I have visited all the main Hawaiian Islands at least twice, always with a flutter of joy, but the one I fervently return to, my favorite, is the Big Island.
It’s not a typical tropical island, with white sand beaches, sand as fine as sugar. It’s paradise in a raw form, with fiery volcano eruptions, and warm Pacific waves meeting porous lava sprawls.
The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is built from five volcanoes, some of which are still active (see map below). It is the largest and youngest island of the chain. At it’s widest point, it is 93 miles (150 km) across.
The volcano activity is literally the foundation of this island. Eruptions have changed the shape of the land, sent residents scampering, closed roads, and claimed lives.
So what is it about the Big Island that makes it so glorious?
The green sea turtles foraging in the lava rocks.
The vibrant tropical fish and colorful coral.
Expansive ocean vistas and endless ways to ride the waves.
Psychedelic lava patterns with pooled puddles, crabs, and shorebirds.
Sitting beneath the rattling palm fronds, steeping in the magic of the black sand beaches.
Flowers and fragrance and geckos.
Adventuring inland and up into the mountains to see the native birds and forests.
Sitting quietly in the parks, watching the colorful birds and Hawaiian families, graced by the gentle fragrance of plumeria.
Driving across the island on Saddle Road, surrounded by miles and miles of lava fields.
Hiking in the old volcano craters and lava tubes.
Watching Kilauea Volcano smoke and spew.
Relaxing on the lanai and watching the sun set.
Thanks for joining me on the Big Island…or as they say in Hawaii, Mahalo.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander