The Hawaiian Islands are full of magnificent wonders, many of which are overrun with tourists. However, there are various secret spots and largely unknown adventures just waiting to be discovered in the Aloha State. These 12 places are some of Hawaii’s best kept secrets, though don’t worry, I haven’t given away all of their locations.
1) Papohaku Beach
You will be surprised to find very few people on this stunning beach, which is the longest white sand beach throughout the Hawaiian Islands. It is one of two beach parks that allow camping on Molokai, and the swimming can be extremely dangerous unless the ocean is completely flat and calm.
2) Mu Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple
This beautiful Korean Buddhist temple is hidden within a lush Manoa Valley neighborhood. Mu Ryang-Sa translates to “broken ridge temple,” after an incident during construction in the 1980s. Neighbors were complaining that the roof of the main hall exceeded city and county height restrictions, and the roof was lowered, leaving a distinct broken ridge.
3) Ono Organic Farms
Also known as the Maui Exotic Fruit Farm, this farm is family-owned and produces an extensive selection of rare tropical vegetables and fruits, chocolate, and Hawaiian coffee. Located in Kipahulu, off Hana Highway, visitors can attend a fruit tasting tour, where they will sample 10 to 12 organic tropical fruits, and locally-grown coffee, as well as learn a thing or two about organic farming.
4) Kauai’s Glass Beach
Located in Hanapepe, near Port Allen Harbor, is this incredible beach covered with millions of sea glass pebbles in brilliant hues of aqua, blue and brown. The glass found at this beach was mainly from broken bottles and auto glass that was dumped years ago, and then smoothed by time and ocean tides. The beach is pretty difficult to find, but it is heaven for lovers of sea glass.
5) Mermaid Cave
While many people have heard of the mermaid cave, not many have actually been there, or even know where it is. Rumor has it that this luminous cave is located on Oahu’s leeward coast, and if you’re able to find it, or have someone take you there, you are sure to create a memory that will last a lifetime.
6) The Makawao Forest
We’ve talked about Maui’s brilliant Redwood trail, and the enchanting Bamboo forest, but the gorgeous Makawao Forest offers some incredible hiking on the Kahakapao Trail where you will see wild Koa, young Redwood trees, Rasberry bushes, Eucalyptus varieties, and fragrant Ginger plants. Located in upcountry Maui at a high elevation, the forest is a little colder than most of the island, bringing a welcome refuge from Hawaii’s typical weather.
7) Kaimu Black Sand Beach
Located in what was once the bustling fishing village of Kalapana is Kaimu Black Sand Beach. When visiting the Big Island, most people want to see a black sand beach, but what if you could experience a black sand beach with sand younger than you are? Yeah, that’s right; the sand at this relatively new beach is only 20 years old. How cool is that?
Often referred to as the Forbidden Isle, Niihau is owned by the Robinson family and is home to approximately 300 native Hawaiians. The island can be seen via helicopter or boat tour, but you will not be allowed on the island without special permission from the family.
9) The Burial Site of King Kamehameha
The burial chamber of King Kamehameha, who died in 1819, has never been located. In addition to his corpse is a great treasure – including jewels, diamonds, pearls, and elaborate warrior robes decorated with the feathers of now-extinct birds. Rumor has it that the burial is in a rainforest cave…
10) Munro Trail
Located just north of Lanai City, past the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele, this 12.8-mile, one lane dirt road offers panoramic views of the island. At the trail's scenic lookout, and on a clear day, you can see the neighboring islands of Maui, Mookai, Kaho’olawe, Oahu, and the Big Island. The road will also take you to the top of Lanaihale, the island’s highest peak, measuring in at 3,370 feet.
11) Mountain Tubing On Kauai
Located near Lihue, a series of tunnels and canals were built to bring water to the Lihue Sugar Plantation, which is now closed. However, the canal system is currently used to guide tubers on an adventure with a unique perspective, and even better views.
12) Hilo Breakwater
Built in the 1920s to protect Hilo Harbor, this 1.5-mile wall is an example of historic engineering. At low tide, a walk along the landmark will offer stunning views of the harbor, the city, and even the slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
What is your favorite Hawaiian secret spot? Share your opinions with us in the comments, and be on the look out for part two.