Hawaii is best known for its gorgeous beaches, sea turtles, volcanoes and stunning tropical landscapes. But a trip to the islands should also include a visit to one or more of the many intriguing landmarks that showcase Hawaii’s rich history.
Learn more about the history of ancient Hawaii and its native people by planning a visit to one or more of these seven locations –on five different islands.
Iolani Palace, Oahu: Home of the Hawaiian Monarchy
Located in downtown Honolulu, Iolani Palace is the only royal palace ever used as the home of a reigning monarch in the United States. Completed in 1882, the palace was the residence of Hawaiian royals from Kamehameha III to the final monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, who was held under house arrest there for eight months after foreign businessmen overthrew her government in 1893. The palace was then used by the Provisional Government and later as a state building until 1969. Threatened with demolition at one point, donors stepped forward and funded a restoration and preservation effort, and the palace opened as a public museum in 1978. Visitors to this National Historic Landmark will see the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room, the red and gold Throne Room, furnished bedroom suites and the room where the queen was imprisoned. Fascinating collections of household items and photos from the era are on display.
Lahaina Town, Maui: From Royal Capital to Whaling Village
Lahaina today is a seaside tourist mecca with busy waterfront bars, restaurants and shops along Front Street, but the town has a rich history worth exploring a little more deeply once you get off the main drag. Lahaina was the Hawaiian Kingdom’s royal capital from 1820 to 1845 and became a major whaling port and fishing town in the mid 1800s due to its location on whale migration routes and the calm ocean conditions. A walking tour showcases Lahaina’s historic homes, prison, lighthouse, 1832 fort, museums, churches and cemeteries, and the massive banyan tree planted in 1873 that covers an entire city block. Another significant building is the Lahaina Courthouse, built in 1858 and restored as the Lahaina Visitor Center, Lahaina Arts Society galleries and Lahaina Town Action Committee offices. Once you’ve hit up a few of these places, you can stroll over to the waterfront for lunch seaside and pick up a souvenir.
Koloa, Kauai and Puunene, Maui: The Sugar Industry and Plantation Life
Old Koloa town on Kauai is…