Our last full day on the Big Island, we decided to drive over to the western side of the island and see the volcano. There were a few interesting things that we passed by during our 2 hour drive. The first place we stopped was a road side overlook where you could see the coastline and lava flow from different time periods.
The newest lava flow is black, and as it ages it will turn brown. On the left side of the photo below, you can see part of a wind farm.
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Hana Hou, which is the southern most restaurant in the US.
I had the Stuffed Papaya. It is half a papaya that is filled with Macademia nut chicken salad served on a small green salad with Lilikoi Vinaigrette. It was very good. We also ordered one Lilikoi lemonade and shared it. Lilikoi is yellow passion fruit.
We both had a slice of their Macadenia Nut coconut creme pie for dessert. Yummy.
After lunch, we drove to see another black sand beach called Punalu'u Beach. This beach was easy to get to - unlike the other black sand beach we visited. There were several families there, and a number of swimmers.
Tent camping is allowed here, but there aren't any cabins. I think this would be a really fun place to camp with kids. There is a public restroom with showers.
At one time, this beach was a popular place for Hawaiians to get fresh water from the many springs that bubble up in the bay. They would swim out with their gourds, slowly turn them upside down over the fresh water to fill them, cover the hole with their finger, and swim back. The word "Punalu'u" actually means "diving spring".
We got to see an endangered sea turtle on the beach!