While Hawaii may be small in comparison to other American states – you would have to multiply the islands’ size by 40 to compare to Texas’ landmass – the islands are full of beautiful, and sometimes unusual, geological formations and man-made oddities. From underground tunnel systems and odd geological formations made by lava flows to shipwrecks and abandoned places, here are 12 of the most mysterious places you can explore in Hawaii.
1. Kukaniloko Birthing Stones
The Kukaniloko Birthing Stones, found nearly 100 yards from the intersection of Whitmore Avenue and Highway 80 in Wahiawa, have marked the site of royal births and powerful struggles for centuries. Recent research has discovered that the stones may have served an astrological purpose as well – perhaps as a sort of a Pacific Islands henge?
2. King’s Trail
An old coastal rock trail built by King Kamehameha I who ruled the Hawaiian Islands from 1795 to 1819. The trail circled the Big Island and served as a major traveling route for native Hawaiians. Legend says that the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors still use the trail. There are reports of a procession of disembodied flickering torches and the sounds of drumming, chanting and battle cries.
3. Maui’s Dragon Teeth
These volcanic formations are found on the edge of the Ritz’s golf course. The jagged, gray rocks were formed hundreds of years ago when wind gusts from the ocean forced lava to harden towards the sky. This intriguing scenery looks like something out of a science fiction or fantasy novel, does it not?
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. Red Hill
Located deep underground Red Hill is a fuel-storage facility, one of Hawaii’s most audacious engineering feats. Twenty reinforced concrete fuel tanks – holding approximately 252 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel – were built here as a fuel reserve for the military during World War II. The existence of Red Hill was a state secret from 1943 until the early 1990s when it was declassified.
6. Mahi Shipwreck
This United States Navy minelayer was used in WWII and sunk as an artificial reef in 1982. The wreck sits approximately 90 feet under the surface, is 189 feet long, and is arguably one of the most sought after dives in the islands.
7. Lava Tree State Monument
This 17-acre park features a forest of lava trees, the result of a lava flow that swept through the forest, leaving behind lava molds of the tree trunks.
8. Abandoned Home For Wayward Boys
What remains of the former reformatory school for wayward boys on Oahu’s north shore, just blocks from some of the island’s most incredible beaches. The school was in operation for fifty years in the early 1900s, and its residents were sent there for everything from truancy and disobedience to larceny and assault.
9. UFO Peace Park
Located in Volcano on Hawaii Island, this small sculpture park was created by adherents to toe Raelian UFO religion, who believes that everyone was created by Elohim aliens. The park features a model of a proposed galactic embassy the group wants to built in Hawaii.
10. Teddy Bear World
More than 800 animatronic bears occupy this 20,000 square foot museum, described as “the only teddy bear animatronic museum attraction in North America.”
11. Kilauea Iki Trail
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is this wildly popular 4-mile loop trail through the Kilauea Iki crater, the site of a massive 1959 volcanic eruption. The trail takes hikers through lush rainforests, near active steam and sulfur vents, and across a solidified lava lake.
12. Koko Crater Botanical Garden
A 60-acre garden within the Koko Crater, this botanical garden is also known as the Charles M. Wills Cactus Garden – a name that suits the hot, dry climate and the flora that are able to thrive in this environment. Oh, and this terrifying plant is an octopus cactus, in case you were curious.
How many of these places have you visited? What other spots would you add to this list?