For many of us, seeing a rainbow after a storm passes is an unusual event. Rainbows are certainly one of the more unique and beautiful creations of nature. The fact that they don't appear very often, and then are so fleeting when they do appear, excites us when we do get to see one. But there is one place where rainbows are quite common. That is on the islands of Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean. In fact, it is not unusual to see a rainbow every day, sometimes more than once a day.

rainbow kaanapali beach

Image James Temple

Rainbow over Kaanapali Beach

Rainbows can be seen when sunlight shines from a low angle through water droplets in the air. The light reflects off the back of the droplets and is refracted as it shines through the front of the drop and is returned to your sight. The reason rainbows are so prolific in Hawaii is that small afternoon showers happen daily, while the sun still shines from a different direction.

rainbow photo hawaii

Image jdnx

Rainbow over Ala Wai Park, Waikiki Beach

The brightest rainbows can be seen when the background is dark, either from dark clouds or another dark background, like Hawaii's black lava mountains and dark green tropical foliage. This condition occurs often in Hawaii, which makes its rainbows seem brighter and longer.

rainbow over waikiki beach

Image belindah

Double rainbow over Waikiki Beach


Many people have never seen a double rainbow, which is caused when sunlight reflects twice inside a raindrop. The second raindow is dim due to the loss of light to the main rainbow. In Hawaii, conditions are right to see double rainbows on a regular basis as well. The photos above and below show double rainbows in Hawaii.

Double rainbow over Hanalei Bay

Image wlcutler

Double rainbow over Hanalei Bay, Kauai


The lady that took the photo below said "I saw more rainbows in two weeks (in Hawaii) than I've seen the whole rest of my life."

rainbow over the beach

Image Peg Syverson

Rainbow with palm tree


Rainbows are so numerous in Hawaaii, that all the mens teams at the University of Hawaii-Manoa were named 'Rainbow Warriors' up until 2000. At that time, the baseball team changed its name to Rainbows, the football, golf, and volleyball teams named themselves 'Warriors" and all other teams retained the name 'Rainbow Warriors.' The women's teams all kept the name "Rainbow Wahine.' US President Obama's mother earned a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii.

Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball

Image Hawaii Athletics

Rainbow Wahine volleyball team


Since rainbows are so plentiful in Hawaii, it's not just the University's athletic teams that have adopted the name. Stores, restaurants and streets are named after rainbows. Even the Oahu island bus system is named the Rainbow Bus.

Oahu Rainbow bus

Image duluoz cats

Even the Island Bus sports a rainbow paint job


I wonder if there's a pot of gold buried on this Hawaiian beach at the end of the rainbow.

hawaii beach photo


Image bryce edwards

Paradise at the end of the rainbow, Anini Beach, Kauai

rainbow in grand canyon of the pacific

Image Ivan Makarov

Rainbow in Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Kauai

If you love rainbows and want to see them every day in all forms, then a visit to the Hawaiian Islands is for you. I hope you enjoyed these beautiful photos and will consider a vacation to Hawaii. Don't forget your camera!

waikiki photo gallery

Image the_tahoe_guy

Rainbow over Waikiki Beach from hotel window