If you want a Hawaiian nature vacation that's off the beaten track, the Ka'u district is the place to be. This rural and well-preserved southern region of Hawaii's Big Island is largely uncivilized, except for two small villages, and offers unparalleled opportunities to explore vast lava fields, dense jungles, and quiet but spectacularly beautiful coastlines.
Some of the most popular attractions in the Ka'u district include:
-Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The major draw in the Ka'u district is this breathtaking natural park, which offers dramatic scenery and excellent intersecting hiking trails.
-Punalu'u Black Sand Beach: For a glimpse of Hawaii's protected sea turtles, come to world-famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach.
-Ka Lae/South Point: The southernmost point in the United States, Ka Lae is where it is thought that the first indigenous peoples to populate Hawaii entered the island.
-Coffee farms: Hawaii is famous for its quality coffee. Take a tour of a coffee plantation for a fascinating look into the production of one of the world's favorite beverages and the opportunity to sample some fresh local coffee.
-Naalehu and Pahala: These two towns are where most of the sparse settlement in the region is concentrated.
Vacation rentals offer the ideal way to commune with the unspoiled nature that dominates the Ka'u district. From cabins tucked away in quiet corners to coastal condos with striking marine views, vacation rentals offer more space and privacy than hotels and are often available at more affordable rates.
Continue to explore the Big Island by heading east into the Puna district of Hawaii's Big Island. Similarly under-visited by tourists, you can enjoy excellent surfing and beach lounging, all while taking in some of the island's most beautiful views.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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