There’s certainly something to be said about Hawaii’s incredible spirit and the healthy, happy residents who call the islands home. Maybe it’s the laid back lifestyle, or the fact that we spend as much time as possible outside? Well, there’s another explanation brought to us by scientific research, which states that jaw-dropping moments have the ability to slow down time, to make us feel more patient, more willing to help others, and less materialistic.
With lush mountains towering over the vast Pacific, Hawaii’s scenery is not only drastic – but can easily make you feel as though time has stood still. Here are 15 spots found throughout Hawaii where you are sure to experience a complete and overwhelming sense of awe and wonder.
1. Mount Haleakala
Just 27 square miles short of equaling the entire size of Oahu, Mount Haleakala is a gentle giant – a dormant volcano that has inspired those who make the journey to its summit for centuries. Translating to “House of the Sun,” Haleakala rises more than 10,000 feet above sea level, comprises 75 percent of Maui Island, and is home to desert-like conditions, rainforests, and everything in between.
2. Kilauea Volcano
Within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is Kilauea Caldera, the fiery home of one of Hawaii’s most revered gods: Pele. Kilauea is both Hawaii’s youngest shield volcano on land, as well as the most active. The volcano is also experiencing one of the most long-lived eruptions known to man – the eruption began in 1983 on the eastern rift zone, and continues to this day.
3. Waimea Canyon
Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacifc,” Waimea Canyon will leave you breathless. At ten miles long, a mile wide and approximately 3,600 feet deep, and is home to plants and trees of all shapes and sizes – giving it a more dynamic landscape than its more famous canyon cousin.
4. USS Arizona Memorial
This incredible piece of American history will simultaneously leave you breathless and break your heart for the 1,102 sailors and marines who were killed during the fateful and tragic Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visiting the memorial is a somber experience, and one that will certainly remind you not only of the delicacy of life, but also of the monumental sacrifice made by the United States Armed Forces.
5. Garden of the Gods
Keahiakawelo, also known as Garden of the Gods, is a magnificent rock garden located at the end of Polihua Road, 45 minutes from Lanai City. According to Hawaiian legend, the landscape is a result of a contest between two kahuna – priests – from Lanai and Molokai. They were challenged to keep a fire burning on their respective islands longer than the other. Kawelo, the kahuna from Lanai, used all vegetation in Keahiakawelo to keep the fire burning – which is why the area is so barren.
6. Pipiwai Trail
Located in southeast Maui, off Hana Highway, is the unforgettable Pipiwai Trail, a four-mile round trip trek that will take you on quite the enchanting journey through a lush Hawaiian rainforest to two impressive waterfalls. You certainly won’t recognize time passing you by while losing yourself in this magical bamboo forest.
7. Waipio Valley
The sacred Waipio Valley was once the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I, and is an important site for Hawaiian history and culture. But history aside, “The Valley of the Kings” certainly appears as though it was made for royalty – the valley is full of tropical vegetation and surrounded by 2,000-foot tall cliffs.
8. Oahu’s Stairway to Heaven
Though this hike is extremely difficult, illegal and dangerous, it is hard to deny the incredible view. We clearly don’t endorse this hike, but it’s hard to deny that you will recognize the passing of time while you’re on top of the world.
9. Kaihalulu Bay
Located south of Hana Bay on the eastern coast of Maui, Kaihalulu is one of the few red sand beaches in the world. You’ll have to access the stunning beach via an overgrown cliff-side trail, and the water is rough, but really, the views are certainly worth a trip.
10. Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea measures in at 13,796 feet above sea level, the highest point in the state of Hawaii. In fact, when measured from its oceanic base deep in the vast Pacific, the mountain measures in at more than 33,000 feet tall – that’s higher than Mount Everest! At the summit, time will definitely halt, but perhaps only because you forgot to stop at the visitor’s center to acclimate to the elevation before continuing to the summit.
11. Kukaniloko Birthing Stones
The Kukaniloko Birthing Stones, found nearly 100 yards from the intersection of Whitmore Avenue and Highway 80 in Wahiawa, Oahu, 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?
12. Na Pali Coast
This piece of rugged Kauai coastline is said to be one of the most unspoiled natural beauties in all of Hawaii: thousand foot cliffs are eroded to create vaulted valleys and hidden beaches. Too bad the views are only accessible via a difficult hiking trail, and boat, kayak or helicopter tours.
13. Akaka Falls
Cascading 442-feet into a lush, tropical jungle is perhaps Hawaii’s greatest waterfall. Located on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast is Akaka Falls, a place of pure paradise flowing from the Kolekole Stream.
14. Byodo-In Temple
You don’t need to be Buddhist – or even religious – to appreciate the immense beauty and serenity you will find at Oahu’s Byodo-In Temple, a replica of a 900-year old Japanese temple.
15. Papakolea Beach
On the southernmost tip of Hawaii Island is Papakolea, a green sand beach so unique that you will only find one other spot with this iconic sand on the planet. The green hue comes from olivine, a mineral and common component of Hawaiian lava. Because olivine is denser than other minerals, it accumulates on the shoreline naturally, creating a green hued beach.
What other spots have made you feel as though time has stood still in Hawaii? Share your favorite places and photographs with us on our Only In Hawaii