There are various cities, beaches, hikes and landmarks across Hawaii that make their way into every Hawaiian Island guidebook ever written: places that are perhaps overrated, overrun with tourists, and, honestly, not all they are cracked up to be. There are other attractions, however, that are highly underrated, including these 11 lesser-known, but just as amazing, sites.
With the greatest concentration of artists on the island, Hanapepe is known as “Kauai’s Biggest Little Town.” Every Friday night from 5 – 9 p.m., local art studios keep their doors open late for Friday Art Night. Some artists sit on the sidewalk to paint or display their recent work while local performers play Hawaiian music.
2) Halawa Valley Scenic Drive
This 56-mile round trip drive on the island of Molokai is often overlooked, but the rocky shoreline, lush jungle, deserted beaches and sweeping views are second to none.
3) Iao Valley State Park
Rising 1,200 feet into the air is the Iao Needle, a well-known Maui landmark. The park offers numerous hiking trails at various intensities. Take a break from Maui’s stunning beaches to go inland and enjoy the lush, tropical greenery that is Iao Valley State Park.
4) Hamoa Beach
Located on the famous Hana Highway, this crescent-shaped beach was once the lip of a small volcano, and is extremely secluded and often unpopulated.
5) Halona Blowhole
Formed from molten lava tubes from volcanic eruptions, this Oahu blowhole can shoot water 30 feet into the air when conditions are right. Spouting Horn Blowhole on Kauai is the much more famous blowhole, but this Oahu gem is just as gorgeous.
6) Ahalanui Hot Pond
Within this Big Island park is a spring-fed volcanic hot spring that maintains a balmy 90 degrees year round. This is a popular spot amongst locals, but it often goes unnoticed by visitors.
7) Kaena Point
Far away from Honolulu is Kaena Point, the northwestern-most tip of Oahu. Complete with rugged coastline, crashing waves, and wildlife refuge. The hike is five miles round trip, but is relatively flat and easy.
Though nowhere near beautiful Maui beaches, Wailuku is an often-underrated town, full of plantation-era shops, Japanese stores, cute bed and breakfasts, as well as the stellar Wailuku Coffee Company and the Bailey House Museum. If you’re looking for a town off the beaten path, where few tourists visit, Wailuku is the place to go.
9) Ehukai Pillboxes
Sure, everyone loves hiking the insanely popular Lanakai pillboxes, but the Ehukai pillboxes, located on Oahu’s north shore, provide gorgeous views, as well as a tree-shrouded and shadier hiking experience. There is also an extensive trail system near the summit.
10) Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
The picturesque Kauai lighthouse stands amongst towering cliffs that look into the Pacific Ocean, home to the endangered monk seals, humpback whales in the winter, and honu.
11) Chain of Craters Road
Located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is this scenic road leads drivers to the coast, past several craters from historic eruptions. Since the road was opened in 1965, several parts of the road have been buried in lava due to volcanic eruptions. The Chain of Craters Road currently measures in at 18.8 miles, and there is no food, water of fuel available along the path. While Hawaii Volcanoes as a whole is wildly popular, this drive is often overlooked.
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