While it’s true that Hawaii locals love Hanauma Bay and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as much as the next person, sometimes we want to get away from the tourists and experience something new. From breathtaking farms and educational museums to secluded beaches and fascinating natural formations, these 13 underrated attractions in Hawaii are sure to make for a memorable experience.
1. Honolulu Architectural Walking Tour
Honolulu is home to some of the most unique architecture in the country, and the best way to learn about the fascinating buildings that occupy our capital is by taking a walking tour. They take place on Saturday mornings, and are lead by an architect, architectural historian, or a member of the American Institute of Architects.
2. Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
Upcountry Maui, near Mount Haleakala, gets a great deal of rain, resulting in lush, green scenery, and flourishing lavender. But the beautiful, fragrant lavender isn’t the only thing to see at this gorgeous farm – visitors will also be rewarded with panoramic views of the entire western half of the island.
3. Big Island Bees
For an unconventional stop during your stay on the Big Island, be sure to check out Big Island Bees for a tour of their hives and museum, where you can learn all about honey beekeeping. Don’t forget to bring some all-natural, single-source, organic honey home with you.
4. Hawaiii's Plantation Village
Hawaii Plantation Village is an outdoor history museum that tells the story of the island’s sugar cane workers and life on the plantation circa 1850 to 1950, as well as the history of immigration to Hawaii.
5. Kauai's Fern Grotto
This naturally-formed lava cave, located off Kauai’s Wailua River, was formed millions of years ago, and is home to various native Hawaiian plant species as well as colorful, exotic plants, that come together to make visitors feel as though they have entered a tropical rainforest.
6. Pacific Tsumani Museum
Housed in a bank building that barely survived the last tsunami that hit the Big Island is the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Though the museum is a tourist destination, staff members strive to educate Hilo’s inhabitants about the tsunami preparedness.
7. East-West Center
Located on the University of Hawaii Manoa’s campus is the East-West Center, a serene space in the middle of the city that was designated by the United States Congress in order to pursue the strengthening of relationships with the Asia-Pacific region by way of education and research. The center features a zen garden and art gallery with rotating exhibitions.
8. Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary
Located on five acres above Kailua-Kona is Three Ring Ranch, home to various exotic animals – including Zoe, a Golden zebra who is distinguished by gold stripes and blue eyes. She was rescued from Molokai, and was the third reported zebra of her kind throughout history when she was born in 1998.
9. Hana Lava Tube
While the Big Island’s Thurston Lava Tube gets all the glory, the Hana Lava Tube is just as magical - and far less crowded. Also known as Ka’eleku Cave, the lava tube is the most accessible formation of its kind on Maui, and visitors are able to explore approximately ⅓ mile of the large cave.
10. Kukaniloko Birthing Stones
Found nearly 100 yards from the intersection of Whitmore Avenue and Highway 80 in Wahiawa on the island of Oahu, the Kukaniloko Birthing Stones have marked the site of royal births and power struggles for centuries. Recent research has discovered that the stones may have served an astronomical purpose as well – perhaps as a sort of a Pacific Islands henge?
11. 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.
12. Parker Ranch
Located on Hawaii Island, Parker Ranch encompasses 250,000 acres, and is the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. The working cattle ranch was founded in 1847, pre-dating many mainland ranches in Texas and other southern states by more than 30 years.
13. Honolulu's Pier 38
Whether you’re headed to this beautiful pier in the heart of Honolulu for a fantastic meal at Nico’s Pier 38 or to witness the spectacle that is the Honolulu fish auction - the only fresh tuna auction in the United States, by the way - you will surely not be disappointed in the activities, or the view.
Believe it or not, there are beautiful places in Hawaii that aren’t crawling with tourists, like these
14 underrated places to take your friends and family who are visiting from out of town.