No Hawaiian Trip Is Complete Without Volcanoes, Rainforests, and Gardens

Temples and palaces, waterfalls and jungles: Hawaii is full of them, and you need to see them.


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Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Seeking more obvious yet still amazing, options? Consider adding these to your classic island itinerary.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Extending in head-spinningly diverse part-jungle, part-moonscape glory around its main attractions — the active Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes — this 323,000-acre Big Island ultrapark was largely closed to the public last year due to volcanic activity and toxic ash, but now most of it has been reopened.

808-985-6000, NPS.gov/havo/index.htm.

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

Nestled in a verdant Oahu valley, used as a location for the TV series Lost, this lovingly configured 20th-century replica of an actual 11th-century Japanese Buddhist temple is flanked by gorgeously landscaped gardens and grounds featuring ponds, waterfalls, wildlife — including peacocks — and a picturesque cemetery.

47-200 Kahekili Highway, Kaneohe, 808-725-2798, Byodo-In.com.

Hawaii Tropical Botanic Garden

In a rainforest spanning a dramatic valley that opens onto the Big Island’s wild Onomea Bay, this 17-acre spectacle is a nonprofit undertaking planted thickly with hot-weather flowers, trees, ferns, and more. Strolling amid its many ponds and waterfalls under leafy overhead canopies feels like being lost in time.

27-717 Mamalahoa Highway, Papaikou, 808-964-5233, HTBG.com.

Iolani Palace

The only royal palace on U.S. soil, this splendid structure with its bold façade, clocktower, and colonnades replaced a traditional Hawaiian greathouse where King Kamehameha III dwelt in 1845. Commissioned by Kamehameha V and completed in 1882, it blends Italianate and Hawaiian features. Visitors can tour its throne room, grand hall, and more.

364 S. King St., Honolulu, 808-522-0822, IolaniPalace.org.

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