What You Should ACTUALLY do When in Hawaii


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This Thanksgiving break, my dad and I flew to the Island of Hawaii, also referred to as the Big Island. I had never been to Hawaii, or any island for that matter, and I was beyond excited. Although I love Montana, it was nice to get out of town and explore another beautiful place. 

We flew from Bozeman to Utah to Honolulu to Kona, where our trip started. My sister moved to Hilo, a town on The Big Island, and Kona is about an hour away from Hilo. Our first hotel was right on the ocean. If you find yourself in Kona, I recommend the first place we ate at when we arrived: Quinn’s Almost by the Sea. They have amazing food, and it is right on the ocean as well. Also, in Hawaii they have a special drink, POG which is short for: passion orange guava. POG is a tropical juice drink created in 1971 by a food product consultant named Mary Soon, who worked for Haleakala Dairy in Maui, Hawaii. So, if you’re in Hawaii, drink POG! 

On our second day, we spent the day going to beaches around Kona to soak up the sand and the sun. We drove around for a while and ended up staying at Magic Sands Beach. This sandy beach was very popular; it was a good start. The next day we drove to Green Sands Beach. I highly recommend taking this drive. It was the most scenic and surreal drive in my 15 years of living. Green Sands Beach is one of the only beaches in the world that has green sand! We hiked in and stayed there for quite a while, swimming and looking at the sea turtles just beneath our feet. That night, my sister and I went night snorkeling with the company Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii to see manta rays. Their texture and design are mind-blowing. I strongly recommend visiting Green Sands Beach in Kona and going night snorkeling.  

The third day, we drove to a little mountain town on The Big Island named Waimea. My sister’s boyfriend is native Hawaiian and wanted to experience a Luau… so, we went to a Luau! It was an incredible experience, and I recommend it to get a better insight into the Hawaiian culture. Before the Luau, we all went thrift shopping at the local shops in Waimea. It’s worth it to check out the local thrift stores when you visit Hawaii because there are so many items we don’t have at our thrift stores in Montana.  

The next day we took a little drive to Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano; its peak is 4,207.3 meters (about half the height of Mount Everest) above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii and the second-highest island peak in the world. Mauna Kea was an incredible sight to see and makes my list of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. The drive to the top has you sitting above the clouds, which is an incredibly unique experience.  

On the 5th day of the trip, we went to Hapuna Beach. The beach is a long, sandy, open beach with crystal clear water. There were also a couple of shaved ice trucks along it which was a must-have in the 85-degree weather. For the second to last day of the trip, my dad signed us all up for surfing lessons with Kona Surf Co. We had all been surfing several times beforehand in California, but it was worth it to brush up on the basics. The instructor was a very skilled and advanced surfer, and all his tips were practical and informative.