Natural Destinations Around Hilo

May 25, 2016 – We stayed at another Air BnB property, this one in Volcano, HI.  Our accommodations were a small but functional guest cottage, set in the middle of the rain forest that is on this part of the island.  There were orchids growing on the trees and a small koi pond outside our door.  On this morning we could really appreciate our surroundings, since on the last night we arrived in pitch blackness.

We enjoyed our stay in Volcano.
We enjoyed our stay in Volcano.

Since we were inside a pretty thick rain cloud up in Volcano, we decided to tour some natural attractions between Hilo and Volcano. Our first stop was Ahalanui County Beach Park, a volcanic hot spring alongside the ocean. We enjoyed checking out the pool constructed besides the coast, but we only stayed long enough to grab some photos. If you bring a swimsuit, the pool offers a unique bath-like experience on the island. Do be aware that swimming in the pool is not recommended with open wounds.

Getting to the beach park early will ensure a parking spot, and a prime spot at the pool
Getting to the beach park early will ensure a parking spot, and a prime spot at the pool

After some beach exploration, we moved inland to Lava Tree State Monument. This was one of the most unique places that we’ve traveled to, as the lava molds from the trees aren’t something that you can see in many places around the world. Like the beach park, it is a bit of a drive to get here from the more common tourist sites. That being said, the drive is well worth it. If you get caught in the rain like we did, there are some sheltered benches where you can take a break. It is Hawaii, so rain can happen any time.

Here is a closeup of one of the lava tree molds.

After checking out the lava trees, we trekked back to Hilo for some lunch. We had a craving for some sushi, so that meant a trip to Dragon Kitchen. The location itself is in a market shared with a few other shops and restaurants (think food court), but the sushi was some of the best on the island. We enjoyed some tuna and salmon rolls, but I don’t think you’ll find a bad item on the menu, especially for the price.

The beaches around Hilo have more of a rocky vibe than a sandy vibe.

Besides really good and inexpensive sushi, Hilo also has a large combination of beach parks and water features within the immediate area. We decided to check out two of these water features, Pe‘epe‘e Boiling Pots and Rainbow Falls, right after lunch. We finished out the day with some relaxing walks through the Liliuokalani Gardens and Richardson’s Beach Park. Each area was unique, but our favorite part of the afternoon was watching sea turtles swim around the waters of Richardson’s Beach.

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