Which two states are not directly adjacent to the United States?

Travel Destinations

By Sarah Anderson

When we think of the United States, we often picture a vast landmass stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. However, there are two states that break this geographical mold: Hawaii and Alaska. These unique states are not directly adjacent to the contiguous United States, but they are still a part of the nation. In this article, we will explore what makes these states so special, and learn more about their landscapes, economies, and populations.

Which States are Not Directly Adjacent?

Hawaii and Alaska are the only two states that are not directly adjacent to the United States. Hawaii is an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, while Alaska is situated to the north, near the Arctic Circle. Despite their distance from the contiguous United States, both states are integral parts of the nation, with their own unique cultures, histories, and economies.

Hawaii: The Aloha State

Location and Landscapes

Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,000 miles southwest of California. The state consists of eight main islands, each with its own unique geography and environment. The islands are volcanic in origin, with towering mountains, lush rainforests, and stunning beaches. Hawaii is also home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes, which continue to shape the landscape to this day.

Economy and Population

Hawaii has a diverse economy, with industries ranging from tourism to agriculture to military defense. The state is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical climate, which attract millions of visitors each year. Hawaii is also a major producer of macadamia nuts, coffee, and sugarcane. The state has a population of approximately 1.4 million people, with a rich cultural heritage that reflects its history as a hub of international trade and immigration.

Alaska: The Last Frontier

Location and Landscapes

Alaska is situated to the north of the contiguous United States, near the Arctic Circle. The state is known for its rugged wilderness, vast glaciers, and abundant wildlife. Alaska is also home to Denali, the highest peak in North America. The state has a diverse landscape, ranging from tundra and taiga to rainforests and mountains.

Economy and Population

Alaska’s economy is driven by natural resources, with industries such as oil, fishing, and timber playing a major role. The state has a population of approximately 730,000 people, with many living in small, remote communities that are accessible only by plane or boat. Alaska is also home to a rich indigenous culture, with over 20% of the population identifying as Native Alaskan.

Why are These States Unique?

Hawaii and Alaska are unique in many ways, from their landscapes to their economies to their cultural heritage. Both states have a strong sense of identity and pride, and their residents often refer to themselves as "Hawaiians" or "Alaskans" rather than simply "Americans". These states also face unique challenges, such as managing natural resources in a sustainable way and maintaining their cultural traditions in the face of modernization.

Connection to the United States

Despite their distance from the contiguous United States, Hawaii and Alaska are fully integrated into the nation. Both states have representation in Congress and participate in national elections. They also receive federal funding and support for a variety of programs, such as education and healthcare. While their geography may set them apart, Hawaii and Alaska are just as much a part of the United States as any other state.


Hawaii and Alaska are two states that break the mold of the contiguous United States, with their unique landscapes, economies, and cultures. These states may be located far from the mainland, but they are integral parts of the nation, with a rich history and a bright future. Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical vacation in Hawaii or an adventure in the wilds of Alaska, these states offer something for everyone.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about Hawaii and Alaska, here are some resources to check out:

  • Hawaii Tourism Authority:
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center: https://www.alaskanative.net/en/
  • National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/state/ak/index.htm
  • Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/
Photo of author

Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson, an Anchorage-based travel writer contributing her expertise to TravelAsker. Her in-depth knowledge of Alaska, both in her hometown and throughout the state, makes her the go-to local expert. From top-notch accommodations to delectable dining spots and thrilling activities, Sarah’s insightful recommendations ensure you’ll have a fantastic family trip in Alaska.

Leave a Comment