For the average person, just the word “Hawaii” conjures up an array of images; white sand beaches, large-scale hotels, blue-green water, and many, many palm tree’s. For the most part, these assumed images are right, that is, if you are traveling to Oahu, or Maui, which is almost always the case when making a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Oahu and Maui are the most tourist traveled islands in the Hawaiian chain, and are busy year-round with travelers from around the world, seeking a beach paradise vacation.
However, there is an entirely different Hawaii out there to experience. I speak of the ACTUAL Hawaii, commonly know as “The Big Island.” The Island of Hawaii is the youngest of the Hawaiian Island chain, made from several erupting volcano’s. You will find few to none white-sand beaches on this island, especially on the Hilo side. There is the famed Hapuna beach on the Kona side of the island which fulfills any “Hawaiian beach dreams” you may have. The rest of the coastline of the this beautifully lush, tropical island, is rough, jagged, lava rock. It may seem formidable at first, but it is surreal, beautiful in its own rite, and relatively easy to walk on. The exception to this coastline is another anomaly of nature: the black sand beach. Black sand beaches are made from ground, evolved lava rock, and feel and look similar to white sand beaches, only black. They are truly a sight to see!
The five volcano’s that created Hawaii are the still active Mt. Kilauea Mt. Mauna Loa, the inactive since 1801, Hualalai, and the recently inactive Mauna Kea and Kohala. The Hawaii volcano’s National Park is an awesome adventure for all shapes, sizes, and physical capabilities. You can go as far as to hike down to the active lava, or simple view the volcanoes from the walking path and look out points.
For those with a sweet tooth or a common salt-craving, the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut Farm and Factory is another place to have to go. You get to see everything from Macadamia nuts on the plants, right through the cleaning, roasting, flavor-adding, and packaging processes, with plenty of free samples and Macadamia nut products available for purchase.
Near the town of Hilo on the Western side on the Island are some naturally heated pools, heated by the lava flowing beneath the island, which happen to be home to some Great Sea Turtles. This is a terrific snorkeling experience if that is your cup of tea.
All in all, a visit to The Big Island is a great idea and a fun alternative to the traditional Hawaiian vacation. With lots to do, impressive scenery and many anomalies of nature, it is defiantly worth your time!