Escape Fun and Sun 2022 - Page 29

THE BIG ISLAND ( HAWAII )

The Big Island has a little something for everybody . Whichever route you take , you have a good chance of seeing something awe-inspiring .
If you ’ re the sort of person who enjoys gazing upward at a clear night sky and contemplating your place in the universe , the summit of Mauna Kea offers just such an opportunity . The highest point on the Big Island , it ’ s home to an astral observatory that will leave you feeling simultaneously humbled and inspired .
Or , if the mysteries of the seas entice you as much as the skies , snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay will surely do the trick . If you choose this destination , you ’ ll see a dazzling reef — teeming with colorful marine life — which quickly tapers off into a sudden drop , giving the snorkeler a brief illusion of gliding over a sheer cliff .
However , if you ’ re looking to pack the most awe and wonder into one trip , Hawaii Volcanoes National Park might be your best bet . While you won ’ t see the same primordial soup from which life on earth sprang over 3 billion years ago , some of the views in this park can certainly offer a glimpse of what our planet ’ s early history might have looked like . You can even walk through the inactive lava tubes which now form a network of winding underground caverns .
In fact , you won ’ t make it far out of the main airport before the island ’ s volcanic history becomes apparent . Coming in for a landing at Kailua-Kona International Airport looks a bit like touching down on Mars , with red and black volcanic rock swept across acres of land . Although the eruption it came from was over a century ago , it still looks like could have happened this year — at least it would if it weren ’ t for the families of wild goats traversing the rocky terrain .
On these islands , a barren landscape can quickly turn lush and lively . If you find more awe in life ’ s simpler pleasures ( or if you just love coffee ), it ’ s hard to beat the Kona Coffee Belt on the Big Island . There are a variety of plantations to choose from , most of which will provide a similar experience : scenic tropical atmosphere and rich Kona coffee ( grown only on this island ).
Whatever your cup of tea ( or coffee ), odds are there will be something on the Big Island to rekindle your childlike sense of wonder .
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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