How Well Do You Remember Hawaii?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Matt Anderson Photography/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The Hawaiian Islands have long been one of the most intriguing places on earth. Home to 10 out of 14 of the world's climate zones and stretching for over 1,200 miles, Hawaii feels like a different world than most of the other states in the U.S. How much do you know about it, though? 

You probably know that visitors are greeted with a flowery garland called a lei, but do you know why? From the world's most active volcano to the vast pineapple farms that dot the landscape, you'll be amazed by how much the island state has to offer. As you go through this quiz, we're going to put your knowledge of all things Hawaiian to the test. Will you remember as much about it as you think you do? Or will you have to break out a map? 

Remember to channel the state's laidback vibe as you contemplate your answers, and make sure to leave the volcanic rocks for the gods. Once you make your way through them, we'll tally up your answers. Then, we'll let you know if you can consider yourself a Hawaii expert, or if you might need to retake that geography class again. Are you ready to find out? Aloha!

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that commercially grows which of these foods?

If you've ever had a cup of Kona coffee, you already know that Hawaii produces some of the tastiest coffee in the world. The state's volcanic soil and ample rainfall create ideal growing conditions. Hawaii is also the only state that produces both vanilla and cocoa beans.


Hawaii has 137 islands, but how many are considered the "main islands"?

Covering over 1,200 miles from east to west, Hawaii is the widest state in the union. Although it's made up of 137 total islands and 124 inlets, only eight of the islands are usually mentioned when referring to the state. They are Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe.


Can you think back to geography class remember the name of Hawaii's tallest mountain?

From its underwater base to its peak, Mauna Kea is taller than the tallest mountain on earth — Mount Everest. In native Hawaiian culture, it is considered a sacred place. Many locals have taken issue with the astronomical observatories being built there.


Is it true or false that the macadamia nut is native to the Hawaiian islands?

With 1.2 million macadamia nut trees across Hawaiian farms, it's easy to see why everyone thinks they're native to the islands. However, they are actually native to Australia. You can also find them being grown in California and Florida.


Humuhumunukunukuapuaʿa is the name of one of Hawaii's state animals — which one?

The humuhumunukunukuapuaʿa is a type of triggerfish that lives in Hawaii's coral reefs. When translated from its native Hawaiian, humuhumunukunukuapuaʿa means "triggerfish with a pig-like snout." With its funny face, its yellow color and its black-banded eyes, it's easy to recognize.


When you look at the Hawaiian flag, what country's flag will you see in the corner?

Commissioned by King Kamehameha I, the design of the Hawaiian flag has special significance. The eight stripes represent the eight largest islands and the United States, but there's also a Union Jack representing the state's allegiance to the U.K.


Which Hawaiian island's Proto-Polynesian name translates to "Place of The Gods"?

Ast 4,028 square miles and making up 63% of the state's total size, the island of Hawaii is the largest. From volcanoes to beaches to macadamia nut farms, you can find nearly all of the world's climate zones across its terrain.


Other states have tried, but Hawaii is the only state with its own what?

The Hawaiian islands do have their own power grid systems, but it's not the only one. No other state has its own time zone, though. Hawaiian-Aleutian Time — or Hawaiian Standard Time — is five hours behind New York City, and it never observes the Daylight Savings change.


Do you recall which famous explorer is often credited with discovering Hawaii?

In 1778, Captain James Cook set out to discover a route around North America called the Northwest Passage, In the process, he came across the already inhabited Hawaiian Islands. At first, native inhabitants were welcoming. By the third trip, they had become hostile about the European invasion, and Cook lost his life.


What does Kauai's "Coconut Tree Ordinance" forbid prevent builders from doing?

If you take a look around Kauai's landscape, you'll notice that the buildings are not four stories tall. By law, buildings constructed on the island are not permitted to be any taller than the average coconut tree. It's another way Hawaii honors and respects its natural beauty.


Did Hawaii become the 49th state or the 50th state on August 21, 1959?

Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959, beating Hawaii for the 49th slot by only a few months. Although Hawaii had been a U.S. Territory since 1898, a referendum to become a state passed with a 93% vote.


It's a Hawaiian tradition to greet visitors with a lei. What does it symbolize?

Traditionally made from native flowers, shells or plant materials, leis are the Hawaiin way to show affection. When pregnant women are given leis, they are given an open version. Hawaiians fear that a closed lei would symbolize a problem with the child's umbilical cord.


What's the name of Hawaii's most active volcano?

Considered the world's most active volcano, Kilauea has been erupting sing 1983! It spews so much lava that it's responsible for the fact that Hawaii is the only state that grows in size. Every year, The Aloha State gains 42 acres.


Hawaii supplies one-third of the world's demand for which popular fruit?

It's nearly impossible to think of Hawaii without thinking of pineapples. Hawaii once produced around 80% of the world's demand, but the costs of producing them have skyrocketed. Although many think they are a native plant, they were imported from South America in the early 20th century.


True or False? Only one U.S. President has been born in Hawaii.

Barack Obama is the only United States president to be born in the state of Hawaii. Although he has never represented the state as a Senator or a Congressperson, he does maintain a residence there.


There are only two native Hawaiian mammals — the hoary bat and what type of seal?

The Hawaiian monk seal is amongst the world's most endangered animals. Preservation efforts currently estimate that less than 1,200 of them are still in existence. The Hawaiian government is making every effort to protect the species, recently constructing hospitals dedicated to their care.


Out of these island cities, which one is Hawaii's largest?

Honolulu is not only the largest city in the state of Hawaii; it's the largest city in the Pacific Ocean! The birthplace of President Barack Obama is home to over 350,000 people. Visitors enjoy the city's vibrant nightlife and its historical offerings like the U.S.S. Arizona.


Does Hawaii get the distinction of being the longest or the widest U.S. state?

When totaled up, the Hawaiian islands stretch over 1,200 miles, making it the widest of all U.S. states. It beats Texas by over 400 miles! The honor of being the longest state in the union goes to Alaska.


Which one of these movies was NOT shot in Hawaii?

Over a decade after filming "Raiders of The Lost Ark" on Kauai, Steven Spielberg decided that it would also be the perfect location for "Jurassic Park." Pixar's "Finding Nemo" is an animated film, but crews filmed many of the underwater backdrops off of Hawaii's shores.


Is it true or false that all of Hawaii's beaches are considered public beaches?

It's true! Unlike other American states where beaches can be considered private land, all of Hawaii's beaches are open to the public. Beaches that are used for military training or testing are the only exception.


In 2015, Hawaii made the eco-friendly decision to ban which of these things?

The United States is the biggest contributor to the endless amount of plastic pollution filling our oceans. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to ban the use of plastic grocery store bags. You'll have to bring a reusable bag to hold all your vacation shopping.


There are 14 climate zones across the world, but how many of them will you find in Hawaii?

It's only in the state of Hawaii that you can go from a glacial lake to an ancient beach while passing through a desert in the same day. Out of all the world's climates, Hawaii is home to 10 out of 14 of them.


In order to preserve the state's coral reefs, what beach essential has Hawaii banned?

Starting in 2021, the state of Hawaii will no longer allow visitors to use sunscreens containing zinc or titanium oxides. Both substances are harmful to the already endangered coral reefs.


Since 1978, which challenging triathlon has been held in Hawaii?

Before you get any ideas about signing up for the Ironman, you'll have to prove that you've successfully completed at least 12 other triathlons. A race that consists of a marathon along the beach, a swim across the bay of Kailua-Kona and a bike ride across lava fields is not for the inexperienced!


Are visitors permitted to take home volcanic rocks they find at Hawaii's national parks?

Removing volcanic rocks from Hawaii's national parks is forbidden by law, but it goes much deeper. Native Hawaiians consider taking anything away from nature an offense to the gods. Thousands of them are sent back every year because visitors swear their actions have resulted in the forewarned bad luck.


Every year, Hawaiians eat about six million cans of which food?

During WWII, the Hormel Company shipped 15 million cans of the "spiced ham" concoction to troops manning the beaches of Hawaii. Since then, it's become a statewide favorite. Six million cans a year comes out to about five cans per person per year!


When you're finished wearing a lei, what should you NEVER do with it?

Once it's time to dispose of the lei you were given when you arrived, try to remember the proper way to do it. Leis are considered a gift of affection, and throwing them away is considered rude. Hawaiian tradition says that the flower garland should be returned to the earth.


After discovering Hawaii in 1778, what did Captain James Cook name the islands?

In order to undertake such an enormous voyage of discovery, Captain Cook had to have the support of benefactor like the Lord of Sandwich, John Montagu. When Cook discovered Hawaii in 1778, he decided to name it the Sandwich Islands as a tribute to his financial backer.


True or false? Only women are permitted to perform hula dances.

Hula is an ancient Hawaiian dance that incorporates chant, complex choreography and drumming. Many believe that the dancing part is only for women, but nothing could be further from the truth. It was originally danced by men, and there's a recent surge of men leaving the chants behind to dance.


What color hibiscus became Hawaii's state flower in 1988?

There are seven types of hibiscus native to the Hawaiian islands, but the yellow hibiscus is the rarest. Now an endangered plant, it can only be found growing on two of the chain's islands.


Do Hawaiian citizens have a longer or shorter lifespan than other Americans?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Hawaiians have less stress than the average American. They also live longer! While the average life expectancy in most of the United States is 75.6 years old, it stands at 81.2 in Hawaii.


Hawaii is home to one of the largest ranches in the world. Do you know its name?

If you want to find a Hawaiian cowboy — or paniolo — you would head directly to the Parker Ranch. Bigger than any of the ranches in Texas, it covers 130,000 acres on the Big Island. It's the state's primary source for beef.


This should be easy! Should you say "aloha" when you're saying hello or goodbye?

Aloha! When you hear someone say "aloha," they are either saying hello or goodbye. However, the word actually translates to a greeting of peace and love. If you want to thank your Hawaiian hosts for your amazing experience, you would say "mahalo."


Can you remember how many letters there are in the Hawaiian alphabet?

It's not easy to pronounce some of these names you'll encounter while visiting Hawaii. With only 12 letters in the native alphabet, you'll need to ask a local for the correct way to say things. The only symbol in the language is the apostrophe.


What do Hawaiians celebrate every June 11th?

Created by King Kamehameha I to honor his grandfather, June 11th is set aside to honor the Hawaiian Kingdom. All day festivities include dances, music and the world's longest parade. the King Kamehameha procession stretches for over four miles.


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