The value of long-term wave hindcasts for investigating wave climates, wave energy resources, and extreme wave conditions has motivated research developing, calibrating and validating wave hindcast models. Past hindcast model validation studies examined the accuracy in modeling bulk wave parameters of overall sea states without considering the dependency of the model's skill within different sea states. In the present study, a framework for wave hindcast model validation is developed by examining the model accuracy for the most frequently occurring sea states, sea states contributing the most energy to total wave power, sea states associated with hurricane events, and those with the largest model error. Validations using bulk wave parameters and frequency-directional spectra at these key sea states and extreme wave conditions based on univariate and bivariate-contour methods provide insights to improve model accuracy, identifying the model's strong and weak points, and pathways for improvement, e.g., modeling wave-current interactions and adjusting wind data. This study adds to a growing body of research demonstrating that a carefully calibrated and verified spectral wave hindcast model can be used to estimate key wave energy parameters over a wide range of wave energy climates, as well as their spatial, temporal, frequency, directional, and probabilistic distributions.