Hawaii’s most popular state parks

If you’re heading to Hawai’i and want to find out the state parks travelers find the most appealing, check out Hawai’i Tourism Authority”s “2007 Hawai’i State Park Survey.” According to the findings, 10.1 million people visited Hawai’i State Parks in 2007, 2/3 of them out of state visitors. The survey helped produce a 98 page PDF file report with loads of information useful to the state park folks, as well as tourists who want to head where people are not–or to where people are.

The survey asked visitors to rate sites as well as mark items they think state parks should have. Top on the list is parking, followed by interpretive signage and then restrooms. Most people head to parks looking for a view, although residents have an added motivation of a family outing and spending time with friends.

One page of the file reports on visitor ratings of the islands according to scenery, cultural spots, hiking experience and flora and fauna. Since 2003, satisfaction with the parks has generally gone up, and across the board, O’ahu, Hawai’i Island, Maui, and Kaua’i are closely rated in their appeal. What this says to me, is that no matter where you head, you’ll feel satisfied–provided you find parking. For the list of the top 10, keep reading. For another Hawai’i natural treasure, check out Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It might be a World Heritage site one day.

Top 10 State Parks

1. Nu’uanu Pali State Wayside, (O’ahu) the highest volume park with over 900,000 people visiting annually.
2. Wailua River State Park (Kaua’i)
3. Hā’ena State Park (Kaua’i)
4. Diamond Head State Monument (O’ahu)
5. Mākena State Park (Maui)
6. Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area (Hawai’i Island)
7. ‘ Īao Valley State Monument (Maui)
8. Waimea Canyon State Park (Kaua’i)
9. Nā Pali Coast State Park (Kaua’i)
10. Ka’ena Point State Park (O’ahu)