Hawaii State Parks Activities
Camping is what Hawaii is all about! Head on over to Waianapanapa State Park where you can sit outside your tent and take in a breathtaking view of the idyllic coastline and deep blue waters of the North Pacific Ocean. The park also offers cabins for rent to those who want a more modern camping experience.
The pristine and secluded beaches of Polihale State Park in Kauai draw campers from all over the world. It has incredible views of the Nāpali Coast and visitors can fall asleep at night to the peaceful sound of crashing waves.
On the other hand, those who prefer to camp in lush forests under canopies of towering trees will love the sites found at Kalopa State Recreation Area. The park is situated on the slopes of Mauna Kea and its captivating native forest offers an unforgettable camping experience.
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Koke’e State Park in Hanapepe is a hiker’s paradise, boasting seven major nature trails! The Alakai Swamp Trail is a crowd favorite, taking hikers to the Alaka’i Swamp, the world’s highest rainforest and swampland. At the end of the route, an outlook offers a stunning view of Kilohana.
The Awa’awapuhi Trail is also a beautiful hike with great views of the world-renowned Na Pali Coast. At 6 miles long and featuring plenty of steep terrain, this hiking trail is rather challenging and perfect for hikers with more experience.
Hikers who prefer an easier trail should check out the Kawaikoi Stream Loop, a route approximately 3-miles long that is considered to be the most scenic mountain stream-side trail in the state. The route loops around the Kawaikoi Stream and is popular with visiting families and younger adults.
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Those looking for a backpacking adventure will find the trails that wind their way all throughout Hawaii to their liking. In particular, the 9-mile Sliding Sands Trail at Haleakala National Park is extremely popular with backpackers who desire a straightforward hike that isn’t too strenuous or long. The trail culminates in the interior of the Haleakala crater, the world’s largest dormant volcano. The terrain here is so bleak that it was used as a training ground for NASA astronauts to prepare for their moon landings during the 1960s. Definitely, an adventure to remember!
Images From Hawaii State Parks
Well-kept hunting areas can be found at Koke’e State Park where hunters will have the opportunity to pursue elusive wild pigs.
If you’re looking to explore the beauty of Hawaii while on water, then Polihale State Park is the destination for you! Visitors can kayak alongside the soaring Napali coastline cliffs and one can even take on the 20-mile paddling route between the park and Heana Beach Park. Take note, though! This route often features very choppy waves so be sure to prepare yourself beforehand.
There are plenty of great fishing holes in Hawaii, one of the best ones being Koke’e State Park. Here, families love to fish for rainbow trout in the park’s crystal-clear streams and one can even try their hand at fly-fishing. At the end of the day, grill your catch – or catches – over campfires found in the park’s camping sites as you take in the glow of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset.
At Wailoa River State Park, the Waiakea Pond is a prime fishing spot. The freshwater 25-acre pond offers anglers the opportunity to catch mullets, uluas, and aholeholes. Be advised, however, that catches are limited only to 20 fish.
Day Use Areas
Great picnic spots in Hawaii are easy to come by! The day-use areas found at Iao Valley State Park in Maui are extremely popular with visitors who wish to take their meals in the Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens, which commemorates the island’s multicultural history with architecture representing American, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, and Korean cultures. This is definitely one of the best picnics that you’ll ever go on!
The sprawling sites at Waimea Falls Park is also a family-favorite with many preferring to eat their food by the cascading Waimea Falls. Watch out for the occasional peacock that might wander through as you take your picnic!
Pala’au State Park with its scenic views of Kalaupapa and the surrounding giant cliffs are also an incredible picnic destination. Despite being described by Robert Louis Stevenson as a “prison fortified by nature,” the subtle yet awe-inspiring beauty of this park can’t be found anywhere else.
The singletrack mountain bike trail found at Kalopa State Park is perfect for intermediate and advanced bikers with its exhausting climbs and hair-raising descents. The trail does feature several natural challenges, such as fallen trees and slippery mud, however, the exhilaration that it offers is unmatched.
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The landscapes of Hawaii have been shaped by the state’s volcanic past, making it a unique and memorable Bird-watching destination. One of the best Birding hotspots here is Haleakala National Park where birds native to the state like the Hawaiian Goose and the Maui Alauahio can be observed.
The 500-square-mile Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is another hotspot with possible sightings of the Black Noddy and the Pacific Golden-Plover. The park is known for the thousands of bird species. With the right pair of binoculars for birding, watching the birds in their lush and diverse habitats is an amazing experience.
Additionally, Koke’e State Park is considered to be the best and the most beautiful Birding destination in Hawaii. The many nature trails found inside the park are great for spotting the Hawaiian Duck, and more.
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The Oheo Gulch within Haleakala National Park is quite possibly the best swimming hole in Hawaii. The stunning stream-fed pools – which many refer to as the “Seven Sacred Pools” – are perfect for beating the day’s scorching heat!
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
If you’re looking to go rock climbing in Hawaii, then there’s no better place to do it than in Waimea Canyon State Park, which features plenty of massive canyons that are perfect for challenging yourself.
Fans of off-road vehicles will love the spine-tingling BMX and RC tracks found at Sand Island State Park. These trails are extremely challenging and will undoubtedly mean a whole day of fun!
Trails can also be found at the Pa’ani Ranch in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where visitors can choose to avail of guided ATV tours. At $120, this excursion may be rather expensive but the experience of riding through rolling hills, spacious pastures, and more is worth it.
The 220-acre cattle ranch, Pa’ani Ranch, at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers plenty of family-friendly activities, including a horseback riding guided tour. There’s no better way to explore the park’s amazing nature landscapes and terrain!
If you’re looking for a different sort of adventure, be sure to check out Kaumana Caves State Park, located in Hilo in the northeastern part of Hawaii. Here, visitors can descend into a lava tube that was created by an 1881 flow from Mauna Loa. Now, that’s a caving experience to brag about!
At Koke’e State Park, be sure to visit the Hui o Laka Natural History Museum with its fascinating exhibits on the state’s rich and diverse nature. If you’re interested in learning about Kauai’s geology, ecology, and climatology, then this is a great place to visit.
Hawaii also has plenty of historical parks perfect for those who want to learn more about the island’s incredible history. At Lapakahi State Historical Park, visitors can explore traditional Hawaiian culture through the partially restored remains of ancient Hawaiian coastal settlements.
The museum found at Haleakala National Park is also a must-visit, with its huge collections on the state’s natural history, cultural resources, and archives. There is plenty of beautiful artwork, an exhibit on insects found within the island of Maui, historical artifacts, and more.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The top diving spot in Hawaii is Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park where divers can swim among beautiful coral reefs and schools of tropical fish. Keep an eye out for spinner dolphins who are known for curiously checking out those swimming in their home!
When we talk about surfing in the United States, Hawaii is one of the first places that comes to mind – and rightly so! There are plenty of surfing hotspots within the island, making it the go-to destination for surfers from all over the country.
At Launiupoko State Wayside Park, located south of Lahaina, surfing newbies can test out their skills on the easy reef waves found here. On the other hand, more experienced surfers can head over to Honolii Beach Park with its consistent waves that are made for honing your skills.
Another incredible surf spot in Hawaii is Thousand Peaks at Ukumehame Beach Park, a thrilling stretch of surf break with numerous peaks that are perfect for advanced surfers. This spot is so challenging that newbies are encouraged to refrain from paddling out if unaccompanied by a guide!