The Big Island of Hawaii is home to natural wonders and stunning settings. This Hawaiian island is also home to some of the most diverse landscapes you’ll find, with a combination of volcanic rock and lush rainforests creating an environment visitors love to explore. Want to learn more about the variety of places you can visit? Read on.
The Kohala Coast: World-class beachfront hotels and golf
courses, golden beaches and numerous historic sites can be found along the
Kohala Coast. Hapuna Beach State Park,
one of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches, is a highlight of the area. The North Kohala Coast is a stark contrast to
its southern side with its lush greenery and undeveloped pastoral land. The amazing Pololu Valley Overlook and
historical sites like Puukohola Heiau and King Kamehameha’s birthplace are
located in this region.
Kau: Largely known as
the home of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kau is vast and remote. Visitors
flock to the area to visit the national park and see Kilauea Volcano, a live
volcano that erupts daily. You could easily
spend three days here exploring the trails, watching the volcano, visiting the
rainforest and simply enjoying the spectacular sights available. Even if you only have one day to explore, be
sure you do. You'll find 150 miles of hiking
trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests as well as a
museum, petroglyphs and a walk-in lave tube.
A second active volcano – Maunaloa – is located here too. IT hasn’t erupted since 1984, though, so
Kilauea is the main attraction.
Six main sections create the Big Island. Here’s what you need to know about each one:
The Kona Coast: Coffee and big fish are synonymous with the Kona Coast, a 70-mile stretch of black lava covered coast. Kona translates to “leeward side” in Hawaiian, meaning full-on sun all the time. This also makes it a bit more affordable place to vacation in Hawaii. Tiny towns and quaint fishing villages dot the Kona Coast, but the resort area of Keauhou provides nice accommodations.
The Hamakua Coast: This area of the Big Island is a scenic wonder, with the emerald Hamakua Coast stretching for 52 miles. You won’t find many beaches or resorts here, but go for a road trip around the coast, or better yet a helicopter tour, to see lush tropical rainforests, deep gulches and valleys, waterfalls and beautiful seaside views. Waipio Valley, with black sand beaches and blooming wild plants, is a picture-perfect place to visit. Make a trek to Akaka Falls, too, a 442 foot waterfall.
Hilo: Hilo is the gateway to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, it also has some attractions of its own. It rains a lot in Hilo, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the gorgeous tropical setting. Hilo’s landscape is the exact opposite of the Kona-Kohala region, with dramatic waterfalls, fertile rainforests and blooming gardens creating an experience completely different from other regions in the Big Island. Natural wonders like Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots in Wailuku River State Park and botanical gardens are highlights.
|Watch the lava meet the sea in Puna.|
Puna: Located on the eastern tip of Hawaii, a visit to Puna includes scenic hiking, black sand beaches, rainforests and rugged landscapes. A must-see of the region is Kalapana, a community that is partially covered by lava. Here you can watch as lava from the volcano hits the sea, a truly stunning sight. The 17-acrea Lava Tree State park features a path winding through the lava rock molds of trees from the 1700’s.