When you’re looking for a break from the big cities and crowded beaches in Hawaii, head to Kauai and visit a genuine old town for a taste of what Hawaii was like when sugar plantations were just beginning to be formed. A visit to Old Koloa Town won’t take long, but it’ll be a refreshing and slow-paced alternative to much of the rest of the islands.
The town of Koloa, which is sometimes called Old Koloa Town and sometimes even Homestead, is a small town on the island of Kauai which dates from the mid-1800s when Hawaii’s first sugar cane plantation was founded in Koloa. Visitors today can see the ruins of the first sugar mill, as well as a plaque dedicated to the workers, in the town center. Old Koloa Town also boasts some of the oldest buildings in Hawaii. There is also a museum which chronicles the lives of the Japanese immigrants who worked on the sugar plantations.
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In addition to the historic aspects of Koloa, there are lots of cute shops, restaurants and cafes in town which make for a lovely and leisurely day spent browsing, buying, eating, and browsing some more. Should you be fortunate enough to be in Koloa during July, be sure to check the schedule to see if you’ll be able to catch the annual Koloa Plantation Days celebration. The event has been going since 1985, and honors Hawaii’s sugar industry. There’s lots of food and music, and a popular parade through town.
Getting to Koloa: Take Highway 50 east to Lawa’i and turn right on Highway 530 (Koloa Road). This road takes you into Old Koloa Town.
More Information: The Koloa Plantation Days website is here.