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

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.

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.


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,

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,

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,