Hawaii - Landmarks and Points of Interest

Hawaii - Landmarks and Points of Interest

smithsonian.com

Hawaii sits on a geological hot spot, and many of the volcanoes that helped create the archipelago are still active. Mauna Loa, on the Big Island, is the Earth’s largest volcano, rising two and a half miles above sea level. It is also one of the most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since records began in 1843. The most recent eruption was in 1984. Nearby Kilauea, believed to be the home of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele, is even more active—it has erupted continuously since 1983. Both volcanoes are part of Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, which is also a U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage Site. The park covers about 360 square miles and features both the Kau Desert, an arid section formed by lava, and tropical rain forests that shelter many species of birds.

Hawaii is best known for its beaches, with their powdery white sand and calm turquoise water or curling waves. Surfing was invented by the islands’ earliest settlers, and it was popular among both men and women until 19th-century Christian missionaries deemed the sport sinful and banned it. In the last century, however, surfing became popular again, and tourists and locals hang ten at beaches throughout the islands, including Oahu’s famous Waikiki Beach.

Once only known to the locals, Blue Pool has become a popular attraction on Maui. (Courtesy of Ron Dahlquis/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Wooden carved images of gods, called ki'i, stand watch over the temple Hale O Keawe in Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. Dating from 1650, the temple houses the bones of at least 23 deified chiefs and kings. (Courtesy of the Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Plumeria flowers are often used for leis, a garland placed around the neck as a symbol of hospitality and affection. (Courtesy of Joe Solem/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Traditional canoe sheds, or hale wa‘a, were built close to the water for easy access. (Courtesy of the Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Allegedly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain, Waimea Canyon in Kauai is 3,500 feet deep. (Courtesy of Ron Dahlquis/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
In Hawaii, the sea turtle, or honu, is symbolic of longevity and good luck. (Courtesy of Ron Dahlquis/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Hakalau National Forest protects a diversity of native plants and birds, many of which are endangered. (Courtesy of the Big Island Visitors Bureau)
The hula was originally a religious dance performed to promote fertility, honor the gods, or provide praise to chiefs. (Courtesy of Sri Maiava Rusden/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Allegedly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain, Waimea Canyon in Kauai is 3,500 feet deep. (Courtesy of Ron Dahlquis/Big Island Visitors Bureau)
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