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How Many Islands are in Hawaii?

Prior to vacationing to a new place, travelers do some research to become familiar with their destination and figure out what they’re going to do once they arrive. With the wealth of knowledge available of the Internet, finding out information is easy, and after a little bit of research, you largely have an idea of what to expect, what to do, and any tidbits about the destination that you may need. One thing that many travelers are out to find out is just how many islands are in Hawaii?

On the surface, the answer to this question is very easy to answer, and anyone who is remotely familiar with Hawaii, or has done a cursory look at a map can see that there are 8 islands in Hawaii. The islands consist of all of the landmasses that are inhabited by residents, or have been determined to be apart of the islands.

Those islands are:

  • Oahu
  • Maui
  • Hawaii Island (or Big Island)
  • Kauai
  • Lanai
  • Molokai
  • Ni’ihau
  • Kaho’olawe

So there you have it, there are 8 islands in Hawaii….or are there?

Actually, there are 8 main islands in Hawaii, and these are the islands that are generally recognized as the Hawaiian Islands. We vacation here, residents live here, and we know the ins and outs of most of them. Ni’ihau is a private island that can only be accessed with special invitation from the owner of the island and Kaho’olawe was used as target practice and is uninhabitable, so those two are off limits.

But did you know that there are many more “islands” in Hawaii? You’ll see them while driving around the island as some are very close to shore, and you can actually visit a few of them, but there are actually 137 total islands in Hawaii! Pretty incredible, right?

This counts the 8 main islands that we know of, and an additional 129 small islands, islets, and atolls that stretch for 1,500 miles, beginning with the Big Island, and stretching west to the Kure Atoll. Some of the more notable islets and small islands include Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Flat Island off the coast of Oahu’s Windward Coast, Rabbit Island, Coconut Island near Hilo, and Molokini Crater on Maui. All of these are counted as the islands of Hawaii, and help to make Hawaii the unique place that it is.
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