Every time someone even utters the word ‘Hawaii,’ all you can imagine is laying on the beach with crystal blue water on one hand, and a breathtaking landscape of verdant cliffs on the other. Let’s not forget about the coconuts and other mouth-watering delicious tropical fruits, and the undeniably interesting native Polynesian culture and traditions.
There are eight major Hawaiian Islands, out of with Maui and Oahu are the most popular ones. With the astonishing beauty of these popular islands, it can be easy to overlook the largest island in Hawaii – The Big Island – a home to stunning diversity and topography.
The Big Island has 11 different climate zones that will leave you stunned! These different climates have resulted in an array of gorgeous landscapes ranging from arid deserts to plush rain forests and snow-capped mountaintops to black sand beaches. In short, the Big Island offers you the experience of having traveled to multiple places – rolled in one.
That’s not all. Not only is the Big Island a hidden gem itself, but it is also home to many hidden gems that are definitely worth exploring.
Here are 5 hidden gems on the Big Island.
1. Witness an Active Volcano – Kilauea
Hawaii is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world known as Kilauea. This volcano is located right by the sea on the Big Island. An infamous legend surrounds this volcano that claims that Pele, the goddess of creation, toured through the Hawaiian Islands before finally finding sanctuary in Kilauea. The legend goes that the volcano begins to erupt every time Kilauea is displeased. The constant lava flow has been occurring for over a hundred years, creating almost 500 acres of new land.
The Kilauea is a hidden gem because most people travel to Hawaii only for the luxury beach experiences rather than discovering its gorgeous landscape. Witnessing an active volcano is a sight that will never forget. The best vantage point of this glorious view is from the sea during the night as you get to witness the glow of the lava. Right before twilight, many people gather around on a nearby cliff to see Mother Nature in action.
2. Camp Overnight in Volcanoes National Park
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the best place to go to get a good look at the Kilauea crater. Apart from offering a fantastic overlook of the volcano, this park is home to some fantastic hiking trails that will take you through it. You can also walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, a tunnel once created by the lava flow from Kilauea.
You can also travel by car using the Chain of Craters Road, a forty-mile drive, which is about a 3-hour round trip. This car ride offers a spectacular view of Kilauea and the rainforests surrounding it. There are many campgrounds available inside the park, so make sure that you spend the night over there and enjoy the majestic views.
3. Experience the Magical Ocean
Hawaii is generally known for its magical beaches. The Big Island not only offers a unique choice of beaches, but it also has one of the best and most diverse eco-systems in the worth. From green sea turtles to spinner dolphins, humpback whales, and giant manta rays – you will find all sorts of unique sea animals here. Due to its beautiful oceans and unique ocean life, all sorts of water activities are popular on the Big Island. You can witness the beauty of this underwater life firsthand by going kayaking, surfing, deep-sea diving, or snorkeling.
Many people also choose to combine various water sporting activities into one adventure that can make for an incredible day. The best way to go about this is to kayak to the Captain Cook Monument across the Kealakekua Bay and spend your day there participating in diving and snorkeling activities.
With calm waters, abundant underwater life, and extensive coral reefs, the Kealakekua Bay offers an amazing diving and snorkeling experience all year round. You will frequently find spinner dolphins gracing the Kealakekua Bay, and sea turtles on the offshore waters, but the most mystical experience you can have here is night-diving with the giant manta rays. Many people also suggest that this is one of the top 10 things you should experience during your lifetime.
4. Stargaze From Mauna Kea
Since your mind instantly wanders off to the tropical beaches when you think of Hawaii, it can be quite difficult to imagine that there’s a snowcapped mountain at just a short drive. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano that is the star of the Big Island. Did you know that Mauna Kea is actually higher than Mount Everest? Mauna Kea starts right from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, making it the tallest mountain in the world. So, you can imagine what it would be like to stargaze from the tallest mountain ever.
The world’s largest astronomical observatory is located at the summit of Mauna Kea. There are various stargazing programs that take place over here every night completely free of cost. Many operators also offer summit tours where they take you to the icy peak of this unbelievable tropical phenomenon.
5. Explore the Town of Holualoa
The town of Holualoa is truly an unexplored and hidden gem of the Big Island. This town is a fifteen-minute drive from the main coastal highway on the Big Island. With breathtaking natural beauty and tradition, this is the perfect town for an artist retreat. This mountainside town hosts many artists, musicians, interesting shops, and fun eateries. You will come across many art galleries here that showcase the works of various local artists, and every year, there are various festivals and events that help in this town that you should experience.
You will never have a true Hawaiian experience until you explore these 5 hidden gems on the Big Island.