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Kīlauea Crater, Hawaii 96778, USA
The highlight of Volcanoes National Park is the Kilauea Crater. Nothing beats seeing the glow from the active crater at night—well, maybe the prospect of seeing a new explosive eruption. There are a couple of other lava flow viewing areas in the...
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Papakolea Point, South Kona, HI 96704, USA
Where else but on the Big Island of Hawaii can you swim in what used to be a volcano cinder cone? The olivine crystal is the remains of a cinder cone which was an extension of Mauna Loa. Visitors desiring to enjoy a great hike will enjoy rolling...
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48-5561A Waipio Valley Rd, Honokaa, HI 96727, USA
There are few places in the islands that offer such complete isolation alongside such crazy surf and wild terrain as Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island. While most tourist make the drive to the lookout, few venture down the narrow, winding (only...
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Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii 96778, USA
There are numerous sites to explore within Volcanoes National Park, but the Thurston Lava Tube is certainly one of the most dramatic. Located at stop #6, exploring the tube is an easy half-hour walk to and through the extinct lava conduit.
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40 Rainbow Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Just outside of Hilo is one of the Big Island's beautiful waterfalls. Rainbow Falls is a pretty sight, particularly when the sun is shining and its rainbow is shimmering in the mist. The rainbow is out on most days, so chances are that you will...
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177 Makaala St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Winter snow can frost the tallest peak in Hawaii, technically measuring 13,800 feet. In fact, Mauna Kea holds the world record at 33,500 feet tall when measured from its submerged base to its summit (compared with Everest's 29,000 feet)! The...
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78-6831 Alii Dr #144, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Floating on the ocean at night while holding onto a raft that is shooting powerful beams of light into the blackness below sounds, well, insane. And it is. It's insane, and unnerving, and exhilarating, and—and then you see them. Manta rays....
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Pāhoa, HI 96778, USA
After a sizzling day exploring Volcanoes National Park, take a romantic evening walk under the stars to explore the peculiar town of Pahoa, with her elevated Victorian sidewalks and historic storefronts. Affectionately referred to as a “hippie...
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‘Akaka Falls, Hawaii 96720, USA
I call this the "postcard shot." Akaka Falls resides in the appropriately named Akaka Falls State Park, which is just a short car ride from the town of Hilo on the Big Island. Park the car for a small fee (based on the number of passengers and...
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The ire of Mount Kilauea reforges the world before visitors' eyes. Nicknamed "the World's Only Drive-In Volcano," it’s produced serious lava every day since 1983 with no signs of stopping. Pele—the fire goddess who lives here,...
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Hilo, HI, HI, USA
The Hamakua Coastline on The Big Island, Hawaii, is one part Amazonian Rainforest, one part Jurassic Park meets civilization. A beautifully paved road on the northeastern side of Hawaii will lead you through some of the most beautiful places...
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We stayed in Hilo—hot, wet, and tropical Hilo—in a rented, Japanese-style house. Since I'm an astronomy nerd, I had to take the tour up to the observatories on Mauna Kea—way up on the top of the Big Island. The van trip was fun and educational,...
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Waimea, HI 96743, USA
13,700 feet above sea level is the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Several companies offer tours for sunset viewing from the summit, followed by stargazing down at the visitors center at about 9000 feet. Incredible experience! You...
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Mauna Kea Summit Rd, Hawaii, USA

At 4,205 meters (13,800 feet), Hawaii's tallest peak gets frosted by snow in winter. In fact, Mauna Kea holds the world record at 10,211 meters (33,500 feet) when measured from its submerged base to its summit, compared with Everest's 8,848 meters...

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600 Imiloa Pl, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
NASA-funded ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center brings the wonders of space down to earth on the Big Island with a mix of Hawaiian culture and modern, whiz-bang science. It includes a state-of-the-art planetarium, a replica of Mauna Kea's summit, and a...
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96-2694 Wood Valley Rd, Pahala, HI 96777, USA
The region of Ka’u is so quiet and relatively unhurried that you’ll think you are on another planet, and with good reason. The least populated district in all of Hawai’i, it is a stone’s throw away from sunny Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Ka’u...
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Pololū Valley, Hawaii 96755, USA
One of my favorite discoveries of Kohala, Pololu Valley provides not only a fantastic view, but a rewarding hike. We thought there was just a short hike down to the beach where you can walk along the shore or valley's creek. However, we somehow...
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Holoholokai Beach Park Rd, Puako, HI 96743, USA

From November until early May, immense humpback whales visit the Big Island's western coastline. These dark-gray giants can reach 18 meters (59 feet) and 36,000 kilograms (40 tons), but that doesn't deter them from spectacular aerial displays of...

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Ninole Loop Rd, Naalehu, HI 96772, USA
Punaluu Beach attracts visitors and locals to its black sandy volcanic shore. The beach is out of the way (between Volcanoes National Park and South Point), but worth a stop. Punaluu is not overly crowded, but the green sea turtles and uncommon...
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59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
This historic nature park has gardens, cultural sites, and a waterfall that empties into a pool visitors can swim in. Don’t miss botanical specialist David Orr’s monthly full moon walks, which showcase plants that bloom at night. — Hoku Haiku ...
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Waipio Valley, Hawaii 96727, USA
Seeing the Big Island by air will have you sitting on the edge your seat anticipating what will turn up around the next mountain or valley. Waipio Valley, one of the most beautiful areas on the Island, is best seen from the air to really get a...
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1570 Maikalani St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
OK Farms (named for Ed "O"lson and Troy "K"eolanui) is one of Hilo's largest farms with more than 500 acres. They are well known for macadamia nuts, lychee, hearts of palm, citrus fruit, rambutans and lots of spices all of which you get to see,...
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274 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
If you are a fan of mochi, this is a MUST stop on your visit in the Hilo area. The place is tiny, there is usually a long line, takes cash only, and parking is a bear, but once you take one bite into their massive (and most famous) strawberry...
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123 Lihiwai St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
In a new(ish) location overlooking the bay, this perennial Big Island favorite weaves local, organic, and free-range produce into culinary alchemy. Deceptively simple dishes dance on the taste buds; the rich umami of the mushroom potpie and the...
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50 E Puainako St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
It may sound weird to have a suggestion to visit a grocery store, but if you want to understand the local Hawaiian farmers and their products, there is no better place to do it. KTA has been in business for five generations supporting farmers as a...
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Kapoho Tide Pools, Hawaii 96778, USA
The Kapoho Tide Pools are a distinct and different seaside phenomena. The pools stretch nearly a mile down the beach and reach into the sea. The pools are spring fed with fresh water and filled by the rising tide. The interesting geography of the...
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47-4841 Old Mamalahoa Hwy & Dahana Ranch Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
Become a Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) for a day and do an actual cattle drive while on the Big Island of Hawaii. Even though it was a rainy, moody day, it was the perfect unique experience to have in Hawaii. Hawaii is much more than beaches! More...
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78-128 Ehukai St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Reserve a table for a unique and memorable dining experience at the Sheraton Kona Keauhou Bay Resort. While waiting for the magical mantas to appear, order a cocktail and something delicious from the affordable menu. When 8 o'clock comes around,...
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72-100 Kaupulehu Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
A beautiful example of locally sourced food on the Big Island, Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons Hualalai works with more than 160 farmers and fisherman to put together a menu full of culinary masterpieces. Every guest will find pleasure in...
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75-5663 Palani Rd, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
A little peckish for lunch, I dropped in at Splashers on a recommendation from a street artist on Alii Drive. Though I was on my own, I quickly felt embraced by the local aloha and friendly atmosphere of the restaurant. I people watched - a group...
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27-999 Mamalahoa Hwy, Pepeekeo, HI 96783, USA
What's Shakin' is a fantastic local food spot located outside of Hilo, on the Big Island, along what is labeled the 'Pepe'ekeo Scenic Drive.' They are known for their fresher-than-fresh smoothies, but also boast a menu that'll appease even the...
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This tiny joint on the Big Island serves what many consider the planet's best poke (raw-fish salad). In fact, Yelp ranked it No. 1 among America's top 100 places to eat in 2014. Go traditional with just salt, limu kohu (seaweed),...
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75-6129 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Since 2013, patrons from around the world have found this little place in Kailua-Kona and raved about the fall-from-the-bone ribs marinated in homemade Kona Coffee Steak Rub and the pineapple slaw. Like home cooking at a backyard BBQ, you’ll be...
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681 Manono St #101, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Local-style comfort food gets the portions it deserves here, filling the soul and the stomach. Massive pancakes, kalua pork hash, and an all-day Big Island Breakfast Menu are the main draws. Seafood eaters shouldn't miss the poke bowl (pronounced...

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Church Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
This unassuming trailer in a parking lot opposite a port in Kawaihae serves what may be the best shave ice on Hawaii Island, and possibly in the whole state. Why? First up, the syrups (divided into artificial, creamy, and fruit) really taste of...
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79-7251 Hawaii Belt Rd, Kealakekua, HI 96750, USA
Teshima's Restaurant is a historic Japanese diner on the west coast of Hawaii Island in Kealakekua. Welcoming and reasonably priced, the diner serves Hawaiian Japanese comfort food. The set meals are the best value, a sampling of small dishes that...
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75-5699 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Scandinavian Shave Ice is Hawaii Island's most iconic purveyor of the frozen treat—though it's not quite so big a deal on this island as some of the others. That said, Scandi's is everything you want your shave ice shop to be. Dozens of flavors to...