From Kauai’s stunning Waimea Canyon and Hawaii Island’s Thurston Lava Tube to Maui’s Mount Haleakala, Hawaii is full of majestic natural wonders. But the Aloha State is also home to several man-made wonders and pieces of architectural brilliance including bridges, buildings, and everything in between.
1. Byodo-In Temple
Located on Oahu’s lush windward coast at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains is the Byodo-In Temple, a small-scale replica of a famous temple in Japan that is more than 950 years old. The non-denominational shrine was dedicated in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. The beautiful grounds include stunning statues, a large reflecting pond, meditation areas, and small waterfalls.
2. Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
This charming swinging bridge is one of the most popular attractions in this small Kauai town. The bridge was built in the early 1900s as a means for residents to cross the river, and was restored after Hurricane Iniki, but has since become worn out, and could use a few repairs again.
3. The Aloha Tower
Located on Pier Nine in Honolulu, the Aloha Tower is both a lighthouse that has guided countless ships to shore, as well as one of Hawaii’s most well-known landmarks. It was built in 1926 at the then astronomical price of $160,000. At 10 stories and 184 feet of height with an additional 40 feet of flag mast, the Aloha Tower was the tallest building in Hawaii for four decades.
4. Ford Island Bridge
Formally known as the Admiral Clarey Bridge, this structure provides access to Ford Island, a United States Naval Installation in the middle of Pearl Harbor. The floating concrete draw bridge is more than 4,600 feet in length, with a 930-foot pontoon section that can be retracted under the fixed bridge in order to accommodate the Navy’s largest battleships and aircraft carriers to pass through.
5. The Four Season Maui’s Serenity Pool
With views of the West Maui Mountains across approximately 10 miles of Maalaea Bay, this stunning $9 million infinity pool is the very picture of luxury. A full-service swim-up bar with underwater stools and opulent poolside cabanas make this one of the most picturesque adult retreats on the island – guests under the age of 21 are not permitted in this area.
6. The Tetsuo Harano Tunnel + H-3 Highway
The H-3 Highway connects H-1 near Halawa with Kaneohe, crossing the Ko’olau Mountains along a viaduct and through the 5,165-foot long Tensuo Harano Tunnels that cut through the mountainside. One of the most expensive interstate highways ever built on a cost per mile basis, the final cost of the H-3 was $1.3 billion, or approximately $80 million per mile.
7. St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church
Known more commonly as the Painted Church, this magnificent piece of art on Hawaii Island is open to the public seven days a week, and holds mass five days each week. The masterpiece was built from 1899 to 1902 under the direction of Catholic missionary Father John Velghe, an untrained folk artist who painted frescoes along the interior ceiling and walls depicting various biblical scenes.
8. Iolani Palace
It’s hard to find a man-made wonder as enchanting as Hawaii’s Iolani Palace, the royal residence for the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1845 to 1893. After the monarchy was overthrown, the building served as the capitol building until 1969, and then in 1978, restored and opened as a museum. The palace features a unique style of architecture known as American Florentine, and is the only official state royal residence on United States soil.
9. Dole Plantation Maze
The giant pineapple garden maze at the Dole Plantation was recognized as the world’s largest maze of its kind in 2008 by the Guinness Book of World Records. The maze is housed on more than three acres, and includes nearly 2.5 miles of paths crafted from 14,000 Hawaiian plants. The impressive pineapple maze is one of only a handful of permanent botanical mazes in the county.
10. Hana Highway
While the waterfalls, streams, beaches, and jungles near Maui’s Hana Highway are certainly not man-made, the road itself was brilliantly constructed around the island’s many natural wonders, and is one of the state’s most idyllic drives.
11. Haiku Stairs
Constructed in order to reach the Haiku Radio Station, a top-secret facility used to transmit radio signals to U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific, the Haiku Stairs became one of Hawaii’s most iconic hikes – even though the grueling 3,922 step climb is both dangerous and quite illegal. While we would never condone any of our readers making this trek, it’s hard to deny that the famous stairs are one of the most enchanting spots in all of Hawaii.
12. The Hilo Breakwater
Built in the 1920s to protect Hilo Harbor, this 1.5-mile wall is a sleep 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.
How many of these undeniably enchanting spots have you visited? What other man-made wonders would you add to this list?