The Island of Hawaii, more popularly known as the Big Island, is renowned for its abundance in natural attractions, particularly the volcanoes that have been shaping the landscape for millions of years now. Five volcanoes originally formed the island and today, thanks to the active Kilauea volcano, the island is still pretty much growing. Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are the island’s largest volcanoes, making up almost 75% of its surface. At 13,800 feet above sea level, the now-extinct Mauna Kea has the distinction of being the Pacific Basin’s highest mountain.
The stunning beaches, gorgeous waterfalls, lush forests, and all-around exotic climate make the Big Island one of the most desirable tourist destinations. The island offers a range of activities for visitors, including surfing, snorkeling, and diving.
Let us check out some of the best tourist attractions that the Hawaiian island has to offer.
1) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Housing two active volcanoes, this national park is a unique opportunity for visitors to marvel at the actions of nature. However, it is important to note that certain sections of the park and surrounding regions might be closed during phases of extreme volcanic activity.
Situated in the southeastern part of the Big Island, the park currently covers an area of 21 square miles. However, this number continues to increase with the continuous flow of active lava. The Kilauea volcano, which was last active in 2018, is a feature of this park. The Halema’uma’u crater, considered to be the abode of the Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele, draws plenty of awestruck tourists every year. Through Crater Rim Road, tourists can access the top attractions of the park, including the Devastation Trail which was the result of the Iki crater eruption that happened in 1959. Another attraction along this route is the Jagger Museum, where visitors can enhance their knowledge about volcanoes and the intimate relationship between nature and Hawaii. Another leading attraction at the park is the Thurston Lava Tube, where flowing lava cooled down in a way that formed a tunnel almost 20 feet high and 500 feet long.
2) Mauna Kea
Hawaii’s highest mountain, Mauna Kea is also home to an observatory by the same name. In stark contrast to the tropical heaven below, the temperatures at the Mauna Kea are extremely low. However, the cold weather cannot keep people from crowding at the visitor center every night and enjoy the mesmerizing starry views. The Visitor Information Station and summit, standing at heights of 9,200 and 13,800 feet respectively, are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle, and car rental companies often prohibit this trip. The Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour is the simplest way to enjoy and experience the mountain. This group eases your major issues, such as getting the right vehicle, parking, and staying warm. The tour includes an ascending ride to the summit, a supper at the Hawaiian ranch, and an evening filled with stargazing and hot cocoa. Oh, and you also get a hooded parka. Owing to the extreme heights, all tour participants must be at least 16 years old, healthy, and should not have recently indulged in diving.
3) Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
If you are into dramatic landscapes, you simply cannot afford to miss a visit to the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. The said landscapes were popularized by the Jurassic Park movie, showing a phenomenal coastline combined with ‘rippling’ cliffs as well as the Wall of Tears located on Mount Waialeale. A helicopter view is perhaps the best way to absorb the mind-boggling scenes from above. The Kalalau Trail is a treat for expert hikers – the eleven-mile trek takes an entire day each way and crosses five valleys.
4) Kona Coffee Living History Farm
This is the country’s sole living history museum, devoted to remembering the traditional methods of coffee farming. The museum is handled by the Kona Historical Society and allows visitors to take a peek into the lives of coffee growers during the 1920s and 1930s. The museum is full of costumed interpreters that chat with tourists while conducting their daily tasks that range from planting to cooking.
Visitors are allowed to traverse the grounds without any restrictions, increase their knowledge about the orthodox approaches to grinding and roasting, and even observe the Kona Nightingale (a donkey breed). The farm also presents visitors with the opportunity to try and out and buy some of their delicious coffee.
5) Hapuna Beach State Park
Considered to be one of the nation’s best beaches, Hapuna Beach is renowned for its soft sand and immense facilities. Numerous lifeguards are on duty at all times, which is important since a tide change can cause the conditions to become treacherous.
Hordes of locals and tourists visit the beach to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and, of course, enjoy some of the best surfing around the world. Along with picnic shelters and concessions, visitors looking to stay overnight can also benefit from screened shelters that are complete with electricity, showers, and refrigeration. You can also find long hiking trails, lined with sensational sights along the coast.
In summary, Hawaii is one of the top tourist spots around the world, and this article outlined some of the main attractions that give the island its touristy reputation.