The Big Island of Hawai’i has one of the most dynamic landscapes in the world. Regardless of where you are on the island, the next town over will make you feel as if you have gone to another world. On the Big Island, you will find vast lava rock fields, luscious green pastures, dense rainforests, picturesque mountains, waterfalls, an active volcano, snow on Mauna Kea during the winter months, and magical beaches with varying colors of sand. It is not a recommendation but a must to save one day of your vacation to travel around the island as the Big Island has so much to offer. Once you hit the south point of the island, you will come across the small town of Naalehu, which is the most southern point of the United States and a great place to take photos of the family.
The Big Island is the biggest and youngest island within the Hawaii island chain; however, it is also one of the more rural islands. With the small population of residents being 200,000, you get to experience the slow pace of authentic island life. As our island does not have highways or freeways, you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery around you and take a break from a fast-paced life. There are only two major cities, Kailua Kona and Hilo, although you will never see a skyscraper. There are many sights to see and adventures to conquer, from whale watching to ziplining through rainforests.
Of course, you will come across gorgeous beaches on every island, but what sets the Big Island apart from the others is the varying colors of sand. On the Kohala Coast, you will find that most beaches consist of beautiful white sand, such as Hapuna, Puako, 69s, Anaehoomalu, and many more. On the south and east coasts, you will find black sand beaches created from volcanic materials such as Punalu’u Beach (South Point), Honoli’i Beach Park (Hilo), Waipio Valley (Honoka’a), 49s (Waikoloa), and many more. The most remarkable of them all is Papakōlea Beach, a green sand beach, one of four in the entire world. The green sand is created when a rare volcanic eruption occurs in which the lava brings green olivine crystals to the surface, thus creating the green sand. Although the adventure to get there can be strenuous, it is an incredible sight to see.
Located on the southern part of the island, Kilauea Volcano has been in continuous flow since 1983 and is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Since the eruption in 1983, the volcano has constantly been flowing. The ‘glow’ of the lava traveling from the crater to the ocean is an incredible sight, with millions of visitors worldwide traveling to the island for this magical experience. Not only can you partake in one of the many excursions to see the lava by hiking, helicopter, or boat, but you can also stay in one of the cabins in the national park. Kilauea is one of five volcanoes on the Big Island, although it is the only one currently active. Due to its continuous flow into the ocean, the island continues to grow.
Mauna Kea is the island’s hub; with it being the tallest volcano from the seafloor, it exhibits a magical scenery. Mauna Kea means the white mountain although, contrary to its name, it is technically a dormant volcano. The white part comes from its high elevation of 13,803 feet, in which it snows during the winter months. If you visit during the winter months and catch a glimpse of the snow, you get to partake in the unique experience of snowboarding during the morning and catching the sunset on the beach in the evening. Mauna Kea is a world-renowned location to stargaze due to the ruralness of the island, minimal light emitted by neighboring towns, and the mountain’s exceptional height.