weather depresses me and makes me lethargic. You aptly described all the qualities that make Hawaii such a great place to live. Thank you so much for linking my hub to this gem! Mahalo nui loa!

    • pandula77 profile image

      Dr Pandula 6 years ago from Norway

      I think you are spot on with the likable reasons! Thanks.


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