Hawaii. The Big Island

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As the jet makes its arching descent across on the Big Island of Hawaii, we’re mesmerized by the tropical tableau below–translucent blue water fringed with green rolling hills. The couple across the aisle compares the scenery to Ireland. But when my husband and I step off the plane, the floral fragrances and warm trades winds leave no doubt that we’re in Hawaii.

Exotic birds soar from palm to palm as we wind our way down the drive to a plantation-style inn located 14 miles from Hilo. Every room at the has views of the ocean below, where humpback whales and spinner dolphins frolic in the waters of Pokakumanu Bay.

Paddle on the Kona Coast.Paddle on the Kona Coast. Maybe you'll be lucky as we re. Dolphins surfaced close to our kayaks and then as furtively as they arrived, they disappeared into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Paddle on the Kona Coast. Maybe you’ll be lucky as we re. Dolphins surfaced close to our kayaks and then as furtively as they arrived, they disappeared into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

Find the "Old Hawaii" in Hilo. Don't miss the Farmer's Market, open daily until 4 p.m. except Fridays. The 23-year-old market features more than 200 island farmers, honey-makers, local goat and feta producers, floral artists and crafts people.

Find the “Old Hawaii” in Hilo. Don’t miss the Farmer’s Market, open daily until 4 p.m. except Fridays. The 23-year-old market features more than 200 island farmers, honey-makers, local goat and feta producers, floral artists and crafts people.

Don’t miss the Farmer’s Market in Hilo

 

Snorkel with Manta Rays. We were whisked away from Keauhou Bay just as the sunset. A few minutes later we floated about "Manta Village", an area 25' deep, to observe graceful rays.

Snorkel with Manta Rays. We were whisked away from Keauhou Bay just as the sunset. A few minutes later we floated about “Manta Village”, an area 25′ deep, to observe graceful rays.

Bike the Rim of the Volcano

The minute drive from Hilo to leads to one of the 22 World Heritage sites in the United States and one of two in Hawaii.

During our easy bike ride along the rim of the volcano, we stopped to hike through a lava tube and watch ash and gas spewing from the Halema’uma’u Crater. Don’t miss the nearby Volcano Garden Art Center and make time for lunch in the organic gardens of Cafe Ono.

We joined a three-hour, nine-mile "Bike Volcano" excursion to cruise through thick forests and volcanic rock fields.

We joined a three-hour, nine-mile “Bike Volcano” excursion to cruise through thick forests and volcanic rock fields.

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This story first appeared in travelgirl magazine.

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Category: Hawaii, Adventure, Family, Travel, Luxury

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