Big Island Historical Places

Heritage Sites of Hawaii are special places located throughout the islands that provide significant historical, cultural and environmental contributions to the understanding and enjoyment of Hawaii. 

Whether it’s a unique natural wonder or a sacred place that encapsulates Native Hawaiian customs, beliefs and practices; imagine walking in the footsteps of Hawaii's fascinating history that have been visited by the people of Hawaii for generations.

Map of Hawaii Big Island

Explore Big Island by region: HiloHamakua CoastNorth KohalaKohala CoastKonaPunaKau.

Download Tour Map of Hawaii (Big Island)

Island Highlights

- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Home to Kilauea Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
- Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona): Lively, historic gathering place in the heart of Kona.
- Hilo: Home to botanical gardens, waterfalls and off-the-beaten-path local shops and restaurants.
- Waimea: Experience the cool uplands of paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country.
- Holualoa: Visit coffee country and taste why 100% Kona coffee is so famous.


‘Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park

Located along the northeastern Hamakua Coast, you can see two gorgeous waterfalls on one short hike. Venture on a self guided walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking Kahuna Falls and ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a gorge.

Location: End of ‘Akaka Falls Road (Hwy. 220), 3.6 miles southwest of Honomū.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

Kealakekua Bay

The historical significance of Kealakekua spans more than a thousand years. The Captain Cook Monument across Kealakekua Bay marks the site where the first Westerner, Captain James Cook, set foot on the island of Hawai‘i in 1779, and died there a year later. Located on the east side of the bay is the Hikiau heiau, dedicated to the Hawaiian god Lono.

Location: In Nāpo‘opo‘o at the end of Beach Rd. off Government Rd. from Pu‘uhonua Rd. (Hwy. 160) or Lower Government Rd. from Māmalahoa Hwy. (Hwy. 11) at Captain Cook or Ke‘ei Junction.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes Park

The most visited attraction and Hawai‘i’s only UNESCO World Heritage site is home to two of the world’s most active and accessible volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kīlauea. The park established in 1916 protects a wide diversity of ecosystems, a habitat for numerous Native Hawaiian species, houses many sacred and cultural sites and provides views of breathtaking volcanic landscapes.

Location: From Hilo: 30 miles southwest on Hwy. 11 (45 minute drive); from Kailua Kona: 96 miles southeast on Hwy. 11 (2 to 2 1/2 hour drive), or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via highways 19 and 11 (2 1/2 to 3 hour drive).

Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahi State Historical Park

Explore the ruins from an Ancient Hawaiian fishing village and traditional Hawaiian lifestyles by taking a self-guided tour through the partially restored remains of an ancient coastal settlement that dates back more than 600 years.

Location: On Akoni Pule Hwy. (Hwy. 270), 12.4 miles north of Kawaihae.

Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

In the past, this was a place of refuge for Native Hawaiians who came here to be absolved of breaking kapu (cultural laws). The park is home to historic Hawaiian temples, sacred ki‘i (wooden images of the gods) and interpretive exhibits of Hawaiian life and culture.

Location: On Hwy. 160. Between mileposts 103 and 104, at the Hōnaunau Post Office, turn left towards the ocean onto Hwy. 160. Travel 3.5 miles then turn left at the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park sign.

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

The National Park was established in 1978, this early Hawaiian settlement encompasses portions of four different ahupua‘a (traditional sea to mountain land divisions) and features ki‘i pōhaku (petroglyphs), fishponds, paepae (house sites platforms), a hōlua (stone slide), and a heiau.

Location: Along the Kona coast, three miles north of Kailua-Kona and three miles south of Kona International Airport, on Hwy. 19.

Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site

Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site

How many places in America can you walk in the footsteps of a king? As one of the last major temples built by Kamehameha I, this heiau played a significant role in the unification of the Hawaiian Islands. Kamehameha I was advised by a kahuna (priest) to construct the heiau at this site and dedicate it to his family’s war god, Kūkā‘ilimoku.

Location: 62-3601 Kawaihae Rd.


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Memberships and Certification

 Hawaii Tourism Authority

Certified Hawaii Tourism Authority 'Destination Expert'.

A member of Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.  

 Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Acknowledgements & Credits


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