Lives in Los Angeles, California
Since Jun 2010
I'm an avid traveler and began my adventures since the age of three. I've lived in Asia, the U.K., and the U.S.
State Parks, Waterfalls
Valleys, Historic Walking Areas
Scenic Drives, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Historic Sites, National Parks
Beaches, State Parks
An easily accessible beach close to Hilo airport, this is the first place to enjoy a swim while watching the surf break. Beach-goers can explore the park as well as scramble on the rocks.
A peaceful island in the Hilo Bay area that can be accessed via a bridge, Coconut Island offers great views of Hilo town and the mountains. Good for getting your bearings!
This beautiful Japanese garden pays homage to Queen Lili'uokalani, Hawaii's last reigning Monarch, complete with arching red bridges, fish ponds, pagodas, Japanese stone lanterns, and a teahouse.
Time for a snack? Two Ladies is a great hole-in-the-wall shop selling freshly made, authentic mochi (a delicious Japanese snack).
Hawaii produces some of the nation's best fresh produce and flowers. Swing by this local spot to find fruits like papayas and apple bananas; dishes like the Filipino Pancit and Thai Papaya Salad; as well as vegetables, flowers, and artisan products.
Rainbow Falls is surrounded by lush, dense foliage and has an impressive 80-foot drop. The water rushes into a large pool, which is bordered by beautiful wild ginger, and the falls takes its name from the rainbows that can often be seen spanning the water here.
On the way to Waipi'o, it's worth stopping by Akaka Falls State Park. Walk along the short paved path surrounded by wild orchids and lush ferns for approximately 20 minutes and you'll soon discover the 100-foot Kahuna Falls, followed by the 442-foot Akaka Falls.
Drive down to this historically important valley by 4WD vehicle and be bowled over by the beautiful black sand beach, waterfalls, and numerous surf breaks you'll discover. Waipi'o Valley was a permanent residence for many early Hawaiian Ali'i (kings) and the area is considered to be sacred by many native Hawaiians.
Venture onto Saddle Road, the only way to reach the Mauna Kea access road (which will take you from the lush green vegetation at sea level up to a volcanic landscape), and is notorious for its countless curves.
The Observatory is the first stop on the Mauna Kea access road, with plenty of educational content to explore inside, as well as being a warm venue in which to stretch your legs after the three-hour drive from Hilo.
Continue your climb up one of the Island of Hawaii's five volcanoes — best done in a 4WD — and be prepared for some spectacular views. The high elevation offers stunning sunrise and sunset shots of the horizon, and in the winter, you can even snowboard down the slopes of the volcano.
After spending the morning at Mauna Kea volcano, head back down Saddle Road and begin driving towards the east side of the island. Lava Tree State Park in Pahoa offers a 0.7-mile loop among 'lava trees —' lava molds of Ohia trees created when lava once swept through the area.
This National Park features plenty to keep you entertained, and is one of the few places where you can be in close proximity to active volcanoes such as Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Explore its steam vents, recently formed volcanic features, hiking trails of various lengths, the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory, and Kilauea Military Camp, among other attractions.
Perched on the rim of Kilauea caldera, and with unparalleled views of the crater, the restaurant Volcano House is a must-visit. It is the only hotel inside the national park and offers 33 guest rooms, a restaurant, lounge, and gift shop.
This 2-3 hour hike across the floor of the solidified lava lake at Kilauea Iki presents a unique opportunity to explore the steaming landscape, marked by piles of rocks (Ahu) and native Hawaiian plants.
Explore this easily accessible lava tube, created when lava flowed through already solidified rocks, leaving a hollow tube system behind. This amazing natural wonder is great for kids to explore as well.
Adventure seekers shouldn't miss Thurston, a 500-year-old lava tube cave, whose first part is well-lit by overhead lights, while its second must be explored in complete darkness. Bring a strong flashlight with you and enjoy exploring every corner of this natural wonder!
Visit the Jaggar Museum located next to the USGS Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory and learn about the geology of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, as well as ongoing geological monitoring work.
As you leave the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and head towards Kona, stop by one of the best sweetbread factories on the Island of Hawaii, located at Punalu'u. Here you can sample the various flavors of sweetbreads and malasadas (similar to a donut), and enjoy a quiet moment in the outdoor patio area.
Swing by this green sand beach, made up of mostly of olivine, which lends the green color to the sand composition. Marvel at this rare beauty and the sheer sandy cliffs that surround the beach. Swimming is also possible.
A historical park that was a place of refuge for ancient Hawaiians who broke kapu laws and sought safety from pursuers, as well as defeated warriors. This sacred site also includes carved wooden images, royal fish ponds, burial grounds, and ancient royal gardens. A cultural demonstrator may also be present to demonstrate traditional Hawaiian crafts.
Stop by this soft, white-sand beach and enjoy one of the best idyllic beaches on the Island of Hawaii. The beautiful beach often has gentle, rolling waves so it's good for visitors looking to try their hand at bodysurfing or boogie-boarding.