Have you ever dreamed of going on a scenic drive through paradise? Imagine wide open roads, fresh air, and breathtaking views around every corner. Well, look no further than the Big Island of Hawaii for the perfect place to escape it all! Boasting some of nature’s most magnificent vistas, this island is paving its own path with awe-inspiring routes that put other road trips to shame. Whether you’re looking for rolling lava fields streaming along serene coastlines or rugged mountains draped in lush green jungles – there are scenic drives on the big island perfect for you!
Natural Scenery Found On The Big Island
The Big Island is a paradise for nature lovers, especially those who appreciate natural scenery that can be seen from the car. If you are driving along the coastline, you will be amazed by the clear turquoise waters, rocky cliffs, and palm trees that line the road. Keep your eyes peeled for waterfalls that cascade down the mountainside, visible from the road. Along the way, stop at one of the many scenic viewpoints to admire the panoramic views of the sweeping coastline.
You will also encounter lush valleys filled with endemic vegetation, towering volcanoes, and rugged lava fields that have shaped the island’s unique geography. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, you will fall in love with the natural beauty that awaits you on the Big Island.
The Best Scenic Drives On The Big Island
With so much to take in while driving around the island, it can be hard to decide which route to take. Luckily, there are some pretty spectacular drives on the Big Island that offer something for everyone. So consider these routes when planning your trip:
The Kapoho-Kalapana Road is an incredibly scenic drive that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty of Hawaii. As you venture along the road, you will be surrounded by stunning tree tunnels, picturesque beach parks, and even hot ponds that are perfect for a refreshing dip. In addition to the lush scenery, the road also provides an incredible glimpse into the area’s volcanic activity, with unique lava formations throughout the trip.
Although the road terminates at the village of Kalapana-Kaimu due to a volcanic eruption in 1990, visitors can still stop and learn more about the destructive power of living in an active flow area. This scenic drive is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.
Kohala Mountain Road
Kohala Mountain Road is another scenic drive that is not to be missed. This road takes you through some of Hawaii’s most stunning landscapes, including picturesque beaches, lush green hills, and dense rainforests. Along the route, you’ll also get a glimpse of the island’s ranching country and heavily forested areas. And because it’s one of the least traveled roads on the island, you can sit back, relax and take in the views without worrying about traffic.
The peaceful drive is a great way to immerse yourself in the island’s unique beauty, and the road is perfect for those seeking a quieter, more relaxed pace. Take advantage of this stunning drive that will leave you in awe of Hawaii’s natural wonders.
As far as scenic drives go, Saddle Road takes the cake. This winding 54-mile stretch of highway offers an incredible journey from one side of the Big Island to the other. Driving through the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the varied landscape will have you in awe. From dried lava flows to rolling pastureland and even rainforests, the views are breathtaking. For adventurers, this drive is a true treat. Trailheads leading to several hiking trails can be found along the way.
And if you’re up for a challenge, you can take a side road up to the mountaintops of Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa. Even the military has a presence on this epic road, with the largest training reserve in Hawaii and the Bradshaw Army Airfield located nearby. So prepare to be amazed on this unforgettable journey.
Chain of Craters Road
For those looking for a scenic and unique drive, the Chain of Craters Road is a fantastic option. The road takes you on a journey from the lush landscapes of Crater Rim Drive all the way down to the ocean, covering a distance of 19 miles. While the road may be curvy, the changing landscape along the way makes it worth the travel time of approximately 45 minutes one-way. The scenery shifts dramatically as you descend, with black, hardened lava fields on one side and the beautiful ocean on the other.
Not to mention the various craters, cinder cones, and steam vents you can find along the way. Be sure to stop at one of the many lookout points for some truly incredible views before finishing your journey at the ocean. This impressive route is a must-see for any visitor to The Big Island.
Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway
Driving along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway offers stunning views of the Big Island’s coastline, making it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Kailua-Kona. As the only highway that grants access to the North Kona and Kohala beaches and attractions, this drive is ripe for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. With stops such as Kekaha Kai State Park, Kiholo Bay Lookout, and Mauna Kea Beach, drivers will cherish the picturesque shoreline and crystal-clear waters.
The highway also offers access to some of Hawaii’s most remote and breathtaking areas, such as the Pololu Valley Lookout and Waipio Valley. So don’t miss out on this incredible drive that truly showcases all that The Big Island has to offer.
Old Mamalahoa Scenic Drive
You can also embark on a journey through time on the Old Mamalahoa Scenic Drive, a hidden gem just a stone’s throw away from Hilo. As you make your way through the lush tropical forests, you’ll feel transported to a bygone era of old Hawaii. The drive is an enchanting experience, complete with babbling streams, cascading waterfalls, and stunning ocean views. It’s hard not to feel a sense of awe as you drive between the exposed root “walls” that serve as a gateway into this mystical world.
Ivy-covered tree pillars, towering fern walls, and mossy stones are just a few of the picturesque sights that will greet you along the way. Discover the beauty of old Hawaii on the Old Mamalahoa Scenic Drive.
Enjoy Nature At Its Finest On These Scenic Drives On The Big Island!
From winding mountain passes to quiet coastal towns and lush tropical forests, there are some breathtaking scenic drives on the big island. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a peaceful journey, these drives will make any trip to Hawaii unforgettable. So dust off your map and take in the amazing sights that this incredible place has to offer! And don’t forget to make some pit stops along the way to truly take in the beauty of The Big Island!