Lunar Landscapes of the Big Island

posted in: Parents Getaways | 18

There is a certain landscape that we think about when Hawaii is brought up. Our minds usually drift to a memory of beaches, palm trees, greenery, and blue water. However, there is a whole different set of landscape that you can find on the Big Island which you don’t expect to see in Hawaii. These landscapes make you wander if they could do some of the sci-fi movies in these areas because they really look out of this world.

For our 15 year anniversary we decided to spend 8 days on the Big Island.

Mauna Kea

If you told me that there is snow in Hawaii I would have a hard time believing you. We actually saw and touched snow in Hawaii. I loved being above the clouds with the sun shining down on us. We were surrounded by snow, cinder cones, and 13 telescopes. Standing on the tallest mountain in the state of Hawaii which is 13,802 feet above sea level was such a memorable experience. Mauna Kea might not look like a tall mountain from the distance because a lot of it is underwater. It is said to be 33,000 feet tall if you measure from its oceanic base.

I learned from this trip that it is always a good idea to pack and bring warm clothes with you even if your packing for Hawaii.

This is a difficult drive and you are not advised to drive here if you don’t have a 4 wheel drive. Also, children with any kind of heart problems should not come here.

The Ka’u Desert – Footprints Trail

This short footprint trail is 1.7 miles round trip and it will take you to the place where footprints were discovered after the volcano eruption in 1790. This trail will take you into a black sand desert. It isn’t something that you would expect to see in Hawaii. In this desert you won’t find scorpions or snakes but you will see fossilized footprints of women and children. It might look like a desert because nothing really grows here but it is not considered a true desert because it rains 39 inches per year.  We were the only ones on the trail and we were quite surprised that it isn’t a popular trail because this was one of our favorite short hikes in Hawaii. This trail is 15 about minutes from the Volcanoes National Parks Visitor Center between marker 39 and 40.

My white large check dress is from Not Perfect Linen

Cape Kumukahi Light

This place is so rugged that it is hard to believe that there is a coast that looks like this. We have never seen a more rugged and uneven coast. It is a beautiful sight with blue water, white clouds, and black rocks but the thought of falling into the water and trying to climb out of it seems impossible and deadly. If you love lighthouses like us then you’ll like this place. This doesn’t look exactly like the lighthouses we are used to but it sure is a lighthouse. This lighthouse is like no other because in 1960 lava flowed right next to the tower but split into two streams which spared the lighthouse but destroyed the keeper’s houses.

If you love sunrises then you might want to consider coming here early to see the sunrise because the sun shines here first every single day in Hawaii due to the fact that it is the Easternmost point on the Island.


My criss cross tights-black is from Senita Athletics

My Mulberry Jacket in Burnt Olive is from Synergy Clothing


This beach park is one crazy and beautiful looking place. Here you get to see the volcanic rocks that the ocean was not able to break down. You also get to see the destruction of the tsunami that hit this place on April 1, 1946 killing 23 students and 4 teachers. The man made harbor that once stood here has been destroyed and wiped out. No one swims at this beach but many come here to watch the waves and see these gorgeous ocean vistas.

The wave which rose 52 feet above sea level crashed into the shore and tore apart the concrete structures of the man made harbor to pieces. The volcanic rocks that cover the shores of the beach withstood the fury of the ocean and it is a great reminder to us how two very different destructive forces of nature have shaped this beautiful and unique Island.


Thank you for reading our post. We share a new post every Thursday at 8 pm Pacific Time.     

Have you been to the Big Island before?                                             

18 Responses

  1. Oh wow! What a gorgeous place! I love all of the landscape and your photos are gorgeous!

  2. I’ve been to the big island twice now. Definitely so much to see and do there. My favorite is snorkeling with seaturtles and the manta ray snorkel! And we learned to surf there!

  3. How beautiful! I would have never thought about snow in Hawaii. I have been wanting to visit there soon and will have to go see these amazing sites you showed.

  4. Oh wow, what breath taking scenery and photos! It looks like it was a beautiful anniversary get away!

  5. Great photos .Such an amazing get-away location I cannot wait to make it to Hawaii there are so many places there that I would love to see.

  6. Journa

    What a very nice place to visit. I love the beach and the island itself. I hope i can also visit there.

  7. Tereza

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Especially love the ones with you in a blue coat. I’ve never heard of this place before and never even knew it existed, it looks magical! x

  8. How beautiful and your photos capture this perfectly. I feel like I’ve done this hike but it’s been so long since I visited Hawaii I can’t remember! Makes me want to go back and take my family. Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Shelby

    I would love to go to Hawaii someday. These pictures are amazing. It looks like you saw a ton of really cool things.

  10. I’ve learned the hard way that you should always pack warm clothes no matter where you are traveling. Evenings can get chilly, especially in Europe.

  11. I’ve never been to Hawaii, mostly because I’m not a big beach person. I grew up in FL so the idea of going to an island isn’t really my speed, but after reading about your time there I may be changing my mind. I love exploring and hiking and checking out interesting places like the mountains.

  12. Wow! What an incredibly magical spot. It really makes me want to start planning that Hawaiian getaway we’ve been talking about!

  13. Oh my goodness this is TOO cool!? We love to travel to geographically interesting places and love to do anything outdoors… this is totally some place we need to add to our bucketlist!

  14. Wow this looks so cool! I have never been to Hawaii before and I just thought of it as a place to go sit on the beach, but this looks like a very cool hike to take.

  15. Nature never fails to surprise me! It’s awesome to see things like snow in unexpected places! I wouldn’t have believed you either. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, your photos are all so lovely.

  16. I went to Hawaii so long ago and loved it. I really want to take my kids. Especially to that high mountain and the rocky beach. We live at the beach on the East Coast so it is totally different.

  17. I had no idea there was snow on the main island in Hawaii! What a fun fact to know. Your photos are amazing! The drive looks lovely!
    Happy Belated Anniversary! Looks like an amazing trip!

  18. Veronica

    This is truly unbelievable! I would never imagine this to be in Hawaii. First I thought it could be somewhere in Swiss Alps, then because of the soil, thought it could be in Turkey or Kazakstan. I am truly impressed. And congratulations on your anniversary!

Leave a Reply