Top 17 Historical Sites in Hawaii [Update 2024]

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Hawaii can truly be called the dreamiest location in the United States with its serene sandy beaches, huge rain-forests and scrumptious seafood. However, there is so much more to explore in this state, starting from the only royal palace in the United States to the oldest tree in the country.

Scroll to know which are the best historical sites in Hawaii that you just can’t miss out visiting.

1. Hulihe’e Palace

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Hulihe’e Palace is one of the best Historical Sites in Hawaii

Hulihe’e Palace is an elegant palace sitting next to the Kailua pier. Initially, it was built as the summer residence for the Hawaiian Royalty. In 1973, it was restored and preserved and later designated as a National Historical site.

When you visit, you can get the chance to see the stunning portraits, koa wood furniture, Hawaiian quilts and many more beautiful artifacts of the Royalty. Opposite to the palace, there is another wonder, the Mokuaikaua Church, which was founded in 1820 by missionaries.

2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaiian islands came to existence because of volcanic activity. You just cannot miss seeing hot lava and active volcanoes in real life. The best and safe way to witness this natural phenomenon is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island.

The jaw dropping view of the lava fields with lava tubes and steam from volcanic cents will amaze you. Inside the park, there is Jaggar Museum, where you can learn about the history of the national park. One of the best activities to try out is taking a helicopter or boat tour that lets you get the safest close view of the volcanic action.

3. Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

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To peek through the window of Hawaiian traditions and culture, you can visit the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The Kapu system is prevalent where breaking the law has the only punishment, which is death.

The area was restored after the wars and in 1961, it was designated the present name. Along with touring and learning about the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau, you can also visit the visitors center or gift shop.

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4. Kuamo’o Battle Site

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Kuamo’o Battle Site

The battle of Kuamo’o was fought in 1819, which was one of the bloodiest battles on Hawaiian grounds. Kuamo’o Battle Site stands as the evidence of the people’s struggle to follow the traditional Kapu system or abolish it.

After years, the battleground has been preserved as proof of the historical battles in Hawaii which hold the value of safekeeping traditions to the visitors.

5. Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement

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Nestled between giant 1,600-foot cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other side, Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement stands as a “prison fortified by nature.”

This tiny island of Molokai is home to a dwindling population and visitors are allowed to visit and explore the area. There is also a cemetery next to the settlement where there are headstones of more than 2000 graves.

6. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

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National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is registered on the National Register of Historic places. It is also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery.

It serves as a memorial to honor the brave Armed Forces of the United States, who sacrificed their lives for the nation. Make sure to pay respect to the honorable demised people when you are here.

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7. Honokohau Settlement

Established in the 1969s as a National Historical park, Honokohau Settlement is located on Kona coast of Hawaii. Originally, it was an ancient Hawaiian settlement. You can explore the house site platforms, religious sites, Hawaiian aquaculture fishponds and other wonderful parts of this archeological site.

8. Lyman Museum and Mission House

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Lyman Museum and Mission House was built by Sarah and David Lyman, New England missionaries in 1839. It is an ideal place to enjoy a glimpse of Hawaii’s past.

The house near the museum known as the Mission House was built in 1971. The houses exhibit the natural history and artifacts of Hawaii. They also offer visitor tours, and you can enjoy the special exhibitions.

9. Ni’ihau

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Popularly known as Hawaii’s forbidden island, Ni’ihau is another wonder. It is an island inhabited by native and Robinson family descendants. The island is home to more than 130 Hawaiian natives who follow traditional Hawaiian practices.

There are no restaurants, police, cars, stores or any other modern institutions. The residents of the island solely depend on solar power. When you visit the island, you need to follow their traditions and fully show respect or else you won’t be allowed to stay.

10. Iolani Palace

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Constructed in 1882, Iolani Palace was built by King Kalakaua. Home to the reigning monarchs of Honolulu island. You should visit the palace to see the raw and valuable cultural site of Hawaii. The palace is a 10-room house with a giant king’s bedroom, music room, kitchen area and even the imprisonment room.

11. United States Naval Base, Pearl Harbor

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You cannot talk about World War II without mentioning Pearl Harbor. In 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack and killed more than 2000 people and wounded more than 1170 people in Hawaii. The naval base stands as evidence of the atrocities of war, and the state has preserved the area to bear witness to the world.

12. Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

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If you want to see European exploration in Hawaii, you need to visit Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. In 1779, Captain James Cook arrived at the island and created an extensive contract between the Hawaiians and Westerners. Besides exploring the area, you can visit the traditional religious site, Hikiau Heiau.

13. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is the museum with the largest collection of Hawaiian culture and heritage artifacts. Established in 1889, the museum contains more than 24 million cultural and historical artifacts. This museum is perfect for children aged 5 and up.

14. Lahaina Banyan Tree

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Lahaina Banyan Tree is the largest banyan tree in Hawaii. Interestingly, it is also the largest one in America with its aerial root system and trunk covering 0.66 acres.

It is one of the most popular sites in Lahaina, Hawaii. The plant was planted in 1873, which also makes it one of the oldest banyan trees on the Hawaiian Island. So don’t miss seeing this iconic tree.

15. Kona Coffee Living History Farm

If you are a coffee lover or not, you should try visiting Kona Coffee Living History Farm. Located in Captain Cook, Hawaii, this farm is dedicated to the history of coffee farming, and you won’t find anything like it in the country.

You can know about the daily tasks and even participate in some simpler ones like milling and drying coffee. Since the 1920s, the coffee production plantation has been thriving, and it holds the legacy of Kono Coffee products that are massively consumed all across the country.

16. USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu

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The attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II is widely known, and this memorial park rests atop the resting place of the many soldiers who lost their lives then. The site of the USS Arizona is one of the most popular sites in the islands because many tourists visit to pay their respects.

17. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

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Waikiki Beach is a famous surfing beach and resort town in the islands of Hawaii. It is located on the north shore of Honolulu island. When it comes to the best cities to visit in Hawaii, this world-class neighborhood is the top dog for its vibrant nightlife and endless entertainment. All of that can be experienced just a few steps from the ocean.

To add to your Hawaii itinerary, this list of the most remarkable historical sites in Hawaii contains the ones that you just have to visit. To make the most of the unique getaway in Hawaii, enjoy this Hawaiian historical bucket list.

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