The 36 Best Things About Hawaii (Yes, Really)

Two years ago, HuffPost Hawaii was launched to put the spotlight on the Islands, not just as a postcard, but as a community, as Arianna Huffington said at the time. And from the very first story listing vital Hawaiian words to live by to the many insightful blog contributions along the way, we have come to love (LOVE) the land of a thousand rainbows.

How do we love it? Let us count the ways:

1. Remoteness
Because there are some serious perks of it being 2,500 miles to the next closest landmass -- namely, nightscapes, star-gazing and moonrises:
oahu moonrise 3

2. Beach ingenuity
Forget just swimming and surfing, when people spend this much time at the beach, they get insanely creative about how to enjoy it:

3. Our surf-crazed weatherman
We love you, Guy Hagi, we really do.

4. The culture
Because it's way more than luaus and flower leis. It's a history, a practice, a respect and a beautifully deep connection to the land that has existed for centuries.
molokai hula

5. The diverse trees
From rainbow eucalyptus and banyan craziness to lilikoi deliciousness and avocado goodness, Hawaii's trees aren't just life-affirming, they're award-winning.
banyan tree hawaii

6. Our bad-ass wahine
From eco-minded free-divers who swim with sharks to inspiring Tarzan children who live to spread aloha, chances are if you grow up in Hawaii, you're going to be pretty darn cool.

7. Our kane do pretty well for themselves, too
Good form, Barry. Good form.
obama sandy beach

8. Pidgin

9. People watching in Waikiki
Because where else can you be surrounded by swarms of truly happy, unguarded people on vacation?

A post shared by Elisa Chang (@swaggerlee) on

10. The science nerds
Between the marine biologists, the volcanologists, the Mars researchers, the oceanographers, and the astronomers, Hawaii is home to an amazing amount of scientific research.

11. The rain
What can we say? Rain in Hawaii has so much personality that ancient Hawaiians had 200 names for it -- and they're all beautiful.
hawaii rain

12. POG
Passion. Orange. Guava. The taste takes you back to your hana butta days, or your last interisland flight on Hawaiian Airlines. Either way, we're pretty sure it's addicting.
pog juice

13. Pele
There are many intriguing stories behind the fiery goddess of volcanoes, but here's one warning you should heed: Offer her aloha (and maybe a little gin) or respite.

14. Pau hana
Because, in Hawaii, happy hour isn't limited to just one hour.

15. #LuckyWeLiveHI
It's not just a hashtag, it's our motto -- and it says a lot about how we live our lives.

16. Aloha Fridays
It's the original casual friday and also the best dressed.

17. SPAM Jam
Because SPAM musubi is just the beginning of SPAM's deliciousness.

18. Equality
We're the best state in the country for women's equality and the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Unofficially, we're the best place to get married, too.
gay wedding

19. All the perfect bowls
We'll have an acai bowl for breakfast, a poke bowl for lunch, a bowl of pho for dinner, and the Ala Moana Bowls for surfing, thank you very much.

A post shared by Yuki Nakaiwa (@yukinakaiwa) on

20. It's unreal
That's the only way to describe the experiences you have here, and we have an entire website to prove it.

21. We have surfing pigs
And he's a rock-star. Meet Kama.

22. We have so much fun, it's sometimes illegal
From climbing up 4,000 steps on the "Stairway To Heaven" to sliding down an outrageous 60 foot water slide, even Hawaii's illicit attractions are amazing.

23. Honu
Because they don't care about us, but that doesn't stop us from adoring them.

24. Little groms
We don't even care that they make us look like fools in the water, pint-size surf prodigies are stinking adorable.

25. Snow days
Because just when you think you have Hawaii figured out, it snows on the Big Island.
snow mauna kea

26. Pipeline
Because the entire state is obsessed with one wave:

27. "The Happiest Man In America"
The "Happiest Man In America" lives here, but he's not the only one. Hawaii locals are less stressed and happier than residents of any other state -- they also live longer.

28. Ukuleles
The rest of the country can have their dueling banjos. Our deliverance is in these dueling ukuleles.

29. You never need to live anywhere else
Once you live in Hawaii, it ruins any chance you have to live a "normal" life on the mainland.

30. Pineapples
They're kind of the weirdest fruit ever. They're ridiculously adorable when they're little and actually make pretty scary jack-o-lanterns.

31. We're home to magic.
Where else can you find fiery water and beaches made entirely of sea glass?
lava hawaii

32. Diversity
Demographically, Hawaii has the highest percentage of multiracial-Americans, as well as the lowest percentage of white Americans of any state.
hawaii diverse

33. Eddie Aikau
Because when we say "Eddie Would Go," it's an invitation to be brave, courageous and to look out for one another.

34. The "Best Island In The World"
Maui has been named the best island in the world by Conde Nast readers for 20 years in a row. Second best, according to you? Kauai.

seven sacred pools

35. Environmentalism
Hawaii knows what it's up against; from solar power to animal protections to plastic bag bans, we're working hard to protect the aina.

solar farm

36. We spread our aloha
Because even though we have serious problems here at home -- including homelessness and an astronomical cost of living -- Hawaii is always looking for ways to spread the aloha.


Hawaii In Photos