Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

With its world-famous beaches, volcanic landscapes, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder Hawaii is considered a tropical paradise. If you’re wondering what makes the Hawaiian islands so incredibly beautiful, read on to unlock the secrets behind its captivating scenery.

Hawaii owes much of its beauty to its unique geography and geology. Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, its islands were formed by undersea volcanoes and blessed with warm, sunny weather year-round.

The mixture of volcanic features, lush greenery, and gorgeous beaches creates breathtaking natural scenery unmatched anywhere else on Earth.

Lush Tropical Greenery

Rainforests Teeming with Flora and Fauna

Hawaii’s tropical climate allows for an abundance of lush plant life to thrive across its islands. Verdant rainforests blanket vast mountainous regions, home to unique endemic species like the striking red and yellow lehua blossoms.

Over 10,000 types of native plants like ferns, orchids, and vibrant hibiscus flowers flourish in these protected habitats. Majestic ‘ohi’a trees form emerald canopies overhead, providing shade and food for native birds.

Endless varieties of exotic flowers bloom year-round, filling the air with sweet fragrances.

The islands’ isolation led to exceptional biodiversity over millions of years of evolution. Fascinating native fauna like the happy-face spider, colorful Hawaiian honeycreepers, and the state bird – the nene goose – only exist in Hawaii.

Miraculous natural pollination partnerships formed between unique species. Lava tubes and forested valleys shelter rare Hawaiian lobelioids and silverswords. Conservation efforts protect endangered native species within wilderness preserves and national parks.

Colorful Flowers and Plants

Against bright blue skies and sparkling turquoise ocean, Hawaii’s lush rainforests erupt with vibrant displays of colorful native and exotic plant life. Brilliant red and orange bursts of firecracker flowers contrast with bright yellow allamanda bushes.

Delicate white and purple orchids dangle overhead as verdant green ferns blanket the forest floor. Spiky red heliconia petals jut out like tropical birds-of-paradise.

Incredible diversity thrives across microclimates and elevations, from dry coastal regions to misty mountain forests. Hardy succulents and cacti dot rugged cliffs above crashing waves. Tiny yellow and fuchsia begonias miraculously sprout from cracks in black lava flows.

Hardy cook pines and ohia lehua trees blanket old crater rims. This blend of diverse colors and textures paints a living canvas so wondrous, it feels like walking through a magical dreamworld.

Pristine Beaches and Turquoise Waters

Iconic White and Black Sand Beaches

Hawaii is blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, featuring sand ranging from sparkling white to striking black. The white sand beaches, made of finely eroded limestone, are iconic sights like Waikiki Beach on Oahu and Kaanapali Beach on Maui.

The famous black sand beaches, composed of lava fragments, provide a dramatic contrast, such as Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island.

These beaches are perfect for relaxing on the soft sand, swimming in the gentle waves, and snorkeling in the clear water. Some of the best beaches include Hanauma Bay, an underwater marine preserve, and Lanikai Beach, renowned for its wide expanse of powdery white sand and calm emerald waters.

No matter which Hawaiian island you visit, you’re sure to find postcard-worthy beaches to suit your tropical dreams.

Crystal Clear Ocean Water

In addition to beautiful beaches, Hawaii is blessed with remarkably clear ocean water surrounding the islands. The water clarity averages about 100 feet in depth, allowing visitors to easily see the colorful coral reefs and marine life below the surface.

This exceptional visibility is attributed to a few key factors. The islands are located far from river run-off and major land masses, keeping pollution and nutrients that cause algae blooms to a minimum. In addition, the porous volcanic rock allows ocean water to seep through and be filtered.

The tropical location also provides year-round warm water to promote coral growth.

The crystal clear waters make Hawaii a world-renowned destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Popular snorkel sites include Hanauma Bay on Oahu and Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, where sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins and tropical fish frequently make an appearance.

Scuba divers can explore walls, caverns, and reefs up to 120 feet deep at premier dive sites like Molokini Crater, a crescent-shaped islet off Maui.

Dramatic Volcanic Landscapes

Towering Volcanoes and Lava Fields

Hawaii is home to 5 major shield volcanoes that have built up the islands over hundreds of thousands to millions of years. These include Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualālai, Haleakalā, and Kīlauea (NPS). Towering over 13,000 feet above sea level, Mauna Loa is considered the largest volcano on Earth.

Meanwhile, Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, with lava flows dating back over 50 years.

These towering volcanic mountains are responsible for creating the black and rocky lava fields covering much of Hawaii’s landscape. For example, flows from Mauna Loa’s 1950 eruption travelled all the way to the ocean, adding over 500 acres of new land to Hawaii (USGS).

And in 2018, Kīlauea erupted for months, spewing enough lava to fill over 320,000 Olympic swimming pools and creating nearly 1 square mile of new land (NPS).

Unique Geologic Formations

In addition to lava fields, Hawaii’s volcanoes have given rise to other unique geologic formations over time. For instance, volcanic craters dot the landscape, including Diamond Head on Oahu and Haleakalā Crater on Maui. These were formed from previous eruptions and collapses.

Haleakalā Crater stretches over 2.5 miles wide and rivals the size of Manhattan (NPS).

Visitors can also discover lava tubes across the islands. These underground channels were carved out ages ago by rivers of lava. With heights exceeding 40 feet, some of the longest lava tubes in the world are found on Hawaii, like Kazumura Cave on the Big Island (DLNR).

Coupled with lush rainforests above ground, these lava tubes create an otherworldly environment for adventures.

Furthermore, Hawaii has numerous black sand beaches originating from lava flowing into the ocean and cooled rapidly by the water. In contrast to the more common white and golden sandy beaches, these dark sands beautifully frame the bright blue Pacific waters.

Pololū Valley Lookout on the Big Island offers one of the most picturesque black sand beaches with a backdrop of steep sea cliffs.

Clearly, Hawaii owes its spectacular scenery to the volcanoes. Their eruptions over eons of time have forged the foundations of the islands and given rise to breathtaking landscapes of lava fields, craters, caves and black sand beaches that continue evolving today.

Vibrant Local Culture and Cuisine

Native Hawaiian Traditions

The native Hawaiian culture, with roots extending back thousands of years, remains a vibrant and integral part of the islands today. Ancient Hawaiian traditions like the hula dance and Hawaiian music featuring slack key guitars or the ukulele are still practiced and celebrated (source).

Many Hawaiians also continue cultural practices like making beautiful floral lei garlands or carving sacred tiki totem poles. Ancient Hawaiian sports and games like surfing and outrigger canoe racing are also hugely popular among both locals and tourists visiting paradise.

Tropical Fruits and Island Fare

Hawaiian cuisine features amazingly fresh and flavorful tropical fruits and seafood you’ll find nowhere else, drawing from a melting pot of cultures like Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Portuguese who came to work the islands’ sugar plantations.

Locals savor Hawaiian delicacies like fresh pineapple, mango, or guava, along with fresh-caught mahi-mahi. Much of the fare also highlights foods native Hawaiians survived on for centuries, like poi made from taro root or dishes featuring breadfruit or sweet potato.

The cuisine truly offers a taste of paradise unmatched anywhere else in the world!


With its lush rainforests, iconic beaches, dramatic volcanoes, and vibrant culture, Hawaii offers incredible natural beauty and endless sights to explore. The islands’ remote location in the Pacific allowed unique species of plants and animals to evolve here over millions of years, creating a one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

Combined with the islands’ volcanic origins and tropical climate, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is considered paradise on Earth.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts