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Flora / Fauna
Big Island - The Outdoors
The Big Island seems to attract nature lovers and adventurous spirits who like to commune with the great outdoors. If you're a member of this group, you'll certainly want to go hiking, and you may want to spend at least part of your time camping out. Some of the state's best camping facilities are located here, and they are less likely to be crowded than other islands.
Big Island camping areas range from car-accessible county and state parks, to more remote backpacking sites, with a number of basic cabins. Camping spots of all kinds require inexpensive permits, which should be obtained well in advance of your trip. (For State parks, contact the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources at (808) 961-7200 and for the volcano area, contact the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park at (808) 967-7321.)
You could spend many a vacation hiking all the magnificent trails of the Big Island: from the Green Sand Beach of Ka'u in the south to the remote reaches of Waipio, Waimanu, and Pololu in the north; deserted lava fields of Volcanoes National Park to windswept slopes of Mauna Kea.
There are several hiking and camping outfitters who also provide half and full-day hiking tours and several-day hiking and camping trips for large and small groups. Some offer guided nature tours that provide a wealth of information about the island's flora and fauna. Click here for Big Island Hiking and Camping Providers.
No matter how little or how much you hike, make sure you bring along good hiking shoes, as the island's volcanic rock can be tough on the feet, and don't head off without telling someone where you're going. You may want to lose yourself in the island's natural beauty -- but not literally.