This park on the Big Island’s black-lava coast north of Kailua-Kona is where ancient Hawaiians who had broken the law could elude certain death. It was known as “The Place of Refuge,” and is still considered a sacred site today. Featuring traditional carved kii (tiki-like figures) and a 263-meter-long (965-foot-long) lava-stone wall, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau is located on scenic Honaunau Bay.
Catch a glimpse of what Hawaii looked like before European contact. An unmissable destination for culture buffs, this sacred site stretches along the Kona coast's lava flats. Behind a massive wall stands an ancient puuhonua (place of refuge)—where defeated enemies and those who violated the kapu (laws) could seek pardon. The 1.7-square-kilometer (0.65-square-mile) park also shelters the Royal Grounds, a residential and ceremonial epicenter, and the 1.6-kilometer (one-mile) 1871 Trail along the coastline. Tip: This is a religious site; be respectful and don't smoke, picnic, play sports, take wedding photos or carry beach equipment (including towels) here.