Get off the beaten path a bit while on the Big Island of Hawaii and head to South Point. Beautiful scenery and an adventure are waiting for you at the southernmost tip of the United States. (Nope, that's not Key West)
How to get there...
I think renting a vehicle (which is usually a jeep) is the best way to explore the island. (We put nearly 700 miles on ours in one week on the island!) Head south down Hwy 11 until the scenery changes to a more desert-like setting. The look for the sign on the right for South Point Park. There are many areas on the way to pull off and check out the vistas and get a photo.
Google Maps Link
Nice places to catch a view on the way
What to do....
You'll drive 12 miles down SouthPoint RD. right past the massive wind turbines and beautiful horse and cattle ranches on plains that resemble the midwest. As you get close to the coast however the land turns more desert-like and windswept. Keep driving till you are at the water and you'll be at the southern most point of the U.S.A.
Once there you'll be looking out at beautiful torquise water 40 feet below towering cliffs of volcanic rock. There you'll find a board for diving into the ocean 40 foot below with a latter for climbing back out. This is not for the faint of heart. If you are not a good swimmer, just watch. The water is rough here and can push you into the sharp rocks. If it's a calm day and water is flat, you should have no problems at all. Some days it just isn't possible for the best swimmers.
That's a 40 ft drop
A view of the diving platforms
Make sure and grab a snack when you come across a local offering something for sale. There isn't any stores out here and you'll want a snack and a drink. I wrote about The Green Sand Beach the other day. It's just a few miles down the road. It's worth the drive just to see it.
Don't miss the Green Sand Beach
On the way home stop at the Hana Hou Restaurant as soon as you hit HWY 11. It's the southernmost restaurant in the United States, it's good food at a popular place, and it's the place around for a while :)
The entire drive here is beautiful
It is believed that the first Polynesians to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands disembarked here at Kalae somewhere between 400 and 800 A.D. With the ruins of heiau (temples), fishing shrines and other cultural vestiges found here, it’s no wonder this entire southern tip has been registered as a National Historical Landmark. Source
You can also see ancient canoe launches and coastal caves that resemble something like where pirates would have hid their treasure.
Tunnel down 40ft to the ocean. Pirate hiding spot?
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