Hawaii Activities

Five Unique Ways to Experience Hawai’i’s Amazing Nature

May 7, 2016, 12:42 PM HST
* Updated September 10, 10:17 AM
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Photo Credit: Flickr/Eli Duke.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Eli Duke.

Locals and visitors to the Big Island can’t help falling in love with the island’s natural wonders. From black sand beaches to active volcanoes and lush rainforests, Hawai‘i’s topography is made for exploration. Here are five unique ways to get up close and personal with Hawai‘i Island’s top stunners.

Hike Through Lava Tubes at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Photo Credit: Flickr/SonnyandSandy.

Photo Credit: Flickr/SonnyandSandy.

If you happen to visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park while Kīlauea is erupting, you’ll be treated to a molten lava show from the one the world’s most active volcanoes. Another great way to experience the surreal volcanic landscape is by hiking through a lava tube, formed by flowing lava rushing past and leaving a cave in its wake. There are several on Hawai‘i Island, but the Thurston Lava Tube is the largest and most accessible for hiking. Remember to bring a flashlight!

Soak in Volcanic Hot Pools on the Puna Coast

Photo Credit: Flickr/Frank Farm.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Frank Farm.

The east coast of the Big Island has several hot springs perfect for a relaxing soak. Thanks to heavy rainfall along the Puna coast, rain making its way to the sea is first heated by magma rocks deep underground. Ahalanui Park is a great family friendly option, as the volcanically heated water is tempered to a pleasant swimming temperature from ocean water that mixes into the pool—along with some friendly fish. There’s also a lifeguard and picnic tables nearby.

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For a lesser known volcanic pool, check out the Pohoiki warm spring in Isaac Hale Beach Park in Puna. You’ll find this secluded hot pond by making a short walk inland from the boat ramp.

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Kona Manta Ray Night Dive

Photo Credit: Flickr/Kelly.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Kelly.

For the adventurous, a night dive or snorkel amongst the friendly manta rays of Kona is an unforgettable experience. Rated amongst the best night dives in the world by travel and dive magazines, guided tours with Big Island Divers will take you up close and personal with these gentle giants.

Stargaze at Mauna Kea

Photo Credit: Flickr/Christopher Chan.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Christopher Chan.

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At an elevation of 9,200 feet, the Visitor Center at Mauna Kea hosts a free stargazing program with telescopes on the deck every night from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. For those who want the purest view of the stars, keep heading up Mauna Kea, where you’ll reach the summit above the cloud cover. Here you’ll have a truly spectacular view of the starry night sky. For a guided tour from professional stargazers, check out Mauna Kea Summit Adventures. Leading tours since 1983, these friendly guides provide the telescopes, winter parkas, and a warm dinner.

Lava Tree State Park

Photo Credit: Flickr/Scott Carpenter.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Scott Carpenter.

Located near Pāhoa, Lava Tree State Park is home to some surreal looking tree stumps. Preserved in lava molds when an eruption sent lava flowing through the forest in 1790, these trees are a testament to just how much volcanoes have shaped Hawai‘i’s rich topography. An easy 0.7-mile loop through the park makes this another good place to take in the volcano’s influence.

For more island advice and local travel tips, visit Island Travel Hawai’i.

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