Big Island Guide: Explore the Outdoors

Get out there, is all we can say. (Oh, and pack water and a lunch.)


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Six Amazing Drives 

Photo: Jack Wolford


Sometimes, the drive itself is the point. At more than 4,000 square miles, Hawai‘i is the only island in the chain where you can find something close to a real road trip.



Hāmākua Coast (start on Highway 19; always take the slower scenic side routes) for greenery, waterfalls, little sugar towns like Laupāhoehoe and Honoka‘a.



Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Chain of Craters Road down to the sea and back. 



Route 250 from Waimea to Hāwī for lunch and then the Pololū Valley overlook (and maybe a hike down to the beach for a swim).



Saddle Road, Route 200, between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (best from Hilo to Kona in the morning, from Kona to Hilo in the afternoon).



Highway 11 from Keauhou south to Ka Lae and Pāhala, eventually to Volcano (or start in Volcano and head in the opposite direction; either way, this will feel like the longest day, so leave plenty of time and stock the cooler). 



Route 190 from Waimea to Waikoloa in the afternoon (if going to the Kona airport you can skip the traffic on the Kohala coast). The light is amazing. Your reward when you reach Waikoloa: Lemongrass Express Thai in the Queen’s Shopping Center. 



Mauna Kea Mindful

Going for a mountain hike or bike? Best check on conditions—especially wind, something we on O‘ahu don’t know much about. On the Big Island, though, 25-knot trades can turn into a 60-knot gale when funneled by those twin peaks, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.


This story is part of The Holoholo Guide to the Big Island in our June 2015 issue. Check back next week for more. 




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Honolulu Magazine April 2019
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