Renowned for its sandy beaches, sunny climate and tropical atmosphere, Hawaii is – for good reason – one of the worlds most popular tourism and travel destinations. Those seeking a relaxing and exotic vacation always find what they’re looking for in the beautiful state of Hawaii, and many of these visitors actually like it so much they buy a home and move there!
Everyone knows about Hawaiis most popular attractions – sun-soaked beaches, clear blue waters, and decadent resorts – but there are many areas off the beaten path that are worth exploring as well. While not as celebrated as the state’s main tourist areas, these spots offer a unique glimpse of Hawaiis natural beauty and rich culture. The Big Island, in particular, is home to many interesting yet largely unknown destinations worth a trip.
Located at the extreme southern tip of the Big Island, South Point is the southernmost point not only in Hawaii, but in the entire United States. South Point is home to the sprawling Kamoa Wind Farm, as well as miles of rugged cliffs and lush tropical forests. Visitors to South Point can stroll along the areas imposing beach cliffs and see some truly spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Exotic flora and fauna can also be found all over the point, making it a great place for wildlife and bird watching. Other fascinating sites of interest in South Point include the Ka Lae Lighthouse and the archeological ruins of the ancient Hawaiian people. South Point is also known as one of the top fishing spots in all Hawaii. However, do take caution when visiting South Point; its water currents are notoriously dangerous and swimming is highly inadvisable.
This winding, lush nature trail on the east side of the Big Island offers some of Hawaiis most memorable sights. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the states cities and towns, Onomea Trail is a great place for relaxation and serenity. Known for its stunning tropical scenery, this nature trail is perfect for those who wish to see Hawaiis more secluded side.
Panaewa Rainforest Zoo
Home to more than 80 species of animals, the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo is one of the top zoos in the United States. As the countrys only tropical rainforest zoo, it makes for a truly unique and memorable destination. Free of admission, the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo offers a plethora of exotic animals and plant life to see up-close and personal. A petting zoo is also located on the premises, and never fails to intrigue children.
Punaluu Black Sand Beach
This beach boasts miles of Hawaiis famous black sand and warm, turquoise waters. Less crowded and touristy than other beaches on the Big Island, Punaluu Black Sand Beach is renowned for its wondrous natural beauty and unique scenery. The perfect destination for swimming, sunbathing and water sports, this distinct stretch of sand and surf is not to be missed.
Largely hidden from the prying eyes of tourists, this lively city plays host to some of the Big Islands most spectacular and memorable sites. One of the top destinations in Honokaa is Hillawe Falls. The tallest waterfall in Hawaii, Hillawe Falls soars 1,200 feet in the air and is renowned for its breathtaking beauty. Another must-see attraction in Honokaa is the Hamakua Coast, a stretch of coastline known for its lush tropical forests and seemingly endless miles of gorgeous beaches. Other destinations in the city include Waipio Valley and Waimanu Valley, two remote forested areas that offer some of the best possible views of Hawaiis natural beauty. Elsewhere in Honokaa, visitors will find a wide array of great shops and restaurants along Main Street and also an abundance of historic buildings. Quiet and charming, Honokaa is truly one of Hawaiis best kept secrets.
The Big Island offers even more hidden gems worth exploring. Visitors can take in Hawaiis unique culture along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, visit beautiful cities like Waikola and Pahoa, and explore the stunning beaches and seaside views of the Kohala region on the north side of the island. Needless to say, the Big Island of Hawaii is packed with memorable destinations and stunning sites to visit, and any one of those featured on this list is sure to be worth your time!