Located about 2,400 miles from the North American continent, the Hawaiian Islands are actually part of an isolated chain of volcanic islands. This chain covers a stretch of about 1,600 miles in the eastern Pacific, from the island of Hawaii in the south to Kure Atoll in the northwest.
When speaking of the Hawaiian Islands, though, most people are referring to the southernmost cluster of eight islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau (Ni'ihau, pronounced “nee-hau”), and Kahoolawe (Kaho'olawe). Of the eight, the first four are the most popular. Molokai and Lanai are less crowded, while Kahoolawe and the privately owned Niihau offer only restricted access to visitors.