Big Island Hawaii Beach Booker
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Long ago, Polynesians traveled the ocean searching for land. Suddenly, in the distant horizon, the sky glowed red.

Heading towards the light, these seafarers discovered the volcanic firework display of Hawaii's Big Island. Generations have passed, but sparkling blue waters continue to lap over primal lava rocks, bubble across white, black and green sand beaches, and splash up sheer cliffs for modern day seafaring visitors to enjoys.

These visitors have come to appreciate the island's diversity that contributes to its unique history, culture and landscape. Fashioned by five massive volcanoes, Hawaii's Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 4,038 square miles, the youngest at 800,000 years, and the most diverse, boasting 11 of 13 world climate zones.

The off-the-beaten-path beach adventure begins in Hilo. Along the coast of Keaukaha enormous boulders and lava rocks create protective coves for refreshing water fun. A favorite swimming hole is Richardson's Ocean Park. A picturesque brackish water pond leads to lava rocks that slope into the clear, ocean. The calm waters make it a perfect place to swim, snorkel or kayak with the abundant sea life. When conditions are right, building surf makes it a great place for boogie boarding. A restroom facility is available, and a lifeguard is on duty throughout the day.

The brilliant white sand of Hapuna Beach State Park on the Kohala Coast is 61.8 acres of beachgoer's delight. During the winter Hapuna's fantastic waterpower creates the perfect bodysurfing ride, while families with young children can find calmer waters for great snorkeling during the summer. Park facilities add to the comfort of the most talked about white-sand beach on Hawaii's Big Island.

Heading south, visitors find the salt and pepper shore of Anaehoomalu Bay. The spirit of the ancient royalty who lived and played in its bounty and beauty may still be sensed in the gentle breeze. Anaehoomalu Bay features a restored fishpond where fish delicacies were reserved for the alii or Hawaiian royalty. Discover them behind the coconut palms that line the sandy beach. In the water, snorkelers delight in the calm waters where sea turtles and other marine life reside. Restrooms, showers, picnic tables and plenty of parking make this beach easy to access and enjoy.

The southern tip of the island, also the southern most part of the United States, is South Point or Ka Lae. The view of sheer cliffs plunging into the mysterious depths of a navy blue ocean, captivate the imagination - South Point is known as the landing spot for the earliest Polynesian voyagers.

East of South Point, hearty travelers find the trail that traverses three miles in open terrain to the famed Green Sands Beach. The hike leads to an unassuming ridge where green sands slope steeply into a secluded bay. The scenery is protected by a pu`u (a cinder cone mound) of limestone and other sediment. This cliff has been sculptured by the relentless southern winds into layers that sparkle with the same green grains. The sand's unique color comes from the olivine of ancient lava flows. On this trip be sure to pack fluids and snacks, as there are no comfort stations or facilities.

A more relaxing beach experience may be found at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach where beachgoers and sea turtles share the luxuriant black sand and refreshingly cool waters.

Punalu'u translates to "dive into the spring waters," and near the shoreline these fresh water springs can be seen bubbling in pools. Snorkelers enjoy the frequent sea turtle encounters but should keep in mind that sea turtles are protected from human interference by federal laws. Pavilions and campsites at one end of the park are well equipped with restroom facilities. Lei stand vendors also provide unique gifts, turtle information and snacks.

While on the Big Island, it is easy to slow down and enjoy the island lifestyle by visiting one of many unique beaches.

Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.

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