A few months ago I was asked to be a part of Urban Outfitters newest edition to the apparel dynasty, Without Walls, a company focused on the adventurous, athletic type. They wanted the insider scoop on the island I grew up on. And what perfect timing. I happened to be on the Big Island and had plenty of time to go on a couple of adventures.
Now I am so excited I can finally share all these photos with you!! It was so hard to hold on to them for so long! But now that the feature is finally out on their blog I can finally show you a few of the places that are so unique and special to me!
When I think about the island of Hawai'i the one word I can think of is diversity. I might just be biased but it is one of the most unique places you could ever visit! In my opinion anyway. There are black sand beaches, white sand beaches, and even a green sand beach. It has the most active volcano and the best star viewing in the world. There some of the most beautiful, dramatic valleys and more waterfalls than you and your grandma can count. If you want to go on a rugged adventure.. this is the place to do it.
So here are a few places on my insider guide to the island of Hawai'i.*
WAIALEA BAY AKA BEACH 69 -- I grew up going to this beach as a kid [when we used to venture to the "other side".] Back then there wasn't a parking lot and close to no one on the beach. And although the beach has gotten a little more popular it still maintains its secluded value. Sit under the Kiawe bush shade or lay out in the calm, blue waters of the bay.
MAHANA BEACH AKA GREEN SAND BEACH -- Located at the most southern point of the Big Island [AND the US] Waialea Bay is down a 3 mile dirt road right at the end of South Point Road. You can hike in or hitch a ride with one of the locals with a 4WD for $15/RT. This bay is very special because it is made up of olivine and one of only four beaches in the world with green sand.
POHO'IKI -- These are one of those spots that will always remain close to my heart. This is the place I grew up perfecting my surf stance, collecting a lot of wana [sea urchins] in my feet, and soaking up a lot of sun damage. It has changed a lot since then but still holds its rugged, somewhat untouched vibe. And still some of the funnest waves I've had!! If you wanna know how some of locals live you gotta take a drive through Puna and down mango grove!
HILO FARMERS MARKET AND OTHER GRINDS -- I've been to my fair share of farmers markets and this one is still my favorite. Again, I might just be biased but it has some of the freshest, most reasonably priced produce and local goodies than anywhere I've been. And there is always an opportunity for good people watching and/or catching a glimpse of a few characters roaming around. A couple of other notable restaurants in the Hilo area are Suisan Fish Market for THE freshest fish and poke, Hawaiian Style Cafe for the largest, most ono portion of Hawaiian food, and Wilson's by the Bay for the best island snow in town. All worth a few extra calories! I promise.
SECRET TURTLE BEACH -- I was only introduced to this spot recently and not very many locals know about this little gem either. But if you ask a local fisherman and they're nice enough to tell you its location you are bound to bump into a few honu [sea turtles] and maybe even get to see a couple hatchlings! It's such a rad zone and what I consider only a glimpse at one of the many hidden treasures of the Big Island. When we hung out on this little beach we popped open a couple coconuts, enjoyed the breeze from the tradewinds, did a little shell hunting, and chatted with the honu.
WAIPI'O VALLEY -- This is my favorite place on earth. Of all the places I have traveled to this is still the one place I find peace and solitude. Known as the place King Kamehameha spent his boyhood, it is now known as the Valley of Kings and considered a very sacred, holy place. Rightfully so. If you go early enough you can walk down the empty black sand beaches and swim in the shore break without seeing or hearing another soul. If you are daring enough to cross through private property you can even make your way to a beastie waterfall in the back of the valley. There is something very magical about this place and it will always have my heart.
Just a locals way of going without walls.
*For those of you who truly know me and the Big Island.. you know I wouldn't give away the best kept secrets of the island. ;)