What You Need To Know About These 18 Popular Visitor Attractions in Hawaiʻi
Find out which ones are open, still closed or have new safety measures in place.
On Oct. 15, Hawaiʻi reopened to travel—but that doesn’t mean all your favorite attractions will be open, too.
Here’s our list of 18—we know there are more!—of the top visitor attractions, from state parks to museums, across all islands, and how—or if—you’ll be able to visit them.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park, Hawaiʻi Island
This state-run park, known for an easy hiking trail to two waterfalls located 16 miles north of Hilo, reopened on Oct. 4. The gate to the parking lot is closed, but visitors can walk to the trail to see the stunning 442-foot ʻAkaka Falls. The trail is one-way only and hikers must practice social distancing.
End of ʻAkaka Falls Road (Highway 220), Honomū, dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/hawaii/akaka-falls-state-park
Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm, Maui
The 13.5-acre farm in Upcountry Maui, with about 55,000 lavendar plants, closed on Oct. 1 until further notice. Its online shop—with lavendar-scented hand soaps and lotions, lavender honey, even lavender-flavored coffee—is open.
Allerton Gardens, Kauaʻi
Both private and public guided tours are still ongoing. Face coverings are required around all garden facilities and when interacting with staff, visitors must comply with posted safety signs and social distancing guidelines must be maintained. You can find the garden’s safety precautions and rules here.
Private tours are available daily by appointment. Public tours are conducted on Wednesdays or by appointment. Public tours start at 10 a.m., while private tour times can vary. 4425 Lāwaʻi Road, Lāwai, (808) 742-2623, ntbg.org/gardens/allerton, @ntbg
Bishop Museum, Oʻahu
This museum, founded in 1889 and holds the world’s largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and natural history specimens, is open but with restrictions. Visitors older than 5 will have their temperature checked at the entrance and must wear masks that cover both the nose and mouth. (Bandannas, shields without masks, gaiters and masks with valves will not be allowed.) The number of visitors will be limited to 500 people at a time on the campus. Tickets can be purchased online for two time slots: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Diamond Head State Monument, Oʻahu
The trail leading up Lēʻahi (aka Diamond Head), one of the most iconic landmarks in Hawaiʻi, remains closed. There is no scheduled reopening date.
Entrance is off Diamond Head Road between Makapuʻu and 18th avenues, outside of Waikīkī, (808) 587-0300, dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument
Hāʻena State Park, Kauaʻi
The park, as well as the Kalalau Trail, are both open to the public for day use only. Currently, all campgrounds on the Island of Kauaʻi are closed until further notice. All visitors of the park are subject to COVID-19 restrictions and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. To check on the status of the park, visit its website here.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., park reservations are required and can be made in advance at gohaena.com. Hāʻena State Park, Hāʻena, (808) 274-3444
Haleakalā National Park, Maui
Much of this national park, which spans more than 30,000 acres punctuated by the 10,023-foot Haleakalā Crater, is open. The crater hiking trails and wilderness areas—including Keaneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) and Halemauʻu trails—are open for day use. The Kīpahuku and Summit districts of the park are also open for day-use only, and all of the trails at the summit—Hosmer Grove Trail, Leleiwi Overlook Trail, Pā Kaʻoao (White Hill) Trail—are open. Visitors can make reservations to view the sunrise online here up to seven days in advance. But some parts of the park remain closed, including visitor centers, campgrounds, the Pools of ʻOʻheo and backcountry cabins. You can take a virtual tour of the Haleakalā Visitor Center and its exhibits here.
End of Haleakalā Highway (Highway 378), Kula, (808) 572-4400, nps.gov/hale/index.htm
Hanauma Bay, Oʻahu
One of the most popular snorkeling spots in Hawaiʻi, Hanauma Bay has been closed to the public since March due to COVID-19. (Visitors are required to watch an educational video before entering the park, and there’s no way to manage proper social distancing.) There is no scheduled reopening date. The closure of the protected bay has had one very positive side effect: The lack of visitors has meant larger fish, more monk seal activity and clearer waters. (Read more here.)
Off Kalanianaʻole Highway, Hawaiʻi Kai, (808) 768-6861, honolulu.gov/parks-hbay/home.html
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaiʻi Island
Most of this 333,308-acre national park is open, including overnight camping in the backcountry. However, there are areas that remain closed: Kīlauea Visitor Center; Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube); and all Volcano House services, including Nāmakanipaio Campground. The Kahuku Unit is only open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. All ranger-guided hikes and programs are still suspended.
End of Māmalahoa Highway, 30 miles west of Hilo, (808) 985-6000, nps.gov/havo/index.htm
Honolulu Zoo, Oʻahu
This popular Waikīkī attraction reopened in September with new rules: anyone older than 5 must wear masks, groups should be five people or fewer, and visitors must follow directional arrows throughout the zoo. The Keiki Zoo and Manyara Bird Sanctuary are closed and the playground and water fountains are off-limits. The concession stand is open for takeout only. Find out more here.
ʻĪao Valley, Maui
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, ʻĪao Valley and its half-mile paved walking path are closed to the public. If you want to experience the valley second-hand, check out our associate editor’s journey up, down and around the serene area. For more updates and information on ʻĪao Valley, be sure to keep an eye on the DLNR’s website.
ʻĪao Valley, West Maui, (808) 587-0300, dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/maui/iao-valley-state-monument
ʻIolani Palace, Oʻahu
Audio and docent-led tours of the historic ʻIolani Palace resumed operation on Sept. 24, 2020. Tours must be booked in advance online, temperature checks will be conducted prior to ticket pickup at Hale Koa, face masks are required in the palace as well as Hale Koa and less groups and individuals will be allowed in ʻIolani Palace to promote social distancing.
Docent-led tours are available on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., self-led audio tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., make your reservations here. 364 S King St., Honolulu, (808) 522-0822, iolanipalace.org, @iolanipalacehi
Kona Historical Society, Hawaiʻi Island
All physical sites are currently closed to the public until further notice. However, the Kona Historical Society does offer a wide variety of virtual programs, from looks into its archives to keiki-friendly storytime sessions, all on its website.
Maui Ocean Center, Maui
The Maui Ocean Center is currently closed to the public and does not yet have a set reopening date. Visitors can find information and updates on the Maui Ocean Center at its website. You can also find a live camera feed of one of the aquarium’s many exhibits here.
Polynesian Cultural Center, Oʻahu
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The Polynesian Cultural Center—and its six distinct island villages—are currently closed as the non-profit works on instituting COVID-19 specific safety measures. The center will also feature new village gardens, a crystal clear lagoon and upgraded ADA compliant walkways upon its reopening, which has not yet been given a date. Find out more about the Polynesian Cultural Center’s closure here.
The USS Arizona Memorial, Oʻahu
On Sept. 28, 2020, the National Park Service resumed access to the USS Arizona Memorial. All visitors will be required to wear masks during the transit to, and from, the USS Arizona Memorial, and tours will be limited to a maximum of 50 people per vessel to promote social distancing. Other Pearl Harbor attractions, such as the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum will remain closed to the public until further notice. Find updates on Pearl Harbor’s reopening here.
Waikīkī Aquarium, Oʻahu
This oceanfront aquarium in Waikīkī is open to visitors, but tickets must be purchased online before arriving and there’s a maximum of 50 allowed in the aquarium at once. All visitors older than 2 must wear face masks and touch screens and informational kiosks have been turned off.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauaʻi
Described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauaʻi’s west side is open for day hiking. The popular lookout, where you can see this geological wonder, which stretches 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, is open. The trails in nearby Kōkeʻe State Park are also open for day hiking, too. Check the state’s website for updates.
Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, (808) 274-3444, dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/kauai/waimea-canyon-state-park