The precarious edge beckons visitors to peer into the depths of nothingness. It’s surrounded by a black landscape, only broken by the blue of the sea, the orange of the sulfur banks and the wispy gray of the steam rising from vents. In the distance, smoke billows into the air, a signal that the island is expanding. Welcome to paradise and Hawaii National Parks!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is more than just a park, it’s a meeting of the old and the new. It’s a prime location to experience an oft-forgotten part of nature. And yes, it’s just another piece of paradise. While more than half of the park is best for hiking and camping, and the Thurston Lava Tube – there’s a short hiking trail within it – and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are must-sees, it’s at the top of Kilauea Caldera that the magnificence comes into perspective.
The Hawaiian Islands were formed thousands of years ago by a volcanic eruption – so where better to visit than a place where the naked eye can see the constant evolution of what was once just an underwater volcano? But the park is only one of eight that span the archipelago.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, on the western coastline of the Big Island, was once home to an ancient Hawaiian settlement. The park features two fishponds -created with stone walls and once used by the settlement to raise fish.
Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site preserves the “Temple on the Hill of the Whale,” which was built by King Kamehameha I in 1790 and 1791. It features the homestead of John Young, a European sailor that helped Kamehameha extend his reign.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park was once a refuge for Hawaiians that broke ancient laws of the Gods. Besides serving as another peek into Hawaii’s history, it’s a haven for beautiful wildlife like sea turtles and Humpback whales.
The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is 175 miles of trail where visitors can view ancient settlements or just enjoy the Island of Hawaii’s natural beauty.
At Haleakala National Park, which is mostly a wilderness area, visitors can hike miles of trails or drive up to Maui’s highest peak.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park was once Moloka’i’s two leper colonies – where islanders inflicted with Hansen’s disease were forced to isolate themselves at from 1866 to 1969.
The USS Arizona Memorial is another part of Hawaii’s often-sad history. When the Japanese attacked the ship on Dec. 7, 1941, as it sat in a harbor on Oahu, 1,177 crew members died. Visitors can honor those who lost their lives by taking a guided tour or checking out the shoreline exhibits.
Hawaii National Parks
There is just something special about visiting the islands of Hawaii. From the palm trees to the wildlife there is something around every corner to explore. Hawaii National Parks include 2 gorgeous National Park sites, multiple National Historical Landmarks and so much more.
The photo below is from one of our favorite National Parks in Hawaii – Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park! This is one of our favorite places to watch the sunset and look for green sea turtles on the beach. You can enjoy a relaxing evening while exploring this beautiful park.
Hawaii National Parks
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (Big Island)
Haleakala National Park (Maui)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
Honouliuli National Monument – Not yet open to the public
Kalaupapa National Historical Park (Molokai)
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (Big Island)
Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (Big Island)
Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site (Big Island)
World War II Valor in the Pacific (Oahu)
There are 8 National Parks in Hawaii with an estimated visitation of over 5.5 million visitors. The National Park Service estimates that these visitors produce over $394 million in economic benefits.
Hawaii National Parks include 1 national trail managed by the National Park Service, 348 National Register of Historic Place listings, 33 National Historic Landmarks, 7 National Natural Landmarks and 2 World Heritage Sites.
Hawaii National Parks also include over 2.9 million objects in the National Park Museum Collection. Along with 935 places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Programs.
Do you know how many National Parks you have visited? Check out our printable list of all 417 National Park properties so you can check them off as you visit.
If you are focused on the 59 US National Parks check out this printable alphabetical list of the US National Parks.
Have you dreamed of becoming a Park Ranger and working in our gorgeous national parks? Check out How to Become a Park Ranger for information on what you need to do to become a park ranger.