Hawaii might be famous for it’s beaches, but it’s culture and history make it an unforgettable place. Learning about the Islands’ culture can add depth and meaning to your whole vacation. The Big Island — Hawaii’s youngest and largest island — is a great place for learning and exploration. Here are some of our favorite, must-see cultural spots on the island.
Back in time, people sought out Pu’uhonoua Honaunau Park as a place for refuge. It was said that no physical harm could come to those who reached it. Now, people flock to the park to take in the beauty of the reserve and discover the historical and cultural significance of the people who lived here.
As a bonus, there is a swimming beach right next to Pu’uhonoua Honaunau Park. It’s actually one of the best snorkeling spots on the island — we’ll take you there on our Kona “Big Kahuna” Loop driving tour.
Vast, beautiful green fields await you at Anna Ranch Heritage Center. This was the location where Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske who holds the title of, “The First Lady of Ranching” in Hawaii, started her ranching journey. She created innovative ways to farm.
The ranch is part of the Hawai’i State Register of Historic Places, so Anna’s legacy can continue. Visitors can tour the ranch and house.
In 1832, David and Sarah Lyman set out on a six-month journey from New England to Hilo, where they built their Mission House and the Hilo Boarding School.
The house was a place for them to raise their seven children and host guests, one being Mark Twain! The Lyman Mission House is now the oldest standing wood structure on Hawai’i. Visitors are able to tour the house as well as learn about its history at the Lyman Museum.
Mauna Kea is a sacred place in Hawaiian traditions. It’s a dormant volcano that is also the highest point in the islands at 13,000 feet. It’s known as a shrine for worship, as a home to the gods, and the piko — or where life begins — of the island.
The Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station stands at 9,000 ft and is the stopping point for those wishing to do the hike to Mauna Kea’s peak. You need to wait here and acclimatize to the elevation before continuing the hike to the summit.
The Visitor Information Station is also a great spot to take in the vast views that surround you. On clear nights, you can even participate in the nighttime stargazing program and learn how Hawaiians used the night sky as a navigation tool.
**Please note that Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station is currently closed.**
Take a Shaka Guide Road trip to Volcanoes National Park where two of the world’s most active volcanoes sit: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. There are loads of things to do once you get to the park. Travel along Crater Rim Drive to the Kilauea Iki overlook; Learn about Pele the goddess of volcanoes and fire; spend a day hiking; or be an eco-conscious visitor and help rid the park of invasive Himalayan ginger.
We hope that by visiting these five must-see cultural spots on the Big Island, you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation of Hawaii’s history and culture.
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