If you're looking for fun and interesting things to do on your Hawaii vacation, then you might consider visiting a plantation. Most of the Hawaii plantations have been around for a while, and when you visit the more historic ones, you can learn a lot about Hawaii history. The first sugar plantations in Hawaii were established in the 1830's, and it was around the same time that the state's first coffee plantations began springing up across the islands. The pineapple plantations weren't far behind, and you can bet that plantation life was long a big part of Hawaiian culture. While many of the Hawaii plantations have been dissolved over time, there are still some good ones that you can hope to add to your travel itinerary.
The island of Oahu is where you will find the Dole Plantation, which is one of the most highly recognizable plantations in Hawaii. The Dole Plantation can be found near the pleasant town of Haleiwa in the island's northern region. It's only about a 45 minute drive from Honolulu to the Dole Plantation, and once you arrive, you might hop on the Pineapple Express for a narrated journey around the grounds, or take on the daunting hedge maze, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
Before or after you visit the Dole Plantation to learn about pineapples, you can head to Hawaii Plantation Village to gain insight into the times when sugar was the state's top industry. Hawaii's Plantation Village can be found west of Honolulu on the island's southern side. Combining a trip here with a visit to Pearl Harbor can make for a most interesting day. Not only can you learn a lot about history and culture at this living museum, but you can also explore its botanical gardens.
If you're looking to visit a plantation in Hawaii that can help you get a hold on the state's agricultural history, then a trip to the Maui Tropical Plantation might be in order. Found in the center of the island of Maui, this 60-acre, working Hawaiian plantation offers free samples of some of the delightful fruits that it cultivates, which is reason enough to visit. You can also enjoy views of the Haleakala Crater while exploring the grounds, which is another thing that helps to make the Maui Tropical Plantation one of the best plantations in Hawaii.
There are a good number of farms and plantations that you can visit on the island of Maui, not to mention botanical gardens. As for the plantations, a couple others that might interest you include the Maui Pineapple Company and Alii Kula Lavender. The former specializes in pineapples, as the name implies , while the latter is a lavender plantation/farm that offers nose-pleasing lavender walking tours.
Big Island Plantations
While some of the other Hawaiian Islands boast coffee plantations, none are more renowned than the ones that you will find in the Big Island's Kona region. On the upland slopes in the region, more than 100 coffee farms are hard at work, producing what many believe to be some of the worlds best coffee beans. Good Big Island coffee isn't only produced in the Kona region, however, and you'll do well to visit some of the plantations that can be found in other geographical areas. Just north of Hilo, for example, the Hamakua Coast is fast becoming known for the quality of its coffee plantations. A full range of farm tours can be booked on the Big Island, and those who are interested in visiting a plantation in Hawaii are also bound to enjoy a visit to a vanilla or orchid farm.
While the Big Island might be your first choice when looking to visit a coffee plantation in Hawaii, you will also want to keep Kauai in mind, thanks to the Kauai Coffee Company. This company's estate is less than twenty miles from the Lihue Airport and less than five miles from Poipu. At the Kauai Coffee Company, visitors can learn all about coffee growing, harvesting, processing, and grading.
In addition to the Kauai Coffee Company, Kauai visitors who want to visit some plantations in Hawaii will also do well to drop by the Kilohana Plantation. This plantation, which boasts some healthy and inviting orchards, grows pineapples, sugar cane, bananas, papaya, and other fruits. Visitors are encouraged to book a tour upon arrival, as the tours here can see you riding through the orchards on a historic train, hiking in a rainforest, and even enjoying a gourmet picnic.
Unfortunately, Lanai visitors won't have much in the way of Hawaii plantations to visit. While the island was once home to the largest collection of pineapple plantations in the world, the plantation lands are now open plains. Lanai might not be known for having the best plantations in Hawaii, but it does boast the Kanepuu Preserve, which is home to almost 50 species of native plants.
Like Lanai, Molokai is not the first island that people are bound to recommend if you are interested in visiting a plantation in Hawaii. Just ten minutes from the airport, however, visitors will find the Coffees of Hawaii plantation, which covers some 500 acres. You can tour the grounds here by foot or by way of a mule-drawn wagon, not to mention stop by the gift shop and the onsite espresso bar.