Hawaii Big Island Vacation Ideas Hawaii Big Island - Road Trip Planner

Most Scenic Drives in Hilo, Kona, Volcano, Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii

Things to do / Travel Guide

Many of the Big Island's roads are scenic, offering views of inland volcanic peaks and wild coastline. In particular, three routes have been singled out as the best.

The Akoni Pule Highway (SR 270,) connecting at Hawi to the Kohala Mountains Road (SR 250), is 38 miles long and covers both the coastal and inland areas of North Kohala. The inland segment of the route cuts through the foothills of the Kohala mountains, offering broad vistas down to the sea, up to the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, and, on a clear day, even to Maui.

The Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is 23 miles long. The road starts at the Crater Rim Drive, with many opportunities to peer into the Kilauea Caldera crater, and abruptly ends near the ocean, where the road has been cut off by recent lava flows. More specifically, the drive descends from the forests around the Kilauea Caldera crater, passing by several other easily accessible volcanic craters. After passing the Puu Loa Petroglyph trailhead, the road descends further down the lava covered slope until finally reaching the coast. The road ends at the lava flow from Puu Oo's 1983 eruption, which continues until today. A difficult hike from this point will take you to a place where you can get a closer look at the active lava flow. During daylight hours, a plume of steam is sometimes visible at the point where the lava meets the sea. At night, the red glow of lava can be seen higher up on the mountainside. For the best lava flow viewing experience, it is recommended that you arrive at dusk. Don't forget to bring a flashlight and binoculars.

The Pepeekeo 4-mile Scenic Drive is a short drive through the “jungle,” located about 10 miles north of Hilo. Access to the drive is from Highway 19, between the 7 and 8 mile markers.