The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaii. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the “Big Island” or “Hawaii Island” to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is Physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian sub-region of Oceania.
Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
Hawaii’s largest island — 92 miles long by 76 miles wide — is still growing, thanks to lava flow from the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. The Big Island has two international airports, one at Hilo in the east, and one near Kailua-Kona in the west. The island has ranching, crops such as coffee and cacao beans, Volcano National Park, gardens, over a hundred beaches, many festivals.
A popular area for resorts is the Kohala Coast, on the northwest side of the island, just north of the Kona International Airport.
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