The Big Island is BIG. It is about the size of Connecticut; so unless you plan on staying for a good ten days, don’t expect to see everything. And there is a lot to see.
IBC ’17 gives you some great opportunities to explore the Hamakua, Kona & Kohala coasts. But if you have the time, you may want to consider the following:
1. Volcanoes National Park
Kilauea Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been active since 1983. Do a day trip to Volcanoes National Park where you can stroll through Thurston lava tube, visit Jagger Museum, skirt steam vents, and do a day hike on Kilauea ‘Iki.
2. Ka Lae
The Big Island boasts the southernmost tip of the United States. Located – where else? – At South Point (Ka Lae) this is also the site where the first Polynesians landed sometime between 400 – 700 A.D. Registered as a National Historical Landmark, the area is also near Green Sand Beach, former sugar plantation towns of Naalehu and Pahala, and Punalu’u’s beautiful black sand beach.
3. Old Saddle Road and Mauna Kea
The Big Island boasts five volcanoes, three of which you can see on your drive to on Saddle Road, which traverses the island between Kona and Hilo. Take the older Saddle Road near Waimea Town and watch the topography change from dry grassland to steep verdant hills studded with cows, sheep and goats to lava-covered moonscapes bordered on either side by the massive volcanoes, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai.
Turn toward the Visitor Information Center on the side of Mauna Kea and put on your jacket as the temperature will begin to drop 20, 30, 40 degrees. Yet, you were just in the tropics, no? Dormant Mauna Kea’s above ground elevation is only 13,796, but when measured from its oceanic base, it is over 33,000 feet tall – much taller in fact than Mt. Everest.
For other ideas on what to do, visit these sites: