From black sand beaches, to waterfalls to Kilauea (one of the most active volcanoes in the world), the Big Island is one of my favorite destinations and one I always like to return to.
I visited Volcanoes National Park and camped at Namakanipaio Campground, 3 miles from the park. It was cold, raining and honestly one of the best experiences of my life. Once it stopped raining, the stars were shining so bright we couldn’t help but stare at the sky. Bring warm clothes, because you’ll be sleeping 4,000 feet above sea level in a beautiful eucalyptus grove. The park is located only a few minutes away by car and you can visit 24/7. We brought our tent and picked up other supplies at Volcano Village, a small town located 3.1 miles (6 minute drive) from the park.
The Campground also has cabins and tents available for rent. Make reservations in advance.
Camping with your own gear is $15/night.
Cabins start at $80/night.
Explore Backcountry camping.
WHAT TO DO
Hike Kilauea Iki trail through a forest and across the crater floor. After that take a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-year old cave. Drive down Chain of Craters Road to the ocean, and see lava forming new land. Visit the petroglyphs. It’s a short walk that will take you back in history.
You can also walk, ride a bike or take a boat tour to see the lava flowing into the ocean. For the latest conditions visit nps.gov.
If you have time, drive up to Mauna Loa Lookout, it’s one narrow lane in each direction and you’ll want to bundle up because temperatures change at this elevation.
No trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to a waterfall. Rainbow Falls is incredible and you can actually park your car and walk up to this view. OK Farms, located alongside the Wailuku river in Hilo offers Waterfall and Farm Tours. I’ve been on the tour and you get a totally neat different view of the waterfall.
I’ve been back to the Big Island a few other times, mostly for work but I’m due for another trip. What’s your favorite part of the island? Favorite place to eat? Favorite place to swim? Where are you planning to visit next?
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