When people starting talking and thinking about volcanoes, crystal clear blue waters, black sand beaches, turtles and more... Hawaii comes up quickly in the conversation. The Hawaiian islands are a favorite bucket list island to visit. While there are many islands (six major islands) among the Hawaiian islands such as Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, Molokai the Big Island is the most visited island. You can see snow capped Mauna Kea and the lush tropical rainforest in Hilo and Hamakua. This island has many different types of climates.
Landscapes of the Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its rainforest landscapes with towering waterfalls as well as hot lava seeping from the center of the earth. Not to mention, its beautiful white sand beaches over to the jet black sand beaches in Waipio Valley. You can visit towering waterfalls such as Akaka Falls on the northeast coast near Hilo which falls a stunning 442 feet.
Or maybe your in to star gazing where you can head up to Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawai'i that last erupted approximately 4000 years ago. At 13,803 feet above sea level and over 33,500 feet from the bottom of the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world. Mauna Kea’s summit is home to the world’s largest observatory for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy. Research teams from eleven different countries operate 13 telescopes atop Mauna Kea. This are is known as one the best places on Earth for stargazing. Needless to say it's a incredible area to see the night sky with no light pollution.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an incredible park that must be visited and see with your own eyes. On January 5, 2023 the Kilauea volcano erupted with over 164 feet of lava into the air. One of the most active volcanoes on Earth this is one you must visit. Kilauea is the youngest and most active volcano on the island of Hawai'i, with a consistently active summit caldera that frequently hosts lava lake-style eruptions. According to Native Hawaiian tradition, Halemaʻumaʻu crater is the home of the Pele. Day or night there is always something to see or do around this park. Even if its a scenic drive around the summit of Kilauea around Crater Rim Drive.
Hawaii's Most Beautiful Beaches
There is no shortage of amazing, gorgeous beaches to swim and snorkel on the Big Island. You just need to decide whether you want white or black soft sand to enjoy on your relaxing visit. The water temperature will always be warm and fun of 80 degree sunshine day. Even a chance to catch a Hawaii rainbow somewhere on the island.
Here are some of my personal favorite beaches to visit when I'm there:
Manini'owali Beach (Kua Bay)
Manini'owali Beach is a small secluded and small white sand beach at Kua Bay, just north of the Kona airport. The water in the bay is crystal clear and the beach has beautiful white sand to relax on. This makes Kua Bay a strong competitor for one of the most gorgeous beaches on the Big Island!
MAKALAWENA BEACH | Mak's Beach
Makalawena might be the best beach on the Big Island that can't be reached by road. It's a short hike across a lava field and thru palm trees with several bays scooped out along the Kona Coast with gorgeous white sand. The short hike out to Makalawena keeps the crowds away, especially on weekdays which makes this a very quiet and remote beach. It's really tough to find a more perfect beach anywhere in the Hawaiian island chain. Swimming and snorkeling is pretty safe when the beautiful turquoise waters are calm.
Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach
This black sand beach hidden into the valley of Pololu. This is a short 30 minute hike down to the beach as the trail zig zags thru the trees and forest. Once you get to the bottom you are greeted by beautiful soft black sand along with waterfalls and spectacular views. Its amazing area to catch sunrise for sure!
Night Snorkel with Manta Rays
Looking for a thrill of excitement and just an incredible memory for everyone? Then nighttime snorkeling with Manta rays is a must. Here you are floating in the water with some powerful blueish lights below you that attract plankton to the surface. As you stare into the depths of the ocean you see these giant, gentle Manta rays swirling all around you. They are gliding through the water doing large circles with their mouths open feeding on the plankton. It’s a magical experience for sure! This type of trip with the Manta Rays swim takes place after dark. After a long day at the beach this is a great way to unwind from the day.