41 Reasons We’re Thankful to Live in Hawai‘i

You don’t have to tell us twice–we know how lucky we are to live in Hawai‘i. Here’s why.
Photo: Ambika Castle


Not a day goes by where we don’t feel “lucky we live Hawai‘i”. Sometimes though, with our daily grind, we forget just how lucky we are. We get stuck in traffic, we deal with brain drain and, man, food and rent can be so expensive. In the spirit on Thanksgiving though, the HONOLULU Magazine staff decided to reflect upon the many things that make us so thankful to live in this beautiful island paradise we call home. 


1. Aloha attire is formal attire

Men rarely have to wear suits and ties, and some of us can even get away with wearing slippers to the office. No shirt, no shoes, no problem—it’s a way of life.


2. Surf

We’re the birthplace of modern surfing and have the waves to enjoy this iconic pastime year round. 


Photo: Ambika Castle


3. Locally grown coffee

Hawai‘i is the only U.S. state that grows coffee. Kona is the most well known, but Maui, Kaua‘i and Moloka‘i are producing great beans too.


4. Poke

Fresh, healthy and so many varieties—all at our neighborhood supermarket.


Photo: Steve Czerniak


5. Ocean sports

​We enjoy not only surfing, but kayaking, paddling, and stand-up paddle boarding all year round.


6. Warm ocean water

We could just say the ocean, but let's be honest: there’s a huge difference between Hawai‘i’s balmy waters and the freezing seas of, say, Southern California.




7. No daylight savings

It’s so easy to keep track of Island time.


8. Our TV shows come from the future

Not only do we operate on Island time, but being on Hawai‘i Standard Time means we can catch all our favorite TV shows during dinner, not after.


9. Shave Ice

We have the best, finest shave ice in the world, the most exotic flavors (liliko‘i, mango, haupia), and the most decadent toppings (mochi, condensed milk, li hing powder). Snow cones can’t hold a candle to our frozen technology.


Photo: Martha Cheng


10. Endless summer, aka the best weather ever

Temperatures in the 70s to mid-80s. No snow, no freezing weather, no shoveling, no icy roads. No coats, mittens or thermal underwear required here. Amazing warm nights. Even in southern California you can’t sit on the beach in shorts or go for a dip in the ocean at midnight. Did we mention we have the best weather ever?


11. Marriage Equality

We’re a liberal state that doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation.


Photo: Kelli Bullock


12. Fresh-picked tropical fruit—sometimes for free!

We can pick mango, liliko‘i, avocado, starfruit, mountain apple, guava and so much more, on hikes and in our own backyards.


13. Karaoke

Renting your own private room to sing with your 20 best friends all night long plus bringing your own cheap booze and snacks? Standard operating procedure.


14. Hula at every movie

Every movie at Consolidated Theatres starts with a hula trailer from 1987 that gets more nostalgic every time it plays, and we love it.


Photo: Courtesy Consolidated Theatres


15. Clean water

Our water tastes amazing, straight from the tap.


16. The size of our islands

Malihini might get Island fever, but the beach is never more then 30 minutes away, and we can hike, swim and grab a drink at the bar in no time flat. Even Island hopping is quick. Inter-island travel only requires 30 minutes of flying—just enough time to drink our POG!


17. The aloha spirit

It’s truly real. In Hawai‘i, everyone is ohana.


Photo: Dallas Nagata White


18. Our many cultures

Thanksgiving is so much more fun with our melting pot. Kalua turkey roasted in an imu and adobo? Yes please! Cultural events? Chinese New Year in late January and early February, Obon and Pan-Pacific festivals in the summer, and other festivals all year round.


19. Staycations

We don’t need to spend our money on expensive vacations, and friends and family visit us. Why travel when paradise is at your doorstep?


20. Shaka Santa at Honolulu Hale

Our Santa Claus has aloha spirit. Mele Kalikimaka!


21. The hikes and the views

Green, tropical hikes up majestic cliffs, with vast ocean views at the top.




22. Pidgin

Ho brah, so lucky we live Hawai‘i.


23. Ocean life

You don’t have to go far to find a humuhumunukunukuapua‘a enjoying the reef, a sea turtle enjoying the open seas, or a monk seal just lounging on the beach.


Photo: Ambika Castle


24. Pineapples

Ok, so these days most pineapples come from South America, but we’re thankful to have put this fruit on the map and to have easy access.


25. Spam musubi

Cheap, tasty and convenient.


26. Amazing high-end local cuisine

Yeah, we’ve got great plate lunches, but when you’re ready for something special and innovative, Hawai‘i’s chefs have got you covered.


27. Double rainbows all the way

More than just a meme, double rainbows are a common daily sightings here.


Photo: Ambika Castle


28. Sun showers

The cause of our many rainbows. Even when it rains, it isn’t cold.


29. No allergens

No seasons and pollen producing plants. Hawai‘i is amazing for people with allergies.


30. Tropical flowers

You can smell them the instant you step off the plane at HNL. Pikake, plumeria, maile, ginger…


Photo: Ambika Castle


31. Li hing

Where else can you get everything covered in li hing mui powder?


32. Malassadas

They’re so much better than donuts.


Photo: Leonard’s Bakery


33. A variety of starches

Bread and pasta—so boring (unless they’re King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls). We’re thankful for variety in the form of breadfruit, poi, mac salad and our favorite Asian staple, rice.


34. Triathlons

Did you know the triathlon was born in Honolulu? We’re thankful that we can train for them all year round here in Hawai‘i.


35. A day on the North Shore

Shrimp trucks, Kahuku corn, a stop in Hale‘iwa—An idyllic mini-road trip that we can take every week.


Photo: Ambika Castle


36. Zippy’s and Bubbies

We’re thankful for late night chili and the best mochi ice cream.


37. The best Japanese food in the U.S.

With access to such quality seafood and many Japanese transplants, it’s no surprise our Japanese food beats cities much larger than Honolulu. 


38. Palm trees everywhere

Just another reason we staycation instead of vacation.


Photo: Ambika Castle


39. Local music

Island jams and the sweet sound of the ‘ukulele make cruising at the beach so much better. Braddah Iz, may he rest in peace.


40. Weekend BBQs

We all have that friend, with the tent, grill and BBQ supplies. Only in Hawai‘i can we have an outdoor potluck every weekend.


41. No snakes and no rabies

While the Department of Agriculture makes it awfully hard to transport our pets to and from Hawai‘i, we are glad they keep out snakes and rabies.


We know there are an endless number of reasons to be thankful for life in Hawai‘i. What are yours? Let us know in the comments!