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From historic museums and sites, to national parks and landmarks, Hawaii offers so much to see and do.
Located on the island of Molokai, the Kalaupapa National Historical Park was once the site of a leper colony in the 1800's, originally established to banish all the afflicted onto the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of the island. Today, the site dedicates the memory of the colony and the experiences of those who lived there. To visit the remote peninsula, visitors must take a commercial tour operated by a third-party, making stops at the Kalaupapa Bookstore and a lunch at Kalawao – the latter stop features excellent views of the north shore.
Gracing the shorelines of the Big Isle, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park preserves the history and engineering skills of the native people and their lifestyles before the arrival of Western civilization. Hawai'i Visitors are encouraged to stop by the visitor center run by the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association for a quick park orientation. Then, start with a walk along the Honokohau Bleach and catch glimpses of coral reefs, sea turtles, and tropical fish still inhabiting the area. Remants of the 'Ai'opio fish trap and the Pu'uoina Heiau offer great sight seeing opportunities as well.
Set on the Big Island’s western shore, the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a 420-acre beach park operated by the National Park Service. Both a City of Refuge National Historical Park and a United States National Historical Park, the Hawaiian park was once a refuge for early inhabitants who broke ancient laws. Visitors to Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical may gaze upon the Hale O Keawe heiau reconstruction, or spot yellow tang and sea turtles in the Keone'ele – or royal cove – and follow the two-mile 1871 Trail to Ki'ilae Village.
Built entirely by hand in 1791, the Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site preserves the ruin of the last major Ancient Hawaiian temple that was built during King Kamehameha I's reign. The temple was also the site where Kamehameha unified the Big Island of Hawaii before going on to unify the entire state a few years later.
Today, the park – which is found on the northwestern end of Hawa'ii – is open to walking tours, living history tours, ranger talks, educational tours, and cultural demonstrations provided by the National Park Service. Don't miss the huge temple mound or take to the ocean and see the submerged ruins of a temple once dedicated to the sharks that swim through it.
Located in off the shores of Waikiki, Diamond Head State Monument is an Oahu state park that is surrounding a volcanic cone from the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Hike to the top and enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
For a history lesson in WWII, go to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where you will find the USS Arizona Memorial. This site is listed as National Historic Landmark and is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.