Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahī State Historical Park: Preserving Hawaii’s Rich Cultural Heritage and visit to this historic and scenic park (updated 2023)

Lapakahi State historical Park is located along the pristine Kohala coastline and about 46 miles from Kailua Kona and 22.2 from Waimea town. This ancient Hawaiian coastal village showcases the early lifestyle, architecture of the fishing village and healing center that it represented in this region of the Kohala district.

You will find a variety of places of interest, stone walls, foundations and houses along with gardening terraces and other ruins to explore around the site.

A brief history to Lapakahi State Historical Park

A brief history to Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahi State Historical Park is a captivating site located on the northwestern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The park holds great historical and cultural significance, providing visitors with a glimpse into the rich heritage of the Hawaiian people.

The history of Lapakahi State Historical Park dates back over seven centuries, to a time when Native Hawaiians first settled in the region. It served as a thriving fishing village and a hub for trade and social gatherings. The coastal location offered abundant resources, including fish, seaweed, and shellfish, which sustained the community.

The village of Lapakahi flourished for several centuries, with residents constructing stone walls, houses, and farming terraces. The skillful engineering of these structures allowed for efficient resource management and agriculture in the otherwise rugged and rocky landscape.

However, like many other Hawaiian settlements, Lapakahi faced challenges over time. The arrival of European explorers in the late 18th century brought significant changes to the Hawaiian Islands. Foreign diseases, cultural assimilation, and political shifts impacted the indigenous communities, including Lapakahi.

By the 19th century, the village had been largely abandoned, as inhabitants migrated to other areas seeking new opportunities. Over time, Lapakahi fell into disrepair and was gradually reclaimed by nature, its history fading into obscurity.

Fortunately, recognizing the importance of preserving Hawaii’s cultural heritage, Lapakahi State Historical Park was established in 1978. The park serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Hawaiian people and their connection to the land.

Visiting Lapakahi State Park today

Visiting Lapakahi State Park today

Lapakahi State Historical Park offers a unique opportunity to delve into the past, to learn about the traditions, customs, and lifestyles of the early Hawaiian settlers. It stands as a reminder of the resilience and cultural heritage of the Hawaiian people, inviting visitors to appreciate and honor their history.

Once you find the entrance to the park area, drive down to the parking lot and check the visitor’s center for a small map or you can use the interpretive trail map below.

Today, visitors to Lapakahi State Historical Park can explore the remnants of the ancient village. Walking along the trails, they can see the reconstructed structures, including house sites, fishponds, a fish shrine and agricultural terraces. Interpretive signs provide insights into the daily lives of the Native Hawaiians who once thrived in this coastal community.

Key attractions and historical spots to visit at Lapakahi

Key attractions and historical spots to visit at Lapakahi State Park

Take a self-guided one-mile tour through Lapakahi State Park’s expansive 262-acre grounds.

Along the downhill trail you will witness the restoration of ancient hale (houses) and lava stone walls, gaining insights into life during early Hawaiʻi.

traditional Hawaiian games

At various places you will find traditional Hawaiian games that are marked and delve deeper into the history of the island. Above is the Hawaiian game called Konane which is similar to Checkers.

Along the park’s rocky shoreline, you’ll encounter the Lapakahi Marine Life Conservation District. Although swimming is discouraged, take in the remarkable coastal views.

salt drying basins

There are some salt drying basins called natural kāheka . You will find at many spots that were used for making salt and created in this fashion.

 mockup of a typical home

At the coastline area is a mockup of a typical thatched home that shows the crafting and materials used to make the home and inside peek to the simple interior.

Interior view to this thatched home

Interior view to this thatched home

To beat the heat of the Kohala Coast, plan your visit for the early morning or late afternoon hours.

How to get to Lapakahi State Park

How to get to Lapakahi State Historical Park

Here are the directions to get to the Lapakahi park area

Lapakahi State Park is located on the northwestern coast of the Big Island, near the town of Kawaihae.

Take Highway 270, also known as Akoni Pule Highway, towards the town of Kawaihae.

Continue on Akoni Pule Highway until you reach the clearly marked entrance of Lapakahi State Park. The park is approximately 12 miles north of Kawaihae.

Follow the signs and drive into the park’s designated parking area.

Please note that it is advisable to check for any road closures, construction, or temporary changes in access before your visit. Additionally, consider bringing a map or using GPS navigation to ensure a smooth journey to Lapakahi State Park.

Can you go snorkeling around Lapakahi State Park?

While Lapakahi State Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawaii offers a captivating glimpse into the island’s ancient history and coastal ruins, it’s not typically known as a snorkeling destination. The park primarily focuses on preserving and educating visitors about its archaeological and cultural heritage.

For snorkeling adventures, you may want to explore nearby coastal areas or other popular snorkeling spots on the Big Island. Some excellent snorkeling locations include Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Kahaluu Beach Park, and Two-Step Beach (Honaunau Bay), which offer clear waters, coral reefs, and vibrant marine life for snorkelers to enjoy. Be sure to check local conditions and safety guidelines before embarking on any snorkeling excursions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Details to visiting Lapakahi State Park

Details to visiting Lapakahi State Park

Hours Daily 8:00am – 4:00pmLast entry to the park at 3:30pm
Entrance FeeNone
Trail NameLapakahi Village Interpretive Trail
Park BrochureLapakahi State Historical Park

Inside tips to visiting Lapakahi State Park

Inside tips to visiting Lapakahi State Park

When visiting Lapakahi State Park, here are some inside tips to enhance your experience:

Plan your visit during weekdays and early mornings: Lapakahi State Park tends to be less crowded during weekdays and early mornings, allowing you to explore and enjoy the park’s tranquility at a more leisurely pace.

Wear comfortable footwear: The park features uneven terrain, including rocky surfaces and trails, so it is recommended to wear sturdy and comfortable footwear. This will ensure that you can navigate the park comfortably and safely.

Bring sun protection: The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its abundant sunshine. To protect yourself from the strong rays, remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, breathable clothing.

Carry water and snacks: As there are limited facilities within the park, it’s a good idea to bring your own supply of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your visit.

Take your time to explore: Lapakahi State Park offers a wealth of historical and cultural treasures. Take your time to explore the reconstructed structures, read the interpretive signs, and soak in the ambiance of the ancient village. Don’t rush and allow yourself to fully immerse in the experience.

Respect the park and its artifacts: Lapakahi State Park is a sacred and historical site. Please show respect by not climbing on the stone walls, touching or removing artifacts, or damaging any structures. Help preserve the park for future visitors to enjoy.

Capture memories responsibly: Feel free to take photographs to capture your memories, but ensure you do so responsibly. Avoid touching or moving artifacts for the sake of a photo. Remember, the park’s preservation is of utmost importance.

Check for park updates: Before your visit, it’s a good idea to check for any park updates, closures, or special events. You can do this by visiting the official park website or contacting the park authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Check out these other places to visit in the area

Check out these other places to visit in the area

There’s so much rich cultural sites, hiking and beach areas to explore here, check out our posts below of more exciting places to visit on the Big Island.

Visit Pu’ukohola Heiau

Visit to Spencer Beach on the Kohala Coast

Best beaches in Kona

Things to do in Kona

Things to do in Waikoloa

Waimea, Hawaii

Anaeho’o-malu Bay

Best restaurants in Kailua Kona

Final thoughts to visiting Lapakahi

The visit to Lapakahi State Historical park along the Kohala coast is definitely worth a stop to explore the ancient fishing and healing village here and learn a little about Hawaii’s cultural past. Taking an easy hike along the attractions and coastal areas here is fun and educational at the same time.

Conclusion to visiting Lapakahī State Historical Park

Conclusion to visiting Lapakahī State Historical Park

Lapakahi State Historical Park offers a captivating and enriching experience, allowing visitors to explore the history and cultural heritage of Hawaii. The ancient village’s remnants, including stone walls, house sites, and farming terraces, provide insights into the daily lives of the Native Hawaiians.

It is a place of reflection, education, and appreciation, reminding us of the resilience and connection to the land exhibited by the Hawaiian people. Step back in time at Lapakahi State Historical Park and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Hawaii’s vibrant history.

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on visiting Lapakahī State Historical Park. I hope you are inspired to plan a visit and enjoy these wonderful attractions. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.

We love shares - Mahalo!



  1. Kohala region of the Big Island - This Hawaii Life - […] out more about visiting Lapakahi State Historical Park here for more images and […]
  2. Koloko Honokohau National Park - Travel Photo Mondays #3 | - […] Lapakahi State HIstorical Park […]
  3. Hawaii Island, Key Attractions On The West Side | - […] out our post on visiting Lapakahi State Historical Park here for more images and […]
  4. Hawaii National parks and monuments - This Hawaii Life - […] Explore Lapakahi State Historical Park […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.