Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Photo by Alexander Rabb
With such an incredible history and diverse topography it’s no surprise that the Big Island has some of the most interesting and breathtaking national parks in the US. From live volcanoes to petroglyphs carved into the lava rocks to historical trails weaving past cascading waterfalls there is something inspiring in all of the Big Island’s national parks.
The best part is that on the following 2015 holidays there is no entry fee: January 19, February 14-16, April 18-19, August 25, September 26, and November 11. So, grab those hiking boots out of the closet, pack a bottle of sun screen, and get ready for a memorable experience.
A great way to see some of the Big Island’s national parks is by hiking the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The trail goes through four different parks and is a nice trek past historical sites and beautiful scenery. However, if you only have time to visit one or two parks we recommend the following:
Hawaii Volcano National Park, Photo by Howard Ignatius
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: One of the most spectacular natural phenomenon you’ll ever see is lava pouring into the Pacific Ocean. Part of the reason the experience blows you away is knowing this is how the Big Island was born over 300,000 years ago and the other part is the raw beauty of hot magma meeting water for the first time. Some have described seeing Kilauea’s lava as awe inspiring. Others have said it’s life changing. One thing’s for sure, seeing this volcano continue to form the Big Island is not something you’ll ever forget.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has 150 miles of trails. Along the way you’ll hike past lava flow and steam vents, travel through a cave-like lava tube, and make your way through tropical forest to Kilauea’s summit caldera. For more information and maps stop by the Kīlauea Visitor Center between 7:45 am and 5:00 pm every day.
Ancient Petroglyphs, Photo by Kevin Oliver
Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park: In ancient Hawaii if you broke a sacred law, the kapu, you were sentenced to death. However, if you could out run your pursuers and make it to the puuhonua you could be absolved of your crimes. Once you reached the puuhonua, a place of refuge, you could go through a purification ceremony that would allow you to once again return home.
Today, the Puuhonau o Honaunau in south Kona is a 180-acre national historic park and the most famous puuhonau in Hawaii. Every year over 350,000 people come to see this archaeological site and explore the Great Wall, sacred temples, and fierce kii (wooden statues of gods). The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
If you would like more information about visiting the Big Island or details about one of our luxury real estate listings, please get in touch with us at MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty.