park served as a safe haven in times of war and was also a place of cleansing for kapu breakers. Wooden images of Hawaiian native gods (ki‘i), temples and heiau on the sacred grounds of the beautiful and serene beachfront sanctuary make this a must-see historical park. Because ancient Hawaiians believed that if the spirit was not fed then it would drift away, kähuna and others left food offerings in the temple. Today with the revival of Hawaiian customs, you may see offerings of food on the tower (lele) at Hale O Keawe. Picnic tables, fascinating tidepools, sandy sunbathing area and a popular snorkel spot, Two-step, are also nearby. Four miles south of Kealakekua Bay on Rte 160. Open daily 7am to sunset. Admission is $3-$5. Call (808) 328-2288.
LAPAKAHI STATE HISTORICAL PARK
Travel back in time and walk the self-guided tour through the ruins of an ancient fishing village. Displays show early Hawaiian life of fishing, salt gathering, legends games and shelter. Located off Route 270. Open daily 8-4. Free. (808) 882-6207.
PUAKŌ PETROGLYPHS FIELD
View hundreds of ancient Hawaiian art form with warriors, surfers, outriggers and numerous themes. Nearby is Malama Petroglyph Trail. Located off the trail of Mauna Lani Resort off North Kaniku Dr.
Built by King Kamehameha to honor his family war god, Kü and to fulfill the prophecy of uniting the Hawaiian Islands. Located off Hwy 270 in Kawaihae. Open daily 7:30-4. Free. Call (808) 882-7218.
EAST HAWAI‘I ‘AKAKA FALLS STATE PARK
Includes ‘Akaka Falls, a 442-ft. waterfall that flows spectacularly over a deep gorge into a pool. Kahüna Falls is visible from the loop trail through the park. Located four miles inland north of Hilo, off Hwy 19. Open daily 7-7. Free. (808) 974-6200. myhawaiitraveler.com
Celebrities planted banyan trees along this drive beginning in 1933 when hotels were just being built. Famous people include Babe Ruth, Cecil B. DeMille, President Nixon, President Roosevelt and King George V. Located on Banyan Drive in Hilo.
HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
It is best to see the spectacular show of red-hot lava flowing into the sea close to sunset off Chain of Craters Road. Also, you can drive the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive past lava fields, steaming craters and forests. Walk through Thurston Lava Tube, a natural tunnel formed when the top and sides of a lava flow hardened and the lava inside drained away. Bring water, flashlight and a sweater. Stop by the visitor’s center for more information and safety. Call (808) 985-6000.
accounts from the tsunami survivors. Located at 130 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo. Open Mon-Sat 9-4. Call (808)935-0926.
PANA‘EWA RAINFOREST ZOO
This is the only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the U.S. This 12-acre zoo is home to more than 80 animal species including Namaste’, a white Bengal Tiger. You are invited to picnic in the shade of over 100 varieties of Palm and stroll with Peacocks in the extensive collection of Orchids, Clumping Bamboos and Tropical Rhododendrons. Petting Zoo is open every Saturday 1:30-2:30 p.m. Tiger feeding is 3:30 daily. Open daily 9-4 p.m. except Christmas and New Year’s Day. Free. Located on Mamaki St. off Hwy 11. Call (808)9599233.
HILO FARMERS MARKET
The best time to catch a rainbow in the mist of these falls is morning. The falls plummet into Wailuku River gorge. Check out Boiling Pots created by the powerful water over ancient lava beds. Located off Route 200, up Waiänuenue Ave.
MOKUPAPAPA: DISCOVERY CENTER
Valley of the Kings can also be considered earth’s Garden of Eden with breathtaking vistas bounded by 2,000 feet cliffs, spectacular Hi‘ilawe Falls plummets 1,200 feet from Kohala Mountain to the bottom of the valley, fruit trees, taro fields, streams and a crescent black sand beach popular with surfers. The steep and narrow road down the valley requires a four-wheel drive. The one-mile hike can be difficult especially on the climb back to civilization. Commercial transportation permits are limited to four outfits to maintain the pristine environment of one of the state’s most isolated places. Tours are unavailable on Sundays. Waipi‘o Valley Lookout offers breathtaking views without breaking a sweat. Located off Hwy 240 ~8 miles northwest of Honoka‘a.
One of the state’s best farmers markets with more than 120 vendors selling flowers, fresh produce and baked goods. Located on the corner of Kamehameha Ave. and Mamo St. Open Wed. and Sat. from Sunrise to 4 p.m. This is an educational center on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, the largest conservation area in the United States. Funded by NOAA, the center has numerous interactive displays, a 2,500-gallon saltwater aquarium and vibrant pictures and video footage of the wildlife in the reserve. Located at 308 Kamehameha Ave. in Downtown Hilo. Open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on all Federal Holidays. Free Admission! Call (808)933-8195 or visit hawaiireef.gov.noaa/center.
PACIFIC TSUNAMI MUSEUM
Learn about the destructive tsunamis and the details of the 1946 and 1960 that devastated Hilo through photographs, interactive displays and personal