10 of the Best (and Most Offbeat) Attractions in Hawaii
Hawaii has much more to offer than just stunning landscapes and pristine beaches. The personality of the islands and its inhabitants can truly be seen through the state’s more offbeat attractions. From enormous fruit mazes, to cat sanctuaries, to festivals dedicated entirely to spam, you’re sure to find something fascinating. Here are the 10 best and most offbeat attractions in Hawaii.
It’s very likely you’ve heard of the company Dole. But we’re sure not many know that the Dole plantation in Wahiawa, Hawaii, boasts one of the largest mazes in the whole world! No small feat. Their “Pineapple Garden Maze” was honored with that title back in 2008. The maze was created from over 14,000 native Hawaiian plants. There is a mystery at the heart of the labyrinth that can only be solved through hidden clues throughout the maze. Those who finish in record time win a prize. This is a wonderfully unique attraction found nowhere else in the world!
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What could be better than a feline haven in the middle of the breathtaking Hawaiian natural landscape? The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a three-acre refuge in Lanai City that relies largely on donations from visitors. There is no entrance fee so make sure to leave a donation to help fund this wonderful sanctuary that is home to more than 500 spayed and adoptable cats of all ages and backgrounds.
This is the place to make those childhood dreams of sleeping amongst the stars, high up in the trees, a reality. This treehouse is less than five minutes from the entrance to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! It is available for bookings on Airbnb. This will be the stay of your dreams, very special and entirely unique.
4. Raelian UFO Peace Park, Pahoa, HI
This is the ultimate bizarre location for your Hawaii trip. Raelian is a UFO religion founded in 1974 that believes life Earth was created by a species of extraterrestrials. The park is filled with statues representative of the Raelian religion. This was originally built as a “proposed embassy” but no embassy was ever constructed due to controversy surrounding the use of the Raelians official emblem which closely resembled a swastika. The park is not actively owned and operated by any Raelian members and is a very interesting place to visit due to its bizarre nature.
Parker Ranch is a part of Waimea history and the two historic homes on the property known as “Puuopelu and Mana Hale” are open to visitors. John Palmer Parker was the founder of the Parker Ranch. The homes house historic and unique family heirlooms, works of art, and other relics. It’s very rare that visitors are allowed access to the intimate workings into the lives of a six-generation family. The homes are open Monday through Friday form 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design was originally built as a home for American heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke and became a museum open to the public in 2002. Shangri La was inspired by Duke’s travels around the globe and interest in Islamic and Middle Eastern art, architecture, and culture. There really is no place quite like it.
This 12-foot statue of the founder of Buddhism lives at the Lahaina Jodo Mission. The Lahaina Jodo Mission is an “independent school of Pure Land Buddhism” founded in Japan and with numerous locations in Hawaii. There is a wonderful temple and even a courtyard that allows visitors free of charge. This is a great activity for those in need of some peace and relaxation.
The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is all about the “sweet” history of the sugarcane industry in Hawaii. The actual museum is in the former mill manager’s house and in addition to being a tourist destination, the Alexander & Baldwin company is still in business! There are some interesting outdoor exhibits which display restored and authentic locomotives used by sugar plantations such as this one. This is the ideal “unusual” attraction for those who love sugar and those who love trains.
Plenty of people mail bizarre things for bizarre reasons. While mailing a coconut might initially seem unusual, the Hoolehua Post Office has a great reason for their “Post-a-Nut” program. This teeny tiny post office sends out more than 3,000 coconuts per year to places near and far! Residents and visitors mail coconuts to loved ones to share a little bit of Hawaii, their stay there, or even their love for the islands.
This is the ultimate food festival for those daring enough and excited by the prospect of trying out new types of food. The annual Waikiki Spam Jam is a cultural tradition in Hawaii. The entire street is closed for the duration of the event. There are three entertainment stages with live music and performances. The theme of the food festival is SPAM. Restaurants all along the street serve up creative dishes that incorporate the canned cooked meat and merchandise is sold celebrating the beloved food!