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A state like no other
Hawaii, the US's 50th state, is unlike any other place in the whole of the country. Located almost 2,000 miles southwest of mainland North America in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is full of incredible scenery, rich history, and genuine character. The archipelago offers fun and beauty across every island, from majestic canyons to pristine beaches, exotic plant-life to exciting nightlife.
Nature at its most incredible
One of Hawaii's most impressive sites is Kilauea Volcano, one of the world's most active volcanoes. It erupted in January 1983 and has been continuously flowing ever since. By January 2000, it had added 506 acres of land to Kilauea's southern shore. You might imagine that humans are prohibited in this volatile landscape, but actually it's possible to hike through the lush rainforest nearby and experience vents spewing steam, walk-through lava tubes, and newly created land.
Being situated in the Pacific Ocean has its perks. Humpback whales migrate from Alaskan feeding grounds every winter to holiday in the warm waters surrounding Hawaii. If you're lucky, you might see a frolicking whale leap out of the water during one of many whale-watching catamaran cruises. Equally, dolphins seem to love Hawaiian water, and glass bottom cruises are the ideal way to view these intelligent animals in their natural habitat.
The islands are also home to some of the biggest waves on earth. Waves at Jaws Beach on Maui can reach heights of 70 feet and move at 30 miles per hour. For this reason, it has become something of a mecca for experienced surfers the world over.
For people who like their sea slightly less choppy, Hawaii also has some of the world's most beautiful snorkelling spots. Molokini, for example, has the clearest water in Hawaii, with visibility often at 200 feet, and is teeming with vibrant aquatic life.
From the air, a helicopter ride along the Kohala Coast explores stunning sea cliffs opening into the majestic valleys of the Kohala Mountains. Much of Hawaii is not accessible by foot, but a helicopter ride offers an unparalleled vantage above untouched landscape.
The culture of the native Hawaiian people has been enjoying a proud rebirth. The best way to experience this cultural uprising is at a Polynesian Luau, where the history, music, and dance of Hawaii are celebrated by women in grass skirts, men with face paint, and crowds of fire dancers.
Of course, Hawaii had a major part to play in the Second World War, and the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor pays tribute to the men and women who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.
Be it on land, in the ocean, or from the air, the true power and beauty of nature reveals itself in Hawaii. But while its volcanoes bubble and its waves roar, the people of these islands are able to relax, smile, and enjoy the finer things in life. And when you visit, they'll encourage you to do the same.