A Little Bit of HistorySee all 101 Things To Do on the Big Island!

Relive Mission History

Nearly 180 years ago, a New England missionary couple in their early 20’s arrived in Hilo. It was here that they spent the next 50 years of their lives. Today, the LYMAN MISSION HOUSE is the oldest wood-frame building on Hawai‘i Island. Built in 1839 by David and Sarah Lyman, the house is constructed partly… Continue »

Discover King Kamehameha Country

While South Kohala attracts most tourists, just 11 miles upslope is a land developers forgot. NORTH KOHALA is lush and green, sparsely populated and unpretentious; it is South Kohala’s country cousin—a breath of fresh mountain air in a landscape barely touched by contemporary influences. The region’s neighboring hamlets of KAPA‘AU and HAWI, comprising the most-densely… Continue »

Scout Out an 18th-Century War Temple

Two centuries ago, Hawaiian rulers worshipped a powerful war god named Ku. King Kamehameha the Great, who fought numerous battles to unify all the Hawaiian Islands, sought Ku’s support by building a massive stone temple 400 feet above KAWAIHAE HARBOR in North Kohala. Construction of the 20-foot-high LAVA ROCK TEMPLE, or heiau, began in 1790… Continue »

Explore an Ahupua‘a

Early Hawaiians used a system of land management that was defined by wedge-shaped divisions that stretched from the uplands to the ocean. Called AHUPUA‘A, these land divisions were environmentally sound and fostered good stewardship practices among the occupants of each division. One of the best ways to grasp ahupua‘a land management is to visit LAPAKAHI… Continue »

Take a Road Trip to Hip Hawi

The hip little enclave of HAWI is only about an hour drive north of Kailua-Kona, but this UPCOUNTRY HAMLET (with a population slightly more than 900) is worlds apart from its neighboring city. A major piece of Hawai‘i’s HISTORY is tied to this tiny village. Hawi is the BIRTHPLACE OF KING KAMEHAMEHA I, the great… Continue »

Visit a Vintage Palace

HULIHE‘E PALACE, located on Ali‘i Drive in the heart of Kailua-Kona, is a VINTAGE PALACE that once served as the vacation residence for Hawaiian royalty. Today, the palace is a MUSEUM AND SHOWPLACE for fascinating Hawaiian artifacts and beautiful furniture. Gov. John Adams Kuakini built the palace in 1838 for his daughter-in-law, Princess Ruth. The… Continue »

Stroll a School House Gallery

The ISAACS ART CENTER is a good place to get out of the sun and get a feel for authentic HAWAIIAN ARTISTRY. The gallery is affiliated with the Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, a boarding and day school that was established in 1949. Isaacs Art Center contains a large permanent collection of PAINTINGS, FURNITURE, RARE BOOKS AND… Continue »

Absorb the Spirit of Hula

In its authentic form, HULA is the most powerful expression of indigenous Hawaiian culture that exists. The chants and dance comprise an oral history of Hawai‘i’s native people, passed down from a kumu hula (teacher) to each generation. The MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL is the premier showcasing of this ancient artform in all its splendor. The… Continue »

Get an ʻUkulele

Inspired by Eddie Vedder’s ‘Ukulele Songs? Think you could be the next Jake Shimabukuro? Or just want to be able to strum along to songs such as “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” by Jack Johnson or Iz’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow?” Check out local MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SHOPS in Hilo or Kailua-Kona to try strumming the… Continue »

Listen In on Slack Key

If you want to absorb the history and culture of Hawai‘i, head to a nearby SLACK KEY GUITAR performance, a musical style unique to these islands. In the 1800s, PANIOLO (Hawaiian cowboys) learned roping from Mexican cowboys brought to the island by King Kamehameha III. These mainland wranglers also brought with them their style of… Continue »