9 imagesHawaii (officially spelled Hawai`i) is a remote archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Only Easter Island is located farther away from any other landmass on Earth. Hawaii is made up of eight islands and atolls, all created through volcanic activity. Geologists believe that Hawaii is located above a volcanic hotspot in the Pacific Ocean. The hotspot remains stationary, but as the tectonic plate over it moves northwest, new islands are formed. The "Big Island" of Hawaii is the newest.
23 imagesKauai (traditionally spelled Kaua`i) is the oldest of the major Hawaiian islands. Kauai is the fourth-largest island in Hawaii and is known as the "garden isle" for its lush green landscape. Kauai is home to the wettest spot on Earth: Mount Waialeale receives an average of 460 inches of rain per year.
14 imagesMaui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and, like the others, has a volcanic origin. The last eruption occurred in 1790. While its most prominent volcano, Haleakalā, is considered dormant, further eruptions are certainly possible. Maui is known as the "Valley Isle," for the large valley between its two mountains, Haleakalā and Mauna Kahalawai.