National parks in Hawaii


Haleakala National Park on Maui – A sprawling park stretching from the ocean to the mountain (however you can not get to the ocean from the mountain access road or vice versa but the entrance fees for one will get you into the other). The mountain area has the famous downhill bike ride, plants unique to the area, hiking, and fantastic sunrises. The ocean area is past Hana and has hiking, waterfalls with swimmable pools, and beaches.

There are 4 National Parks on the Big Island

Puuhonua O Honaunau in South Kona – this was a place of refuge in ancient times, criminals or defeated soldiers could go here to receive amnesty from the priest. It has a great beach, lots of shade, and looks like an authentic Hawaiian village. There are ancient Tiki carvings, thatched roof huts, temples, petroglyphs – and the last time I was there a Hawaiian man was carving a canoe out of a tree trunk in one of the huts. Definitely recommended.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park above Volcano Village, Hilo side – The current home of Pele and the active volcano Kilauea. There is a visitor center, a museum, massive craters, a lava tube you can walk through, hiking trails, campgrounds, and sometimes red lava viewing. A must-see.

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Puukohola Heiau on the Kohala Coast – Puukohola Heiau means Temple on the Hill of the whale. There is a small visitor center and a short hike to a great view of an ancient heiau, or temple. It’s worth a look and won’t take more than an hour.

Kaloko-Honokohau in North Kona – this historical Park was set aside to protect an ancient village, it’s fish ponds, and the local wildlife. Only if you are really interested.

There are no national parks to speak of on Oahu, Lanai, Molokai, or Kauai.