Hawaii Big Island

Posted: Dec 2021
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The island is most often referred to as the “Big Island” because of its size. You could fit all seven of the other islands inside the island of Hawaii and still have lots of room left over. The Big Island is also the newest of the Hawaiian Islands – formed from the constant volcanic activity… so be prepared for lots of out-of-world trails on this island!



This was our second visit to The Big Island. This place offers a sense of adventure that we can’t find anywhere else – almost as if we were trekking through the lunar landscape as fresh volcanic rocks greet us along the Kīlauea Iki trail. Live volcanos were also active and we caught sight of lava from both the helicopter rides and a night hike out along Devastation trail!

Main Highlights

Kīlauea Iki trail: 4 miles round trip as we descended into what used to be a crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On our earlier trip, we even used one of the “steam vents” to warm up our little Bean’s milk for a midpoint break

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach: Located on the southeastern Kau coast, Punaluu Black Sand Beach is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii. We were lucky to spot the sea turtles bobbling their heads up and down as the waves crashed in

Mahana Beach: Mahana Beach is one of four green sand beaches found throughout the world. The sand gets its green from the presence of olivine. One of the highlights is the 4×4 ride out to the beach – an experience in itself!

Waipio Valley: A steep lane (only for 4x4s!) descended into the valley – we walked in and out with a half-day trail, little Beans and elderly folks in tow. Waipio Valley is the easternmost and largest of the seven windward valleys of Kohala Mountain, and Waipi’o is nicknamed the “Valley of the Kings“

Helicopter Ride: We wrapped up our Big Island experience with a ride on the helicopter and it was awesome to relive our experiences from a bird’s eye view

Photo Reel

Waipio Valley Heliport Kilauea Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Mahana Green Sand Beach
Waipio Valley Heliport Kilauea Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Mahana Green Sand Beach
Steep slope down:

Taking a rest as we took on the 4×4 trail downslope – a beautiful view of the valley behind


Thanking God for these wonderful little Beans and their loving relationship (more like, love/hate) with one another


Awesome trip with extended family – spot the waterfall in the background!

Punalu’u Bake Shop:

Quick stop for Famous Hawaiian Sweet Bread to pack as we head out for a picnic at the black sand beach

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach:

Picnic by the beach – as we spotted the sea turtles’ heads bobbling up and down as waves crashed onto the shores


Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?

Steep slope down:

The little Beans’ grandpa taking a breather as he soaks in the volcanic landscape along Kilauea Iki Trail

Steam from the ground:

The little Beans showing the little “steam vents” that discovered along the trail – this time, to their aunt and uncle!

Night hike:

Checking out the live volcano from a distance along Devastation Trail

View from the top:

Timeless beauty of the clouds, sea and cliffs – appreciated across generations

Stunt props:

Posing as a safe distancing ambassador jumping off a cliff – just for laughs

4x4 adventure:

Bumpy ride across potholes skillfully navigated by the local drivers – absolutely an experience to behold!

Mahana Green Sand Beach:

Steep descent into warm green sand that glitters under the beautiful sun

Prepare for take-off:

Strict safety protocol as they balanced out the weight across the aircraft – after the safety briefings, we are all ready to go!

Helicopter landing:

We went with Blue Hawaiian – and they brought us around the highlights experienced across the last 2-3 days, complete with a helicopter landing on a “private” waterfall

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