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Hawaii’s location in the Pacific Ocean far south of the continental United States often leads to the assumption that it must be the southernmost state. However, its position relative to the other 49 states is more complex than it appears at first glance.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Hawaii is the southernmost state in terms of latitude, but it is not the farthest south state in all contexts due to its position west of the continental US.

In this comprehensive guide, we will look at Hawaii’s geographic location compared to the other states from different perspectives to determine if it can rightly be considered the most southern state.

Hawaii’s Latitude Compared to Other States

When it comes to the question of whether Hawaii is the most southern state, it is important to consider the latitude of each state. Latitude refers to the distance of a location from the equator, and it plays a significant role in determining a state’s climate and overall geographical position.

Hawaii’s Latitude

Hawaii is located in the central Pacific Ocean and consists of a group of islands. The state’s approximate latitude ranges from 18° to 23° North. This means that Hawaii is situated closer to the equator compared to the rest of the United States. The islands enjoy a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking sun, sand, and surf.

Continental US State Latitudes

When we compare Hawaii’s latitude to the continental United States, it becomes evident that Hawaii is indeed the most southern state. The latitudes of the contiguous states range from approximately 25° to 49° North. Therefore, all the states in the continental US are located north of Hawaii. This geographical difference explains why Hawaii has a unique climate and ecosystem compared to the rest of the country.

Alaska’s Latitude

While Hawaii holds the title for the most southern state in terms of latitude, it is worth mentioning Alaska’s latitude as well. Alaska, located in the far northwestern part of North America, extends from approximately 54° to 71° North. This means that Alaska is the most northern state in the US, situated significantly closer to the North Pole compared to other states. The extreme latitude contributes to Alaska’s cold climate and breathtaking landscapes, including vast glaciers and untouched wilderness.

If you want to learn more about the latitudes of different states, you can visit the LatLong website for detailed information and interactive maps.

Longitude Differences Between Hawaii and Continental US

Hawaii’s Far West Longitude

When we think about the southernmost state in the United States, Hawaii often comes to mind. However, when it comes to longitude, Hawaii is actually the most western state rather than the most southern. The Hawaiian Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,400 miles west of California. The far west longitude of Hawaii gives it a unique position in relation to the rest of the continental US.

Continental US Longitude

The continental United States is located between approximately 67° and 125° west longitude. This means that the westernmost point of the continental US, located in Alaska, is still east of Hawaii. While Alaska is known as the northernmost state, it is not the southernmost. So, if we are looking for the southernmost state in terms of longitude, we need to look beyond the continental US.

How Longitude Affects Southness

The concept of southness is typically associated with latitude rather than longitude. Latitude measures the distance of a location from the equator, which determines its position in the north-south direction. However, longitude plays a role in determining a location’s overall position in relation to other places. While Hawaii’s latitude is not the southernmost, its far west longitude gives it a unique distinction as the most western state in the US.

It’s important to note that the determination of the southernmost state can vary depending on the criteria used. If we consider latitude alone, Florida would be considered the most southern state. However, when factoring in longitude, Hawaii takes the title as the most southern state in terms of its overall position in relation to the rest of the US.

For more information on the geography and positioning of Hawaii, you can visit the website.

Other Measurements of Southernness

While Hawaii may not be considered the most southern state in terms of its geographical location, there are other measurements that can be used to determine southernness. Let’s explore some of them:

Southernmost Point

When it comes to the southernmost point, Hawaii does not hold the title. That honor goes to the state of Florida, specifically the island of Key West. The southernmost point of the continental United States is located in Key West, known as the Southernmost Point Buoy. It is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can take photos and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean.

On the other hand, Hawaii does have its own southernmost point, which is located on the Big Island. Ka Lae, also known as South Point, is the southernmost point of the entire United States. It is a rugged and remote area that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. While it may not be the southernmost point in terms of the entire country, it is still a significant landmark in Hawaii.

Distance from Equator

Another measurement of southernness is the distance from the Equator. Hawaii is located at a latitude of approximately 21 degrees North, which means that it is closer to the Equator compared to other states in the United States. In fact, Hawaii is the only state that lies entirely in the tropics. This proximity to the Equator contributes to the warm and tropical climate that Hawaii is known for.


The climate in Hawaii is another factor that adds to its southernness. The state experiences a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures, abundant rainfall, and high humidity. The average temperature in Hawaii ranges from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. This warm and consistent climate makes Hawaii an ideal destination for those seeking a tropical getaway.

Furthermore, Hawaii’s climate allows for the growth of lush vegetation, including palm trees, tropical fruits, and vibrant flowers. The islands are also home to diverse ecosystems, such as rainforests, coral reefs, and volcanic landscapes. Visitors to Hawaii can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and unique biodiversity that the state has to offer.


To summarize, while Hawaii is clearly the southernmost state in terms of latitude, continental states like Florida extend farther south in some contexts due to the geography of the Americas. However, Hawaii’s tropical climate and position relative to the equator support its identity as the most southern state overall.

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