What is Hawaii Uniquely Known For?

Posted in: Culture & History, Environment, Food & Drink, Things to Do

When you imagine a tropical paradise, Hawaii is one of the first places to come to mind. You probably picture a hammock tied up to two palm trees on the beach with a scrumptious strawberry margarita in your hand. But you can find palm trees, sandy beaches, and tasty margaritas at vacation destinations all over the world.

Hawaii has all of those things and so much more. In fact, there are parts of Hawaii that you’ll only find on these specific magical islands.

We’ve rounded up the top eight things Hawaii is uniquely known for. Keep reading to see why you can’t miss a trip to Hawaii:


Before the influence of Americans/European descendants, the people of Hawaii existed for hundreds of years. During these years, Hawaiian culture had an opportunity to flourish without any external influence. The native Hawaiians developed food, dancing, language, religion, and special celebrations that are all their own.


Oh the food in Hawaii… The food is mouthwatering and as vibrantly colored as the flowers you’ll find across the island. Here are a few that you should definitely try while in Hawaii.

Tropical Fruits

Mango, lychee, papaya, starfruit, guava… You can find all of them in Hawaii. Tropical fruits are the candy of Hawaii. Make sure to visit a farmers market and bring some of these sweet treats back to your hotel room.


Poi is a staple in Hawaiian meals. Poi is a dense starchy paste mixed from taro root. Flavor-wise, it’s a little starchy and sour and tastes fantastic with a little salmon.


Speaking of food made from taro, laulau is pork wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in a rock oven for hours. The pork is juicy and soft.


Spam has been nicknamed the “Hawaiian Steak” and is extremely popular throughout Hawaii. A favorite snack for Hawaiians is Spam musubi, which features grilled spam on top of a block of rice and wrapped in nori.


Some people are surprised to find out that a lot of coffee beans are grown in Hawaii. The fertile soil mixed with the warm, humid climate makes for the perfect conditions for growing coffee beans. Grab the perfect cup of coffee while in Hawaii.


A can’t-miss experience for those visiting Hawaii is the Luau. Rhythmic traditional Hawaiian music, hula and fire dancing, and incredible Hawaiian food like Kalua pig are staples of luaus. These feasts unite the community and have become an iconic symbol of Hawaii.


Hawaii is a relatively new location, geographically speaking. Hawaii came from volcanoes and the landscape continues to change as a result of volcanic eruptions. However, there are more than volcanoes and sandy beaches. The environment of Hawaii is home to diverse climates, verdant jungles, jagged cliffs, waterfalls, rivers, farmland, and even snow. In fact, ten of the world’s fourteen climate zones can be located in Hawaii.


Volcanoes created Hawaii and are still erupting to date. These eruptions alter the landscape and have become a major part of Hawaiian history and culture. Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes, and it's right next to Mauna Loa, the world's largest volcano in terms of volume and area covered.

You can find active volcanoes on the Big Island and Maui. On the Big Island, you can watch real-time scientific monitors in action, walk through the Thurston Lava Tube and view craters at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


The Hawaiian islands are one of the wettest places on the planet. Some of their rainforests receive 80 inches of rain each year. Full of diverse flora and fauna, these mysterious rainforests are densely packed with tropical trees and flowers and exotic animals. Hike through a jungle and check out the gorgeous waterfalls.


A lot of great places have picturesque beaches, but Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most interesting ones. Because of the volcanic activity, there are several black sand beaches. You’ll also find white, green, and red sand beaches.

Hula Dancing

Hula dancing is as much of a dance as it is an art form. Did you know that there are multiple types of Hula? Hula is comprised of many sub-categories with diverse motions and movements to represent different parts of Hawaii, including its people, history, trees, volcanoes, animals, and more. Therefore, hula is also a unique form of storytelling you won’t find outside of Polynesian cultures.

Island Surfing

It’s hard to find a movie based in Hawaii that doesn’t include surfers riding the waves in the background. The sport of surfing has played a huge role in the culture of Hawaii’s youth, in every generation. Surfing can be traced all the way back to 4,000 A.D. and was common among royalty.

Today, surfing is a popular sport and pastime for locals, professionals, and visitors alike. Want to learn how to surf? Read our previous article, “Surf’s up! Surf Lessons in Hawaii for Everyone.”


The English language has 26 letters, but the Hawaiian language only has 5 vowels and 8 consonants. There’s also a glottal stop known as an ‘okina. For a long time, this language was exclusively spoken and not written down until recently in history. As such, the language has nearly become extinct, but you’ll still find parts of this beautiful language in everyday Hawaiian culture.

Pearl Harbor

In 1941, over 350 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. This date that would live in infamy signaled the United State’s entry into the Second World War. There aren’t very many places in the world where you can return to an exact moment in and see untouched parts. However, you can still see the USS Arizona submerged beneath the surface of the water in Pearl Harbor.

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