There are many places in Hawaii that are deeply treasured for their cultural, natural or historical significance. From rugged state parks to historic landmarks, here are some of the heritage sites that the Hawaiian islands have to offer.
Big Island is home to several fascinating heritage sites, with the most famous of them all being the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This park is home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Maunaloa and Kilauea, providing volcanic landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world. Other state parks that are definitely worth visiting on Big Island include Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, which is where Captain James Cook first set foot on the island, the ‘Akaka Falls State Park, and the Lapakahi State Historical Park, which is where you will be able to learn more about traditional Hawaiian lifestyles. For those seeking even more history, the Hulihee Palace used to be a vacation home for Hawaiian royalty, and can be found in the historic Kailua Village.
Just like Big Island, there are many different heritage sites to be found in Oahu. The Bishop Museum is usually the first point of call for many visitors, as this will teach you so much about the Pacific region, providing a great starting point from which you can learn more about the islands’ history and culture. The Iolani Palace State Monument can also be found in Oahu, and is the only official royal state residence in the entire US. Other royalty-related sites include the Queen Emma Summer Palace and Washington Place, both of which are open for tours.
There are just two main heritage sites to be found in Kauai, but one of these is considered by many to truly be a geological wonder. Dubbed “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, the Waimea Canyon State Park stretches out for over 14 miles, offering multiple scenic viewpoints, as well as a short nature trail. Also on Kauai is the Kilauea Lighthouse, which, in addition to being a National Wildlife Reserve, also offers incredible views of the island.
While Lanai may only have one heritage site, the Kaunolu Village, this archaeological site contains the largest surviving ruins of a prehistoric Hawaiian village, making it well worth exploring. From petroglyphs to Kahekili’s Leap, a 60 foot cliff from which warriors would dive to demonstrate their bravery, there is plenty of history to soak up here.
One of Maui’s heritage highlights includes the Haleakala National Park, which spans over 30,000 acres. This is a national park with one of the highest concentrations of endangered species, making it a must-visit for those who want to experience native Hawaiian wildlife. It is also home to the highest peak in Maui, meaning that there are many incredible views to be seen from here.
Each of the Hawaiian islands have at least one heritage site to visit, with some, such as Big Island and Oahu, being home to several. Whether you are seeking history, culture or natural beauty, these heritage sites promise to provide all of that plus so much more.