More than tropical temperatures and colorful flowers, the Pacific Islands are where battles raged, and cultures continue to flourish. Today, visitors have the opportunity to hear personal accounts of war survival. Also, witness artistry of indigenous peoples, or even feel the cold rush of rain (or lava!)

Decorated in white sand, verdant jungles, and colorful coral reefs, the national parks of the Pacific Islands are all ripe for exploration this time of year. Read on to learn our editors’ picks for the Best National Parks of the Pacific: 

National Park of American Samoa | American Samoa

Visitors can enjoy making discoveries and a lifetime of memories during their visit to the National Park of American Samoa. The park boasts 9,000 acres of land and 4,500 acres of coral reefs. It also offers excellent snorkeling and hiking, yet receives few outside visitors. A distant 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, this small island is set apart in both distance and distinction.  

Samoa itself is said to mean “sacred center, ” and a visit to this breathtaking addition to the U.S. National Park System is sure to focus even the most troubled of souls. Built of soaring black stone, it is robed in rain forest and softened by Summit mists. The islands are remote but well worth a visit. With more than 900 species of fish, 50 species of coral and many dazzling birds of the palaeotropical forests.

Ofu Beach NPS

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park | Hawaii

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, is a United States National Park located in the U.S. State of Hawaii. You don’t need to be a “Lord of the Rings” fan to harbor a desire to see an erupting volcano and molten lava in real time. In fact, it’s the sort of thinking that draws nearly two million visitors annually. It is also home to Kīlauea, the world’s most massive active volcano.

We recommend heeding the advice of savvy guides and would advise to check in with the visitors’ center. Why? To confirm weather conditions upon your arrival. The park is open 24 hours a day. This means visitors are invited to catch a dramatic glimpse of lava under moonlight or an inspiring peek of the jaw-dropping sunrises that follow. For a distinctly Jurassic Park-esque experience, consider a trip through a tube in the earth carved by lava about 500 years ago.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

War in the Pacific National Historical Park | Guam

For those seeking an escape from everyday life, visit the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. This may surely provide a sound resolution. Established to commemorate the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of those participating in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater of World War II, the park’s white sand beaches of present day stand in stark contrast to its once bloodied shoreline.

War in the Pacific National Historical Park‘s  battlefields, trenches, and historic structures all serve as silent reminders of the bloody World War II battles. The breathtaking panoramic views of Asan Bay Overlook remind visitors of the beauty preserved since that time. The turquoise waters surrounding Asan Beach support a pristine reef ecosystem with a wide array of sea life, making this park an unmatched destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. 

Artillery - War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Ga'an Point) - DSC00882

Have you had the opportunity to take a visit to one of the National Parks in the Pacific that we detailed in our post? We would love to hear from you and invite you to share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Best National Parks of The Pacific Islands