KILAUEA KONA Flaunting eight climate zones and 4,028 square miles, Hawaii, the Big Island begs to be explored by car. First, check in to Kilauea Lodge, a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, to rest your muscles for tomorrow’s adventure: exploring the nearby lava-rock terrain with Volcano Bike Tours.
The next day, fuel up on malasadas (sugary pudding pastries) at Tex Drive-In in Honokaa. Head to the northwest to ride ATVs through eucalyptus forests with RidetheRim, and take a dip in the headwaters of Hiilawe Falls. Come afternoon, make your way to the Kohala Coast on the northwest tip of the island, and settle into an oceanfront condo at Mauna Lani Point.
After catching some morning rays on the sand, lunch at Sweet Potato Kitchen, a vegan-friendly, gluten-free cafe that dishes up everything including chocolate-chip banana bread from scratch. Then stroll around Hawi town’s art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. The next day, sign up for the Kona Boys kayak and snorkel excursion for an up-close view of a thriving reef home to fish, turtles and manta rays.
Note from the road: Routes get congested around Christmastime, the Ironman triathlon in October and the Merrie Monarch Festival in April.