The second portion of our Island Time trip 2020 took us to Hawaii. Obviously our visit was pre-Corona virus closure timeframe and we were lucky to arrive home safe and sound just a week before the broader requests to stay home were being communicated.
Hawaii, the Big Island is definitely that, big. Being a big island, I mistakenly thought crowded towns and couldn’t have been completely wrong.
It has a very small town feel, yet we found Costco (cheapest dinner the whole trip) and many other chain stores. We spent 5 days exploring this big volcanic island. Between island driving days, snorkeling at the Kealakekua Bay Marine Life Conservation area and our Volcanos National Park visit, we experienced the varying topography of this ragged, rocky, yet lush island.
Hawaiian history is very interesting and there is much to learn here not only about King Kamehameha ruling as the first all island king and the impact after Captain Cook’s discovery of the islands but also how people ended up here and lived off the land.
Visiting Hawaii trip highlights
Check out the video with great Some highlights!
- Drive and visit to Volcanos National Park
- Drive up to the north shore
- Snorkeling at Manini Beach
Visiting Volcano’s National Park
We spent a full day driving to and through this national park. Volcanos park is unlike any of the lava oriented parks and monuments we’ve visited in the lower 48. The park boundaries contain two mountain summits of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the most active volcanos in the world.
There are a few walks throughout the park, the chain of craters road descending nearly 4000′ to the ocean, and a few camping opportunities. There’s currently no molten lava visible on Hawaii.
After our brief break at the visitor center, it’s time to head out along a short walk way. The sulphur banks area is along a walkable boardwalk that continues another 0.6 miles to see steam vents overlooking the Kilauea Crater; that is if the day isn’t shrouded in cloud cover and it’s raining on you. We had no visibility to see much at the steam vents stop.
Then we headed down through the park via the Crater rim and Chain of Craters road. Along the way we stopped at the Kilauea Iki Crater area, the Thurston Lava Tube, Muliawai a Pele lava flow stop, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs Trail and along the coast the Holei Sea Arch.
After the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs you drive along spectacular sea cliffs. At the end is a short walk to view the Holei sea arch
Visiting Lapakahi Historical State Park
Large area with ancient fishing village ruins. Pristine coast where they lived, fished, and made offerings. The walking trail takes you through the various structures and areas in detail and you can start imaging how people lived and thrived here hundreds of years ago.
Visiting Hawaiian Cowboy Country
Rolling green pastures, tall trees, and cows. Beautiful and drastically different from the ragged lava coast.
Visiting Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park
A national historical park established in 1978 to rehabilitate, maintain and share how communities lived off both the land and the sea. Planters built on the lava flow contain soil and grow food while nearby built fish ponds were constructed to harvest from the sea. There are historical trails that were used to travel between the mountain and the sea within their ahupua’a (land division). The parks sits at the base of the ahupua’a and has a trail walk along the coast and view two big fish ponds.
Nearby state park makes for a good walk
Old Kona State Recreation Area is less than a couple miles from Kailua-Kona. Made for a nice afternoon walk. There’s little tide pools, small stretch of sand, a picnic area and a nice garden park area. We missed sunset but understand this is a good spot to catch those last rays of daylight.
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