The Big Island offers a range of ecosystem environments. From the cold tundra of Muana Kea to the warm rain forests of Hilo, the Big Island has it all.
See an Active Volcano
Kaliuea Volcano is an active volcano on the Big Island. Visit Volcanoes National Park and see this force of nature in action. You’ll see the eruption from a safe distance and enjoy other engaging activities such as a drive around the volcano crater or to the “Chain of Craters” road, which showcases igneous rock leading into the ocean. You can also spend time on a day trip or a back country hike.
Mauna Loa is also an active volcano, but it is not currently erupting. Still, visitors may experience earthquakes from this massive volcano, which most recently erupted in 1984, bringing lava flows within 4 miles of nearby Hilo.
Enjoy Colored Sand Beaches
There are plenty of beaches to enjoy on the Big Island, but some of the more special beaches have sand in rich and beautiful colors.
Papakōlea Beach has green sand, intermixed with black and white grains. Hikers can access this beach by walking about 3 miles. Be sure to bring sunscreen (get it here), water, and perhaps a hat. You won’t find trees to provide shade at the beach. The green sand crystals are created by lava with a heavy olivine content. Olivine is a mineral with a green color that is known as the “Hawaiian Diamond“.
Punaluʻu Beach offers black sand made out of shattered lava, created as hot lava meets cool ocean water. This sand absorbs heat from the sun, making it a warm place for sea turtles to nest. Be sure to bring your shoes to this beach, as it gets hot to the touch during the warm parts of the day.
Plan a Big Island Vacation and Visit Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is an accessible waterfall cascading over a lava cave that is renowned for producing rainbows during sunny days. This waterfall is within Hilo, and after just a short hike, you’ll get a good view of Wailuku River as it pours 80 feet down.
The waterfall is close enough to town that you can visit in the early morning and head back to Hilo to grab breakfast before enjoying any more Big Island adventures.
Erupting volcanoes and colorful sand beaches make the island of Hawaii a great place to visit. Plan a Big Island vacation and witness nature’s power in action.