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Big Island see + do

There's so much more to do on the Big Island than kick back at your luxury resort. Everyone makes the requisite pilgrimage to Kilauea Crater, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. But with 11 of the world's 13 recognized climatic zones, the Big Island contains an astounding diversity of natural wonders. If you like driving, you could circumnavigate the island in one long, exhausting, and highly scenic day, but we recommending tackling it in sections over at least three days. There are black (and even green!) sandy beaches, great snorkeling, and some of the best diving in the state. Surfers used to the waves on Maui, Kauai, or Oahu might feel shortchanged, but hikers will be thrilled with the Edenic interior. A new trend on the island is agro-tourism, tours of private farms that give an insight into a growing aspect of the island's economy (www.hawaiiorganicfarmers.org).

Nightlife is next to nonexistent on the Big Island (unless you count bowling alleys and dive-y karaoke bars), so it's best to trade in the boozing for a night dive or a luau. But your absolute best bet for a moonlight activity is to find out where the lava from Kilauea is flowing into the ocean, and head there at sunset: In the darkness of night, you can see red-hot lava meet the cool-blue depths of the Pacific, one of the most amazing sights on the planet.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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