Must see attractions in Hawaiʻi the Big Island

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    Kilauea

    Kilauea volcano lies at the center of activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The unassuming bump on Mauna Loa's southeast flank would be easily…

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    Makalawena Beach

    If what you're after is an almost deserted, postcard-perfect scoop of soft, white-sand beach cupping brilliant blue-green waters, head to 'Maks.' Although…

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    Mauna Kea's Summit Area

    At 13,796ft in the air, you are above 40% of the atmosphere and 90% of its water vapor – apparently perfect conditions for growing the giant mushroom-like…

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    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    Even among Hawaii's many wonders, this national park stands out. Its two active volcanoes testify to the ongoing birth of the islands: quiet Mauna Loa (13…

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    Kua Bay

    This sublime crescent-shaped white-sand beach is fronted by sparkling waters in alternating bands of pale cyan, deeper turquoise, and rich blue. Kua Bay…

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    Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

    Hapuna Beach is world famous for its magnificent half-mile sweep of white powder sand and fabulously clear waters. In summer, waves are calm and allow…

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    Magic Sands Beach

    About 4 miles south of central Kailua-Kona, this small beach (also called White Sands and, officially, Laʻaloa Beach) has turquoise water, great sunsets,…

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    Liliʻuokalani Park

    Arguably Hilo's most beautiful spot, these sprawling Japanese gardens are perfect for picnicking. Named for Hawaii's last queen (r 1891–93), the 30-acre…

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    ʻAkaka Falls State Park

    The island's best ‘tourist waterfall’ is found at this outstanding, family-friendly park. Walk the paved path counterclockwise, on a loop that traverses…

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    Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

    The original Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook off Crater Rim Dr was closed in 2008 due to volcanic activity and the very real threat of death. For the next decade,…

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    Puʻukohola Heiau National Historic Site

    By 1790 Kamehameha the Great had conquered Maui, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi. But power over his home island of Hawaiʻi was a challenge. When told by a prophet…

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    Honokohau Beach

    The water is usually too cloudy for snorkeling at this beautiful hook-shaped beach with a mix of black lava, white coral and wave-tossed shells, but just…

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    Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs

    The gentle, 1.3-mile round-trip to Puʻu Loa (roughly, 'hill of long life') leads to one of Hawaiʻi's largest concentrations of ancient petroglyphs, some…

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    Kilauea Visitor Center & Museum

    Stop here first on your visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Extraordinarily helpful (and remarkably patient) rangers and volunteers can advise you…

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    Hoʻokena Beach Park

    This modest, charcoal-colored beach is backed by a steep green hillside. When calm, the bay's waters are good for swimming, kayaking and snorkeling …

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    Kona Coffee Living History Farm

    Many coffee-farm tours are perfunctory 15-minute affairs. This tour, run by the Kona Historical Society, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, is…

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    Mauʻumae Beach

    What’s not to love about Mauʻumae (pronounced Mao-oo-my)? It has white sand, teal water, shady trees and protected waters – and is even more private than…

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    Hawaii Plantation Museum

    This well-done museum highlights Hawaiʻi's sugar industry, which spanned the period from the mid-1880s to 1996. Museum curator Wayne Subica has single…

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    Kilauea Iki Overlook

    When 'Little Kilauea' burst open in a fiery inferno in November 1959, it filled the crater with a roiling lake of molten rock fed by a 1900ft fountain…