Near the birthplace of King Kamehameha, these North Kohala towns thrived during the plantation days, once bustling with hotels, saloons, and theaters—even a railroad. They took a hit when "Big Sugar" left the island, but both towns are blossoming once again, thanks to strong local communities, tourism, and an influx of artists keen on honoring the towns' past. They are full of lovingly restored vintage buildings housing fun and funky shops, galleries, and eateries.
Gift Gallery. In Kapaau, browse through this longtime gallery's collections of local art, including glass, woodworks, bowls, fine art photography, and paintings. There's also a gift shop a couple of doors away. 54-3897 Akoni Pule Hwy., Hwy. 270, North Kohala, 96755. 808/889–5971 gallery; 808/889–5138 gift shop. www.ackermangalleries.com.