Ahuena Heiau, Kailua-Kona Village
Temple of peace and prosperity built by King Kamehameha I between 1812 and 1813 to honor Lono, the god of fertility. It's the place from which King Kamehameha I ruled his united Hawaiian nation. This sacred ground is also where he died on May 8, 1819. It is one of the most important historical sites in Hawai’i.
Hulihee Palace, Kailua-Kona Village
Once a summer palace for Hawai’i's royal family, Hulihee Palace has become a museum filled with historical treasures.
Official website: http://daughtersofhawaii.org/facility-rentals/hulihee-palace/
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Kailua-Kona
Ancient Hawaiians site where you can view fishponds, heiaus and petroglyphs located next to Honokohau harbor and its fishing boats. The park offers a 4.5-mile loop hiking trail. Sturdy shoes and water are necessary.
Official website: http://www.nps.gov/kaho/index.htm
Kamehameha Akahi Aina Hanau, near Upolu Point
A little farther down the coastal dirt road from Mo'okini Heiau is the birthplace of King Kamehameha the Great, Kamehameha Akahi Aina Hanau Heiau.
Lapakahi State Historical Park, Kohala
Lapakahi is a historic Hawaiian coastal fishing village that is one of the most well preserved settlements of ancient Hawaii. It goes back close to 600 years. Travel back in time and walk the self-guided tour through the ruins. Located just before mile marker 14 on Highway 270 in Kohala on the upper west side of the island. One hour from Kailua-Kona (44.8 mi) via HI-19 and HI-270, just before mile marker 14 on Highway 270.
Mokuaikaua Church, Kailua-Kona Village
Mokuaikawa Church dominates the downtown area of Old Kailua Town in Kona. It's the first and the oldest Christian church in Hawai’i founded by missionaries in 1820.
Official website: http://mokuaikaua.com/
Mo'okini Heiau, near Upolu Point
It's off the beaten path, but this Mo'okini Luakini Heiau , near ʻUpolu Point at Hawaiʻi's northernmost tip was the first temple ever built in the islands. It was built by Pa’ao, the first kahuna nui, in the 11th or 12th century AD. Pa’ao established the Hawaiian religious culture of kapu (laws) and human sacrifice. Many tens of thousands of Hawaiians were sacrificed to the gods at the stone alter in front of this heiau. Even in ruins, the temple is impressive and a must to see.
Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kawaihae
The Temple on the Hill of the Whale
We really liked visiting the holy place of long forgotten times. This stone heiau is one of the last major sacred structures built and holds a very significant place in Kamehameha the Great's victory in uniting the Islands into what we know now as the Kingdom of Hawai'i. The Visitor Center has a wonderful display of artifacts, videos of the history of the place and of King Kamehameha, and even an audio tour of the site.
Direction: Take the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway (highway 19) north from Kailua-Kona until it ends at the intersection of Kawaihae Road. Turn left onto Kawaihae Road and drive a short distance towards the ocean. Look on your left for the sign indicating the road to Spencer State Beach and the Pu`ukohala Heiau National Historic Site. It is about a one hour drive from Kailua-Kona
Official website: http://www.nps.gov/puhe/index.htm
Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Captain Cook
A sacred site for ancient Hawaiians, this “Place of Refuge of Honaunau” is where ancient Hawaiians fled for safety or to seek absolution after breaking kapu (laws). If a "Kapu" breaker could climb over the massive wall, unaided, then he could be forgiven and, after a period of time, go back out into the community, unharmed.
Official website: http://nps.gov/puho