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Hawaii (Big Island) Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

SmarterTravel

Hawaii (Big Island) Off the Beaten Path

Plenty of unusual attractions are wonderful day trips for new and experienced visitors at Hawaii Big Island. These off the beaten path delights will take you from the sea to the forest to the fire and everywhere in between.

Hawaiian Natural Wonders

Countless natural wonders are discovered on the Big Island, including waterfalls, the Kona and Devastation Trails, Pu’u Pua’i Overlook, and even a Monkey Pod Tree planted by Mark Twain. Punalu’u, known as Black Sand Beach, is just south of the village of Pahala on the southern end of the big island. Note that Pahala is not Pohala on the northern end of the island. En route there you’ll find the Orchid Gardens nursery in Anthurium Farms, where beautiful orchids reside.

Another overlooked phenomenon is the kipukas, which are untouched land “islands” cut off from their normal environment when lava flowed all around them. Very interesting plants and animals have adapted within these strange and surreal kipukas, including endangered species.

Harmony of Humans and Nature

There is a trail near the bottom along Chain of Craters Road at Milepost 16.5. From the pullout parking area, it is a 0.7-mile walk over a pahoehoe lava bedrock trail to reach the boardwalk at Pu`uloa where I saw the pahoehoe lava bedrock trail where you can see petroglyphs. Some of them aren’t recognizable right away until you see the more obvious ones.

It is quite an experience to see the sunset at Mauna Kea! The mountain is over 14,000 feet above sea level, and many rental car companies won’t let you drive one up there, but there are tour companies with experienced drivers who take those roads all the time and are much safer to go with. Besides the incredible sunset, there is an interesting star viewing afterward with perfect conditions due to the high elevation and lack of light pollution.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about unusual attractions and day trips in Hawaii Big Island.

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