While there are many top line attractions on the big island of Hawaii, some travelers crave points of interest that slip underneath the tourism radar.
This place, often passed over by those that pick Oahu or Maui as their destination, are filled with them, so those that come here will have plenty of uncovered attractions to choose from.
If you are wondering where to stay on this island though, know that there are many Big Island vacation rentals that will make it easy to pick a home base that is within reach of the best off the beaten path attractions. Take a look at them with your friends and pick a pad that will make this Hawaii vacation the best yet.
With that out of the way, here are four out of the way sights that we love on the Big Island…
1) Pacific Tsunami Museum
Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are beset on all sides by seismically active regions.
As a result, it has been the target of countless tsunami waves over the centuries, and while societies that have lived on this island chain throughout time have been affected by them, two of the best-known and most destructive disasters have occurred in the 20th century.
The Pacific Tsunami Museum is a tribute to the disasters of 1946 and 1960 that wreaked havoc on the city of Hilo, causing massive damage and loss of life in both instances.
They are also exhibits here that detail the circumstances behind the tragic tsunami that occurred on Boxing Day 2004 in Southeast Asia; while it did not impact Hawaii, it caused the deaths of more than 250,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and in other countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
Think that Key West, Florida is the southernmost point in the United States? Think again, as that honor actually belongs to the town of Naalehu on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Lying a mere 91 miles south of Key West in its latitude, it is a humble town filled with salt of the earth people that will win you over with their friendliness.
The streets of this place are filled with the southernmost-in-the-USA everything, from the southernmost bar, to the southernmost bakery.
The real highlight of this place however is just outside of town on the Pacific Ocean, as you will have a chance to stand on the southernmost tip of land in America.
3) Parker Ranch Museum
Despite the fact that tourism is one of Hawaii’s largest industries, agriculture has been the backbone of its economy for a long time. Ranching is a big part of this equation as well, as you will find out at the Parker Ranch Museum.
Set up on a working ranch totaling 150,000 acres, this institution tells the story of the Paniolo, or the Hawaiian Cowboy.
With horse and wagon rides available, it is a great place to visit with the family, and it makes a perfect before or after activity for those hiking the Waipio Valley.
4) Punalu’u Beach
Those looking for a quiet beach on the Big Island that exemplifies the spirit of this place will want to pay a visit to Punalu’u Beach.
Consisting of pitch black sand, it is a product of the lava flows that created this island in the first place, and with decent breakers throughout the year, it is a great place to watch local surfers do their thing.
Swimmers should be aware that the rip current here is strong, so be especially cautious if you decide to swim here.