Top 10 Most Famous Hawaii Landmarks Travelers Talk About

There is a reason that Hawaii cruises are amongst the most popular of all vacations. Between volcanic eruptions and wildlife encounters, there is a lot to see and do on this collection of South Pacific islands. Formed by the forces of nature from volcanic eruptions that gave way to some of the most lush and colorful landscape on the planet, it’s not a wonder that many famous Hawaii landmarks are not man made. However, whether a cultural centerpiece, a military establishment or one of many lava filled mountains, past guests have raved about numerous points of interest in Hawaii, and we’ve put together the ten best of them.

1. Pearl Harbor: Although the first thing on most people’s minds when they arrive in the Aloha state is checking out some local culture and Honolulu attractions, there is one location that few pass up an opportunity to check out while in the state. Not just one of the most important of all Hawaii landmarks, but a location that has significant importance on both a National and Global scale, this site that marks the start of the United States’ involvement in World War II is where Japan attacked on December 7th, 1941.

2. Waikiki Beach: Known for its white sands and touristy atmosphere, this Honolulu beachfront found on the island of Oahu is perhaps one of the most well known beaches in the state and interestingly enough, and important place amongst historic Hawaii landmarks. It’s here that Hawaiian royals enjoyed their leisure time aboard long boards, taking in the waves and the sun that have made the shoreline famous the world around. This stretch of beach is famous for another reason, and that is erosion. The problem has existed for many decades, and surprisingly enough, some of the sand replenishment projects in the 1920s and 1930s included the transport of the white stuff from beaches near Manhattan.

3. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Around a century ago, a National Park was declared on the island of Hawaii in an area that includes two active volcanoes. The most well known of these is Mauna Loa, which is not only one of the most spectacular of all Hawaii landmarks, but also the largest sub aerial volcano in the world. The other lava producer found here, named Kilauea, is one of the most active volcanoes found anywhere on Earth, and together they comprise a hotbed of activity that is hard for even the most well traveled tourists to stay away from.

4. Diamond Crater: This volcanic tuff cone found on Oahu is referred to affectionately by locals as Leahi, perhaps because from the side it very closely resembles the fin of a tuna. Although named for the popular engagement ring stone, there are no actual diamonds found in the former volcanic crater. Rather, a tremendous amount of beta quartz crystals that can be found stuck in the rocks were mistaken for the shiny rare gemstones by early explorers. The site remains important amongst Hawaii landmarks for its natural beauty as well as it’s almost perfect elevated location for viewing the areas surrounding it.

5. Mount Waialeale: The top of this mountain, at over five thousand feet in height, is one of the rainiest locations on the planet. But, that’s not what draws visitors and makes the shield volcano one of the most interesting of all Hawaii landmarks. Both the popular attraction “The Wall of Tears” as well as a stunning array of incredibly rare wildlife which call the area home on account of the immense of rain falling here make it a huge draw with both adventurers and nature lovers alike.

6. Waimea Canyon: It may seem strange to think of a location that rivals the Grand Canyon on the island of Kauai, but that’s just what this lush and reddish region is often compared to. Formed by the Waimea River and the collapse of a volcano, the area is not only one of the most stunning of all Hawaii landmarks, but also one of the most unique environments on Earth. There are various lookout points for visitors to enjoy both from up high and down low along the fourteen mile canyon that is about a mile in width, and both viewing angles provide an array of color and geologic wonder that is unlike any other place on Earth.

7. Haleakala National Park: Maui is where this wilderness area that covers over 33,000 acres can be found. Almost one and a half million people visit the park each year to see its crown jewel and one of the most treasured of all Hawaii landmarks, the now dormant volcano that the park is named for. Exploring this less active area is ideal for less adventurous guests who are interested in the geologic features of the area such as cinder cones and alien like trees that can be found along the crater.

8. Akaka Falls: On the island of Hawaii just north of Hilo can be found a pair of waterfalls that enchant and delight countless guests each year. Akaka is the most popular of the two and one of the most beautiful of all Hawaii landmarks. It’s over 400 feet tall and spills into a deep gorge, cascading down alongside lush, and vibrantly colored vegetation on either side. The falls are unique for several reasons. They’re an important part of local culture and a centerpiece of Hawaiian lore and they’re also home to an endemic goby species that uses the top of the falls as a spawning ground where they use their suction cup like bellies to cling to rocks.

9. Molokini Crater: When most people think of craters, they think of land features that don’t involve getting wet feet. But, Molokini is an exception to this common thought, and it’s actually one of the most beautiful dive sites in the entire world, and a prize amongst Hawaii landmarks. One of just three places like it in the entire world, the diversity of marine life found here (some that’s found nowhere else) combined with the corals below mean that whether donning scuba gear or a snorkel, getting below the water’s surface is the only way to visit Molokini.

10. Byodo-in Temple: There are few things that seem out of place in Hawaii. Volcanoes, beaches and brightly colored flowers can be found just about anywhere you look. However, this clearly Asian styled temple that looks like it was transplanted from a world half away certainly is unique amongst Hawaii landmarks. Built in order to honor the first Japanese immigrants to the state, the temple provides a place for people of all faiths to come and worship amongst the reflecting ponds and gardens that are not only popular with tourists, but also the resident peacocks that are a highlight for guests to the area.