Hike down to a black-sand beach of volcanic origin and discover the lasting influence of King Kamehameha, who was born nearby in the stunningly beautiful countryside.
After departing from the pier, you will soon arrive at a statue of King Kamehameha I, which stands near the site where he was born. Kamehameha is best known for uniting the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810, and the statue recognizes his accomplishments.
A wonderfully scenic drive will then bring you to the Pololu Valley, a verdant landscape that is still only sparsely populated despite being first settled in the 15th century. You will have the option of admiring the spectacular coastal scenery from an elevated lookout or hiking down to the black-sand beach.
Made from lava that cooled instantly and shattered when it flowed into the sea, the black sand retains more heat than white sand. Consequently, sea turtles favor it for their nests.
You will enjoy another perspective of the Big Island's rocky northern shore at Keokea Park, where you will stop for lunch. The coast isn't protected by offshore reefs, so the surf here is strong, rough and wonderfully picturesque. It is an ideal setting for photos.
A bit inland, you will find Hawi, a free-spirited community with plenty of eclectic shops, including the Kohala Coffee Mill. You will stop there for a cup of coffee made from Kona beans and a scoop of local, hand-crafted ice cream.