What to See on Big Island

Kona and South Kohala

Kona is tourist central for Big Island.  The downtown area has all the kitschy beach and souvenir shops, chain restaurants and pasty-skinned visitors you could want.  We have a few places we like to eat: Huggo’s On The Rocks: food is so-so, but the setting is great:  ocean front, outside eating with tables and chairs set in beach sand.  A lovely way to spend a couple of hours, especially at sunset. Splashers:  not fancy, but Continue reading

Volcanoes National Park and Volcano Village

Volcanoes National Park and Volcano Village At 4000 ft elevation, it is COOL, so bring a jacket.  The park visitor center has great exhibits, and if you happen to run into Ranger Jason, he will give you a short nature tour around the visitor center and hotel-chock full of local “flavor.” Follow crater rim drive to the Kilauea Military Camp.  At Christmas, the cottages are festively decorated. The KMC Theater is host to music and Continue reading

Kohala coast

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Kohala coast The Kohala Coast is everything ….and nothing….that you want Hawaii to be.  Pristine white sand beaches, luxurious resorts, warm, usually calm water….and endless lava fields devoid of any life except at the water’s edge. When we want a “Hawaii beach day” we drive the one hour to “the other side.”  We have a few places we prefer, and I will only discuss here the beaches we have been to. At the top of Continue reading

Hawi/North Kohala

Hawi/North Kohala North Kohala is the “thumb” of Big island. A wide peninsula off the northwest, it ranges from high, dry ranchland to desert, to lush coastal jungle. Above is a view of Pololu Valley-literally at the end of the road. Akoni Pule Highway ends at the vally, which can only be accessed by foot. Further west, Keokea beach park ^^^ is easily accessed, but rough water makes it a nice picnic-and-watch -the-surfers spot. “Flumin Continue reading

South Point and the Ka’u District

South Point and the Ka’u District That ^^^ is the view from the southernmost point in the United States.  If you were to swim…….for a long time…..directly out from that point, the next place you would land (with cold tootsies…) is Antarctica.  It is thought that this is where the first Hawaiians landed when they crossed the ocean from Polynesia. Locals like to fish here, and catch red snapper, tuna, and I’m told, even Marlin Continue reading

Puna

In the Puna (southeast) District of the island, lava flows have been not infrequent. The result of earlier flows is the Wai Opae tidepools in Kapoho-a series of interconnected pools with fish, turtles, eels and coral of many colors. A large reef 1/4 mile offshore breaks all the waves, and so the pools are always glassy calm-allowing even novice swimmers and snorkelers safe paddling. There is no beach, only stretches of lava rock on which Continue reading

Hilo

Hilo Hilo, though a small city, is actually the second largest city in Hawaii.  It is OLD Hawaii.  Though there is tourism, it is certainly not on the level of Honolulu or even Kona. Start off by visiting Hilo’s farmers market.  Though it runs daily, the “big” days are Wednesday and Saturday. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, there are flower vendors, jewelry and clothing booths, Bento (box lunch) sellers and other crafters. The Continue reading

Hamakua Coast

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Hamakua Coast Waipio Valley Well, there’s an easy way to see it….(as in the photo above), and a hard way. The road to the valley floor drops 2000 feet in 3/4 miles.   Not easy on the knees going down, but brutal coming up!  ONLY 4wd vehicles are allowed to drive down. Otherwise….you walk. Off Highway 19 on the Hamakua coast, near Honoka’a–about mile marker 43.  The valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha. Now Continue reading