Hawaii State Parks

Visiting At Least One Of The Hawaii State Parks Should Be Top Of Your List Of, "What To Do In Hawaii"

The State Parks in Hawaii must surely rank as some of the most stunning places in the whole of the United States.

The incredible geology of these volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, together with their plant and wildlife, has created a "Garden of Eden" where visitors can enjoy sights that can be seen nowhere else in America.

There are eight main islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago but there are dozens of others, many of which are little more than rocks or islets.

These islands rise steeply from the sea bed and are, in fact, the tops of gigantic mountains some taller than Everest.

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Hawaii State Parks

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The Sun Goes Down Over A Beautiful Hawaiian Beach

For example, Mauna Kea on "The Big Island" stands 13,796 feet above sea level. However, if it were measured from its base on the ocean floor it would be 33,500 feet tall.

Situated some 2,000 miles south west of the mainland Hawaii was the last of the fifty states to join the Union which it did on August 21st 1959.

The history of the islands prior to that date is interesting and very colorful. The islands were populated by people originally from Polynesia who had a society dominated by a chieftain system.

Some of these chiefs simply reigned over their own settlement while others fought wars to increase their authority over a whole island.

The first European contact with Hawaii was made in 1778 when the British Naval Captain, James Cook reached the islands.

He named them the Sandwich Islands in honor of his sponsor John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich.

The British connection still lives on to this day as the British Union flag is depicted in a corner of the state flag of Hawaii.

The Hawaiian State Flag

Captain Cook made two visits to the Hawaiian Islands. On his second visit in 1779 a quarrel with Chief Kalani`opu`u and his followers led to Cook and four Marines being killed.

Later, after Cook`s journals were published, more traders and explorers visited the islands. Unfortunately they brought with them diseases to which the islanders had no natural defences. Influenza, smallpox and especially measles killed large numbers of the native people and the population on the islands plunged dramatically.

Toward the end of the 18th century the various chiefs and their followers fought a series of battles. This eventually led to all the inhabited islands coming under the control of a single all-powerful chief. This was King Kamehameha The Great. He and his heirs were to rule the islands until 1872.

Some years later one of his descendants died childless and without naming an heir. This led to a great deal of uncertainty followed by violent riots. Eventually, against the wishes of the majority of the islanders, the islands were annexed by the United States. They then became known as the Territory of Hawaii until they were made a state in 1959.

The Iolani Palace In Honolulu, Once Home To The Monarchs Of Hawaii

The fact that the Hawaiian Islands were onced ruled by a monarchy makes them unique among the fifty states. Examples of this royal rule can still be seen around the islands to this day, the Iolani Palace in Honolulu is perhaps the best known of these.

A number of the Hawaii State Parks are located around sites of significant cultural importance to the native peoples. Wailua River State Park, on the island of Kauai, is an important place of worship and a site of royal births.

Areas for Hawaii State Parks have also been selected because of their incredible beauty. Akaka Falls State Park has a wonderful waterfall 422 feet in height. Kokee State Park was chosen for its superb trails through forests where gaudy local birds are in abundance. The Na Pali Coast State Park features massive cliffs some of which are as high as 4,000 feet above the sea below.

The Towering Cliffs Of The Na Pali Coast State Park

Of course, what the islands are best known for are the palm tree lined beaches. Naturally these feature in the Hawaii State Parks and they include Ha`ena State Park, Polihale State Park and Makena State Park.

There are sixteen Hawaii State Parks spread over five of the eight main islands. There are also thirteen recreation areas, ten state monuments, eight state waysides and seven other areas which are all controlled by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Here is their website if you would like to contact them with any questions.

Here is a list of all the Hawaii State Parks with the island on which they are located -
  • Na Pali Coast State Park (Kauai)
  • Pala`au State Park (Molokai)
  • Polihale State Park (Kauai)
  • Sacred Falls State Park (Oahu)
  • Wai`anapanapa State Park (Maui)
  • Wailua River State Park (Kauai)
  • Wailuku River State Park (Hawaii)
  • Waimea Canyon State Park (Kauai)