While we often define places and things, including our home states, by the traits, characteristics and features they possess, we tend to forget that defining something by the things it lacks is also important. Throughout the Hawaiian Islands, you will find beautiful beaches, mind-blowing scenery, and plenty of shave ice, but there are other things – like snakes – you definitely won’t be able to find here.
In 1927, Hawaii was the first state in America to outlaw billboards – preserving the natural beauty of the islands’ for decades to come. While we may have to deal with heavy traffic congestion, we will always have unobstructed views of the beautiful islands we call home.
2. An ethnic majority.
The Aloha State is truly a melting pot of ethnic diversity; not only are the islands are home to the most multiracial residents in America, but there is no ethnic majority in Hawaii. White Americans make up just 24 percent of the population, whereas multiracial Americans make up 23 percent of Hawaii residents.
Yep, you read that right. The only place you’ll find snakes in Hawaii are in a zoo, because they are banned from entering the island chain. I guess Hawaii really is paradise, especially for those afraid of snakes.
4. Private beaches.
With only a few exceptions to accommodate the federal government, all beaches in Hawaii are public. Even in areas where the shoreline is dominated by residential dwellings or beach resorts, county governments and private developers are required to provide public access and parking for anyone to utilize.
5. Car horns.
Honolulu may be known for having the worst traffic in the country – second only to Los Angeles – but that doesn’t mean you’ll hear car horns on the road. The absence of road noise, even during rush hour, is a constant reminder of the Aloha spirit we embody in every aspect of our lives.
6. Good Mexican food.
Sure, the sushi is absolutely divine, but if you’re in the mood for spicy and guacamole-filled tacos, you’re out of luck. Hawaii is known for bad Mexican food. There are a few decent places out there though: my favorites are Mexico, in Honolulu, and Cholo’s, on Oahu’s north shore.
7. Major banks.
Now this one is a little less obvious – but exactly zero of the country’s ten major banks have branches in Hawaii: that includes Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Something about the high cost of doing business and manning call centers for a drastically different time zone, I guess. Instead, Hawaii residents are loyal to local banks, like Bank of Hawaii, and First Hawaiian Bank.
8. Daylight savings time.
Because Hawaii is so close the equator, daylight savings time simply doesn’t matter here. For comparison, the earliest and latest sunset times for Hawaii differ by only an hour and a half, whereas sunset times in New York City differ by more than four hours.
9. Affordable housing.
The cost of living in paradise is astronomical, which is why I have to laugh every single time someone asks about where to find a renovated two-bedroom apartment in Honolulu for less than $1,500 – with parking fees and utilities included. Jokes on you, that doesn’t exist.
While this makes it a pain to transport your pets to and from Hawaii, everyone can be happy about living in a rabies state. Due to its isolated location, it’s no surprise that Hawaii is the only state in the country without rabies.
11. Popular mainland chains.
Sometimes, all you want are breadsticks from Olive Garden, a Chipotle burrito, or even Dunkin Donuts – or whichever coffee chain is most popular in whatever area of the country you hail from. We’ve been tortured for years with the rumor that an Olive Garden will be opening on Oahu….
12. More than one area code.
Serving all 1.3 million residents of Hawaii is a single area code that was assigned to the islands shortly after our statehood in 1959. That area code is 808, and it’s something many Hawaii residents are proud of.
What else will you not find in Hawaii? Share your answers with us on our Only In Hawaii Facebook page.