Which island in Hawaii is the primary one?

Travel Destinations

By Laurie Baratti

The Hawaiian Islands are a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean. They are known for their stunning beaches, lush forests, rich culture, and warm tropical climate. The islands are a popular tourist destination and are also home to a diverse population of people.

The State of Hawaii

The state of Hawaii is made up of eight main islands and several smaller islands and atolls. These islands are spread over a distance of more than 1,500 miles and are the exposed peaks of a vast undersea mountain range. Hawaii is the only state that is completely made up of islands and is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Main Islands

The main islands of Hawaii are Hawaii Island, Maui Island, Oahu Island, Kauai Island, Molokai Island, Lanai Island, Niihau Island, and Kahoolawe Island. Each island has its unique beauty, culture, and history.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island is the largest of the main islands of Hawaii and is also known as the "Big Island." It is home to the active Kilauea volcano and is one of the youngest islands in the chain. This island is known for its black sand beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse climate zones.

Maui Island

Maui Island is the second-largest island and is known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and world-class resorts. It is also home to the famous Road to Hana, a scenic drive that takes visitors through picturesque towns and beautiful natural scenery.

Oahu Island

Oahu Island is the most populous island in Hawaii and is also the home of the state capital, Honolulu. It is known for its beautiful beaches, world-famous surf spots, and historic landmarks such as Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Kauai Island

Kauai Island is the oldest of the main islands and is known for its rugged natural beauty, including towering cliffs, deep canyons, and pristine beaches. It is also home to the famous Na Pali Coast, a scenic coastline that can only be accessed by foot or boat.

Molokai Island

Molokai Island is the fifth-largest island and is known for its unspoiled natural beauty and traditional Hawaiian culture. It is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and is a popular destination for hiking, fishing, and sightseeing.

Lanai Island

Lanai Island is the smallest inhabited island and is known for its luxurious resorts, quiet beaches, and stunning natural beauty. It is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing vacation.

Niihau Island

Niihau Island is known as the "Forbidden Island" and is only accessible to native Hawaiians and their descendants. It is home to a small population of people who maintain a traditional Hawaiian lifestyle and is known for its pristine beaches and unique culture.

Kahoolawe Island

Kahoolawe Island is an uninhabited island that was once used for military target practice. It is now under the control of the state of Hawaii and is being restored to its natural state.


While each of the main islands of Hawaii has its unique beauty and culture, there is no one primary island. Each island has its own strengths and attractions that make it a popular destination for visitors. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or a cultural experience, Hawaii has something to offer for everyone.

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Laurie Baratti

Laurie Baratti, a renowned San Diego journalist, has contributed to respected publications like TravelAge West, SPACE, Modern Home + Living, Montage, and Sandals Life. She's a passionate travel writer, constantly exploring beyond California. Besides her writing, Laurie is an avid equestrian and dedicated pet owner. She's a strong advocate for the Oxford comma, appreciating the richness of language.

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