Kealakekua Bay#11 in Best Things To Do in Hawaii - The Big Island
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Snorkelers like to visit this remote bay on Hawaii's west coast for the tropical fish, sea turtles and Hawaiian Spinner dolphins that are plainly visible just below the calm, shallow water's surface. History junkies make the trek to Kealakekua for a different reason altogether.
Navigator captain James Cook first spotted the bay and stayed here as a guest in January 1779. Weeks later, tensions rose and he was killed on the very same shore. Take time in between snorkel trips and scuba dives to behold the large white Captain Cook Monument that sits across the bay. Recent visitors said the state park offers an interesting history lesson in a beautiful setting. Along with a picnic pavilion and water fountains, there are also restrooms. For more information, visit the state park's website.
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#1 Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Four months after closing due to intense and damaging volcanic activity, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park reopened in mid-September 2018. "The Volcano," as it were, loosely refers to two active volcanoes in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park; specifically, it's Kilauea that's the real must-see. A 4,000-foot-tall mountain, Kilauea has been spitting, spewing and oozing since Jan. 3, 1983 and in May 2018, it started erupting, forcing evacuations and destroying entire communities. Although the eruptions have stopped, Kilauea is still at the top of America's list of volcanoes to monitor.
Most people who come to the park hope to see some lava flow; some travelers see a little bit, others are not as lucky. Check in at the Kilauea Visitor Center for up-to-date information on trails, safety precautions and where to expect lava flow.
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