What’s cool about the Big Island is that you can be driving past black volcanic rock one mile and then looking at an insanely lush, green valley—like Waipi’o—the next. Beyond its breathtaking looks, Waipi’o is a culturally significant region: also called the Valley of Kings, this is where King Kamehameha I lived, along with other Hawaiian rulers; and, at one point, thousands of Hawaiians. Today (after more than one devastating deluge), it’s all but deserted, save for a small community supporting the taro fields. You can get an expansive view of the valley and the river that threads it from Waipi’o Valley Lookout, which may be worth the drive itself. From here, if you’re up for some adventure, you can hike down to a black sand beach and better explore the valley on foot. (The water is known to be rough, so it’s not necessarily a spot for everyone to swim.) Along the cliffs in Waipi’o, which climb nearly 2,000 feet, you’ll see hundreds of rushing waterfalls. (Depending on where you’re coming from or driving to after Waipi’o, you might pass through the town of Hawi—there’s an adorable collection of shops and art galleries, as well as Tropical Dreams ice cream.)

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