Hawaii | The Big Island
Hawaii, The Big Island has been in the news constantly since May 3rd. The eruption of one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kilauea, has been sending lava flowing into the ocean and ash plumes tens of thousands of feet in the air. All this activity has me thinking about our amazing few days on the Big Island including a day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
While the tourist industry is asking people to stay clear of the area and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed, Hawaii is open for business. You can be sure that this island aptly named, the Big Island is just that and there are plenty of areas to spend your time that are far enough away from the eruption. Some people are canceling trips due to activity while others are booking them to get a glimpse of the famous flow as an experience of a lifetime. You’ll have to read up and decide if it’s right for you. Whether you choose to go now or wait until things calm down again. The Simple Proof has an itinerary for your family.
Our trip began when we arrived at our beautiful and family-friendly hotel in Waikoloa. This is a bigger resort than we usually prefer, but the amenities for families are perfect for a relaxing and fun vacation for all members. From waterslides to restaurant options, it’s a great option than the pricier resorts further north. The hotel has an ocean-fed lagoon that is perfect for younger kids with little tide variations to practice their snorkeling. A big highlight of the resort is the Dolphin Quest. I could watch them all day, such beautiful animals.
We spent two days on either end of the trip just hanging out by the pools, playing cards, and reading. Another day we ventured out to other beaches on the island. Further north, near the Mauna Kea, are the nicest beaches on The Big Island. We spent most of our time at Hapuna State Beach and Waialea Beach (also known as Beach 69). Both are gorgeous with long stretches of white sand. Given the active volcano, this island is ever changing and quite different that it’s older sisters as you move northwest along the island chain. This makes the few completely sandy beaches a commodity on the island.
We got talking to a local family at the hotel one day. They told us about these swings at the end of the Beach 69. Intrigued, we set out to find them as we knew the kids would be really into those! This beach was our favorite, partly because of the trees on the beach, not only did they make great spots for the swings right over the ocean, but they provided beautiful shade when we needed it.
We took a day trip out to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s quite a drive from the other side of the island so be sure to give yourself plenty of time and you may want to bring snacks or a lunch with you as well since the options on the road are slim and few and far between. At the National Park, we did what we always do when we first arrive, talk with the rangers at the visitors center. They give you the best information based on your timeframe, activity level and interests. We often end up on a ranger-led nature walk. They are so full of information and stories, we all learn so much from the National Park rangers. Before heading out, the kids pick up their Junior Ranger Activity Books and get their National Park Passport Books stamped – a must for us – and favorite souvenir every time.
The volcano looks quite a bit different today than on the day we visited. The ash plumes are reported up to 30,000 feet high. A look at the volcano today is something more like this:
If you go to Hawaii, The Big Island, a day planned to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is worth every minute of travel time. You just may want to wait until Pele, the goddess of fire goes back to sleep for a while.
Back at the hotel, we loved being able to venture out on day trips and come back to a beautiful spot to end the day. We started most days out with the enormous breakfast buffet and then worked it off with some family tennis. Their tennis facilities were fantastic!
More recommendations on where to stay:
Our favorite island, Kauai is such a gem and forever a special place in our hearts. I’ve been really wanting to visit Oahu too! What’s your favorite island?
current volcano image credit // Newsela