Listed below are some area attractions to help plan your Big Island vacation. You will find a variety of things to do to make the most of your time in Hawaii. After your explorations and adventures, return to Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast to relax and tell us about your day. We have included the drive time from Hale Moana to location, in parenthesis.
Lava Viewing in Hawaii
From the end of Hwy. 130 at Kalapana visitors can see glowing streams of hot lava flowing down the mountain towards the ocean and plunging into the water at times. It is very spectacular, especially at night. The area is well marked with safety signs and reflectors on the ground showing you the easiest path to walk. Restrooms are available before you cross the lava field towards the steam plume. In the dark, you should be prepared to take a flashlight along with you. Always wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. Conditions and lava intensity can change. To get the most current updates, it is best to get in touch with us directly. (10 minutes)
Pahoa is the closest town and besides an alternative flair, it offers several excellent restaurants, grocery stores, a natural food store, health clinics, doctors' offices, pharmacies, three banks, interesting arts & crafts shops, and an open market on weekend mornings. Pahoa is a historic town, built between 1909 and 1919. It began as a mill town, shaping railway ties for the great western railways. In sugar cane days, Pahoa became the crossroads for the railway. Today's industry consists of the diversified agriculture and tropical flower business. For more information about this historic location, see our blog. (5 minutes)
As the seat of the Big Island government, Hilo has kept the atmosphere of the former capital of the sugar industry. Both beautiful old buildings along "Bayfront," with interesting little shops, and the "Farmers' Market" give you an idea of the historic peak time of Hilo. Life moves at a slow, friendly pace, and shopping in downtown Hilo is an experience, free from "tourist traps." The city has several museums, including the Tsunami and Lyman Museum, movie theaters, shopping centers, restaurants, banks, doctors' offices, Hilo Medical Center, the International Airport, and car rental places. Several beautiful parks, such as Lili'uokalani and Wailoa Park can introduce you to exotic flowers and vegetation. Hilo is also the home of the famous Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, which is usually held in April, and many other annual events. One of the world's leading astronomy centers and planetariums, the 'Imiloa, opened in March 2006. It expands and deepens the visitor's understanding of the sacredness of Maunakea, Hawaiian cultural traditions, and modern astronomy. (30 minutes)
Volcanoes National Park
This national park has one of the world's most active volcanoes and is open 24-hours a day year-round. The park is open 24 hours a day all year. The Crater Rim Drive is a good way to see some of the most spectacular sites and craters. Many hiking trails from easy to very difficult are offered in the park. The Chain of Crater Road allows you incredible coastal views, and at the end you can hike to the most recent lava flow area. At the park’s visitor center, you will get current information about the location of the lava stream and precautions one needs to take when hiking. Park Rangers offer excellent free guided tours. Daily schedules are posted at the Visitor Center. We are happy to provide information about this park on our blog. Detailed information is available on the Park’s web page: www.nps.gov/havo (30 minutes)
Lava Tree State Park
This beautiful state park is a jewel in the heart of Puna and is located on Hwy 132, east of Pahoa, this park was formed 200 years ago. The lava flow left a thick coating around ohia trees, and as they died, free standing tubes were left behind. Huge albizia trees are building a shading canopy over many tropical gingers, haleconias, and philodendrons. For more information about this interesting attraction, see our blog. (3 minutes)
Kapoho Tide Pools (Wai'opae Marine Sanctuary)
When a vent opened in the area in 1960, the village of Kapoho was destroyed and covered with lava. The piling lava created formations in the shallow water, forming pools now filled from the ocean's tide. These pools contain a wide variety of tropical fish and coral. The water is crystal clear, and the area is now an incredible snorkeling and diving spot. For details about this amazing location, see our blog. (10 minutes)
At these hot ponds, fresh-water springs, heated from steam on the lava far below the surface, bring an ocean-fed pool to a temperature of up to 90 degrees. The containing walls of the pool are man-made, and a lifeguard is there all week. (10 minutes)
MacKenzie State Park
The park opens a view of the ocean from steep cliffs. As you follow the coastline a few hundred yards, you will get a glimpse of the ancient King's Trail with a palm forest planted by Queen Emma when she came to the Island of Hawaii. Off the cliffs, you might see whales, dolphins, and turtles. (10 minutes)
This is a powerful testament to the changing nature of the Big Island. Created by the 1955 lava flow, Kehena Beach is one of the few black sand beaches left after a lava flow destroyed the legendary Kalapana Beach and others. A small trail leads down to the beach near mile marker 19 on Hwy 137. When the surf is high, the beach break and currents can be strong, and swimming is only recommended for experienced swimmers. Clothes are optional at this beach. It is very beautiful, especially in the morning when the sun comes up over the ocean and dolphins and turtles swim near the shore. (10 minutes)
Isaac Hale Beach Park
Local fishermen launch their boats from here in the afternoon and bring in their catch in the early morning hours. The waves outside the park are also an Eldorado for surfers and boogie boarders. (15 minutes)
In 1990, the town of Kalapana and the Royal Gardens subdivision were covered by lava. Kalapana was a treasured Hawaiian fishing village with sacred heiaus (temples) and ancient ceremonial grounds. This lava flow also covered the famous black sand beach with 50 – 75 feet of lava. At the end of Hwy.137 visitors will find the Kalapana Village Café, a self service out-door restaurant with "ono" local food and great ice cream. From here you can also walk to a newly forming black sand beach. Also located at the end of Hwy. 137 is the Uncle Robert’s cultural center, including a Kawa bar, a farmers’ market on Wednesday evenings and Hawaiian music events on Friday nights. For more information about Kalapana, check out our blog.
At the end of Hwy 130, it is interesting to follow parts of the old road, which is covered by lava for long stretches. You can still see houses, cars, and gardens where the former village was. Today, former residents work on their lava-covered land again and try to restore their houses and grow new gardens. The last homes were destroyed in January 2011, when once again lava inundated the area. For more information about this, please see our blog. (13 minutes)
On Hwy 130, near mile marker 15, you come to a scenic point (on the ocean or "makai" side of the road) where you will find steam vents along the trail. Some of the cinder cones have been turned into steam baths with wooden benches to sit on, while you enjoy the warm earth-heated air. Caution is advised, and you should always have somebody with you.