Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park on Hawaii’s Big Island

A cultural treasure sits just five miles south of Kona International Airport — Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park. Though the setting is beautiful and worth the visit on it’s beauty alone, there’s also much to learn about early Hawaiian life and culture.

Stop at the visitors center located just off Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Highway 19) to get an overview of the park and guidance from one of the park rangers. From there, you can hike about a mile or drive down towards the ocean area where a thriving Hawaiian community once stood.

The hike from the visitors center goes through a black lava field and is without shade. We opted for the easier option which is to drive onto Highway 19 heading south, turning at Kealakehe Parkway and keeping right at the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor to the park’s entrance from the harbor. From there, it’s just a 0.2 mile walk to the ocean area.

One of the first structures you will see is the thatched-roof canoe house.

Canoe house

The other, above ground structure that you’ll see is the stacked-stone heiau, which is an ancient Hawaiian temple. There are even some in water structures – the remnants of a fishtrap and two fishponds.

Pu’uoina Heiau

Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) like this national park waters where they feed. We could see them in the water. They also come onto the beach to rest. If you see turtles, be sure to give them at least 10 feet of space.

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is a great place to see birds. We enjoyed watching a kolea (in the photo below) at the waters edge.

Kolea (Pacific Golden Plover)

We also loved hearing a chorus of bird songs. We took a short (21 second) video along a pathway just to capture the lovely sounds.

In addition to the ancient Hawaiian settlement site by the ocean, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park offers several cultural programs, such as free ukulele and hula lessons. Check their calendar for upcoming cultural lessons and events.

Please enjoy our video overview of this national park with lovely beach and shoreline scenes:

Some things to know before you go:

  • Check the park’s website for basic visitor information. Be sure and note visitor hours.
  • The park is free to visit.
  • Wear sun protection and bring water.
  • Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is a wonderful park to visit. Though this park gives some insights into ancient Hawaiian life, Pu’uhonau O Honaunau National Historical Park, which is south of Kona, provides a more in depth look into what life was like on the islands hundreds of years ago.
  • See more of our photos here.

Have you been to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park? How was your visit?

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