The Hawaii historical sites are numerous, and they offer locals and visitors alike the opportunity to delve into the Aloha State's storied past. The historical sites in Hawaii, many of which are also sacred sites, range from temples and mission houses to battlefields and plantations, and they can be found on all of the main islands. Some of the best historical sites in Hawaii are highlighted in the following paragraphs. While you can visit the various Hawaii historical sites on your own, booking a guided historical tour that highlights one or more of them is also an option worth considering.
Oahu Historical Sites
Oahu presents a rich mix of historical sites that you can take in during your visit, the most famous of which is Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is a particularly somber reminder of the events that occurred at this naval base in 1941. No less than 1,177 of this battleship's crew lost their lives when the Japanese attacked on December 7. Other historical sites that can be found at Pearl Harbor include the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
Should you have time to visit more than one Oahu historical site, then there are many more to keep in mind. Among the others that you might consider include the Punchbowl Memorial and the Bishop Museum. The Punchbowl Memorial was dedicated in 1949, and it is the final resting place for more than 33,000 soldiers. As for the Bishop Museum, it was established way back in 1889 and is the state's largest museum. The wonderful artifacts at this historical museum offer fantastic insight into Polynesian culture.
Big Island Historical Sites
The Big Island certainly offers its fair share of historical sites in Hawaii, among the best of which is the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park. Covering about 180 acres, this national park features prehistoric house sites, temple sites, sacred burial sites, and petroglyphs. Once a place where Hawaiian lawbreakers could seek refuge, the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park is now a well restored, sacred site where visitors can learn about Hawaii's ancient history and culture.
When you're not spending time at the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park during your trip to the Big Island, two other Hawaii historical sites that you might make time for include the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site and the Mokuaikaua Church. The former is where you can find one of the largest heiaus, or temples, in the entire state. This sacred temple was built in the 1790s by King Kamehameha, who was also known as Kamehameha the Great. As for the Mokuaikaua Church, it can be found on Alii Drive in Kona. Mokuaikaua Church was the first Christian church in Hawaii, and it was built by missionaries who began arriving in the 1820s.
Kauai Historical Sites
Old Koloa Town
Many Kauai visitors come looking to enjoy some adventure, as this island is ripe for a range of activities. When you need a break from all the action in Kauai, trips to the island's historical sites can always make for a good diversion. Two of the top Kauai Hawaii historical sites are Old Koloa Town and the Waioli Mission House Museum. Old Koloa Town offers wonderful insight into Hawaiian life in the nineteenth century, and you'll want to make it a point to stop by its informative and interesting History Center. At the Waioli Mission House Museum, the lovingly restored 1837 missionary house is the main focus. Guided tours of this National Historic Landmark offer even more insight into earlier life on the island of Kauai. For those who are interested in visiting a historic church during their Kauai trip, the Hanalei Church deserves a look.
Maui Historical Sites
Many historical sites in Hawaii revolve around plantation life, and such is the case at the Maui Tropical Plantation, which is among the top Maui attractions. Found in the center of the island, the Maui Tropical Plantation once employed laborers who were imported from such countries as Japan and China, and these imported workers helped to contribute to the Aloha State's rich cultural makeup. When you're not learning about early plantation life at the Maui Tropical Plantation, you can always get a glimpse into missionary life at both the Bailey House Museum and the Baldwin Missionary Home. These two Hawaii museums make for ideal stops when you want to learn more about Maui history on the whole. You might also look to visit the Wo Hing Temple if you are interested in learning more about history and culture on your Maui getaway.
Lanai Historical Sites
Lanai is truly a place where you can get away from it all, and when you're not hiking the Munro Trail, playing some golf, or four-wheel driving through the Garden of the Gods, the Lanai historical sites will be good places to spend some time. The Luahiwa Rain Heiau and Petroglyph Reserve is arguably the best historical site on this small island, as it is home to some of Hawaii's best preserved petroglyphs. Some of these stone markings date back as far as the fifteenth century, and they depict horseback riders, warriors, and animals, among other things.
Molokai Historical Sites
Molokai might not be the first island that you consider when it comes to finding historical sites in Hawaii, but like the other islands, it boasts some good ones. These include the Kalaupapa National Historic Park, the Molokai Fishponds, and the Molokai Lighthouse, among others. The Kalaupapa National Historic Park is where you will find the Kalaupapa Peninsula, which was once the site of a leper colony in the late 1800s. During your visit to the Kalaupapa National Historic Park, you can learn more about Father Damien, who established the refuge for lepers. You can also take in some rich archaeological sites, visit a historic Roman Catholic Church, and even enjoy a mule ride on the expansive grounds.
Fish ponds figure rather prominently among the Hawaii historical sites, and the Molokai Fishponds are some of the best. These ponds, which were built in the thirteenth century, used to number in the low 60s. Today, only a handful remain, among the most easily accessible of which is Kalokoeli. Lighthouse enthusiasts who are looking for good Molokai historical sites won't want to miss the Molokai Lighthouse. Built in 1909, this 138-foot-tall structure is the tallest United States lighthouse in the Pacific Ocean.