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Hawaii is an exotic destination that is best now for its picturesque beaches, stunning sunsets, and luaus. But if you dig a little deeper, you will discover many cultural attractions that are soaked in fascinating history. Gods, kings, and the mystical Menehune people of Hawaii play a big role on the islands.
Each of the islands of Hawaii has its own distinct attractions and stories to tell. For example, on the Big Island of Hawaii, you see molten lava of Mauna Kea, a hallowed home to deities. When settled over 1,500 years ago by Polynesian explorers, they must have thought they discovered paradise. And with the attractions and sites to be seen, most people would agree.
From historical sites to majestic volcanoes, Hawaii has many cultural & historical sites that allow you to delve into ancient Hawaiian culture, like Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and Kaloko-Honokohau. Pu'uhonua O Honaunau us a 72-acre national historic park that provides great insight into the Hawaiian culture. It was once the grounds to Hawaiian royalty a place of refuge for ancient felons. Kaloko-Honokohau takes you back in time to Old Hawaii where you can explore how the people of the islands survived and thrived on such a seemingly hot, desolate and barren landscape.
Mauna Kea is one of the oldest cultural sites in Hawaii. To the locals, it’s a considered a sacred mountain. This is a place to stay connected to their ancient spirits and gods. This dormant volcano rises over 14,000 feet from sea level and is a godsend for stargazers. On the summit of the volcano there are 13 working telescopes operated by astronomers from 11 different countries. You can take the trek to the top, but it is advised to do this with a guide for safety reasons.
Located in Honolulu on the historic Ford Island, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor occupies two World War II hangars – including Hanger 37 and Hangar 79 – that survived the attacks and now house a variety of aircrafts, exhibits, a 200-seat theater, and the Restoration Shop. Visitors to the museum can go behind the scenes on the Aviator's Tour and experience a simulated flight in the Combat Flight Simulator. After your tour, take some time to stop by the museum cafe for a delicious gourmet burger or sandwich and visit the gift shop for cool souvenirs, like t-shirts, books, and model airplanes.
One of the most visited sites in Hawaii is the Captain Cook Museum in Kealakekua Bay. This monument marks the site where British Sea Capt. James Cook was killed at the hands of Hawaiians when they found out he was not a god. Cook’s fellow countrymen built a 27-foot tower to honor in his memory in 1874. The site can only be reached by boat, kayak, or a four-mile hike. The place is one of the most magnificent places on the island to see tropical fish, manta rays, and even dolphins.
A tour of the cultural attractions of Hawaii would not be complete with a tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This highly visited park is home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Featuring over 333,000 acres from the sea to Mauna Loa, the park allows you set out on foot to explore volcanic craters, deserts, and rainforests. One of the most popular and easy hikes is the Thurston Lava Tube, created by ancient flowing lava. During your hike, the highlight will surely be seeing the active flowing lava. Stop by the visitor center to learn more about the park, guided tours, and ongoing activities.
Located on Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is the 8th aviation attraction in the United States. The site occupies two World War II hangars in Honolulu – including Hangar 37 and Hangar 79 – both survived the attacks and now house a variety of aircrafts, exhibits, a 200-seat theater, and the Restoration Shop.
Oahu visitors can go behind the scenes on the Aviator's Tour and experience a simulated flight in the Combat Flight Simulator. Then, stop by the museum cafe for a delicious gourmet burger or sandwich and visit the museum gift store for clothing, books, models, and gifts.