Historic Sites

nā wahi pana o kaua‘i – Historic Sites on Kaua‘i

Map of numbers
Map of numbers for the descriptions below
See for yourself!
Kaua‘i is alive with history. Below are just a few sites to explore during a visit. Get a glimpse of what these places were like then and now!
Nu‘alolo Kai Nu‘alolo Kai 1. Nu‘alolo Kai
As early as 1300 A.D, ancient Hawaiians lived in Nu‘alolo Kai. In hanging valleys and near shorelines, they grew their staple crop, kalo, or taro, along with sweet potato, breadfruit and other plants they brought with them in their voyaging canoes to use for food, clothing, shelter and medicine.
Wai‘oli Mission House Wai‘oli Mission Church 2. Wai‘oli Mission District, Hanalei
This area is a National Register Historic District. In 1921, three granddaughters of Hanalei Missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox restored the meeting hall built between 1837 and 1841. The Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Hawaiian Church choir still sing hymns in the Hawaiian language translated by missionaries.
Rice farmer in Hanalei Hanalei Bridge 3. Hanalei
Today, Hanalei Valley is filled with taro. It is and was the main crop of the Hanalei Valley, but once, rice also grew in this wet, fertile area. The Hanalei Bridge, built in 1912, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Seven one-way bridges lie between this entrance to Hanalei and the end of the road at Ke‘e Beach.
Kilauea Lighthouse Kilauea Lighthouse visitors 4. Kilauea Lighthouse
Now a National Wildlife Refuge that’s home to seabirds, the Kilauea Lighthouse once beamed boats safely around the point.
Japanese stone lantern Hee Fat building 5. Kapa‘a History Tour
The Kaua‘i Historical Society holds a 90-minute walking tour led by interpretive guides familiar with the history and architecture of Kapa‘a Town.
Hikina‘akala heiau Hikina‘akala heiau today 6. Heiau of Wailua
Once considered the most sacred region on Kaua‘i, remnants of heiau, or temples, dot the region, starting with Hikinaakala at the Wailua River mouth. Some believe it was a place of refuge. There is debate about this. Other heiau continue up to Wai‘ale‘ale and down to the West Side.
 Living room of Grove Farm Homestead G.N. Wilcox home at Grove Farm Homestead 7. Grove Farm Homestead Museum
Grove Farm Homestead Museum is the restored plantation home and museum of George N. Wilcox, son of missionaries stationed at Hanalei. He was one of the most successful sugar planters on the island and a person of great generosity.
Pu‘uwanawana, a volcanic cone Spouting Horn is a dramatic blowhole 8. Koloa Heritage Trail
Free detailed maps of the Koloa Heritage Trail are available at the airport and activity desks around the island. Stops along the trail include an ancient fishing camp, cinder cones, Spouting Horn and other natural history, history and geology sites of the Koloa/Po‘ipu area.
Hanapepe Theatre Banana Patch Studio, Hanapepe 9. Hanapepe Town
Hanapepe Town, an early business and banking center, retains a western look in its architecture. A swinging bridge, art galleries and a Friday night art walk give it panache.
Waimea Courthouse Jo-Jo's Shave Ice in Waimea 10. Waimea Town and Valley
In ancient times, Waimea was the winter capitol for Hawaiian ali‘i, or royalty. It is the first place in Hawai‘i that the English explorer, Captain James Cook, landed on his voyage in 1778. Touring Waimea, a Kaua‘i Historical Society publication, is the definitive guide for the area.
Koke‘e visitors admire the view Hula dancers at Queen Emma's Koke‘e celebration 11. Koke‘e
Cool forests, canyon views and meadow festivals are favorites in Kaua‘i uplands. Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow takes its name from a hairy, headless giant. No trees grow on the meadow proper, it is said, because the giant’s ghost haunts the grassy clearing, looking for his head! The museum on the meadow interprets the legends, history, natural history, geology, weather and more. Cultural grassroots festivals take place here.