Breath in Fresh Air on the Big Island

 In Beach, Hawaii


Light beacon at the end of the road

This may sound weird, but there is a spot on the Big Island of Hawaii that is the measure for clean air around the globe. I know I was shocked when I heard it too. But seriously, on the eastern most tip of the island scientist measure the air and set that as the bar for air quality elsewhere. And we were staying just down the street.

At the end of Highway 132, along a bumpy dirt road, lay the remnants of a lava flow from 1960 that measured about 3/10th of a mile high and devoured the town of Kapoho. It doesn’t make the top 10 list for most people when visiting the island but it was so close, we figured we would take a pre-dinner walk.

There is a light beacon in the “parking lot” that really isn’t worth seeing. It is definitely not a lighthouse. It basically looks like a power line tower with a light on top. Taking a deep breath of clean air and hiking the lava fields is why you should really head that way.

Endless lava rock filled the terrain. Sneakers or hiking boots were a must. Dek climbed over rocks, peeked into caves and pointed out ever bit of green growing in the endless black landscape. There were caves our whole family could have slept in, although it’s probably not recommended, not to mention wet when it rains.

I’m not sure this was something we would go out of our way to visit but I certainly don’t regret going. We had the field to ourselves for most of our stay. The view of the ocean was gorgeous. Heck, my lungs were probably just a little bit cleaner after huffing and puffing my way up lava hills.

Vehicles with 4WD are recommended but our tiny economy car made the journey just fine. If you are in the area you should pop on over. Kids will love exploring this harsh lava landscape.

For more great sights to see during your own visit check out the Big Island, Hawaii page. 

Apparently we are a family that cheers on any accomplishment, even just getting over a rock


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See you all tomorrow!

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  • Steve

    That’s so cool that you were at the spot where fresh air is measured for the rest of the world. Kind of makes you an expert on the subject. You are now qualified to judge air wherever you go. Now that’s a credential!

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