Lava + Coral = A Different Kind of Graffiti on the Big Island


If you drive around the Big Island of Hawaii you will notice a whole lot of lava. It’s really quite hard to miss. You may also notice some white rocks scattered here and there. At first you won’t think much of it. Then you’ll start to notice that these white rocks are actually clustered together. They have a purpose. They even have some patterns.

Locals, tourists and artists adorn the endless lava fields with their own version of graffiti art. They spell out their names, ask their beloved to marry them, mourn a lost loved one or simply send a shout out to their favorite rock band using white coral; a sharp contrast against the dark black lava rock. Either way you look at it this roadside artwork certainly breaks up the monotony of a long flat drive of black lava fields.

Head over to the Big Island page for more details on our trip to Hawaii. 

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Showing 9 comments
  • Lisa

    That is so much cooler than a lot of roadside graffiti that you see! I love your Big Island stories – we have been to Maui and Oahu and would love to go to the Big Island next.

  • Becca@RWTYM?

    How cool! I love these sentiments written out in stone!

    Thanks for linking up this week – I appreciate it!


  • cravesadventure

    Have a Great Weekend!

  • Sonja

    I’ve seen this, but it’s been a long time and I’d forgotten! I despise graffiti but have to say this is one example where it’s nondestructive!

  • Patutoru

    BIG problem: those of us born and raised here (and likely others too) view the coral graffiti as GRAFFITI. It’s as bad as spray paint on a building. The lavalands are perfect as they are. The graffiti is messy, may unintentionally damage archeological sites, and destroys the sense of place out there. There are those of us who go out and clean this stuff up. Leave the coral at the shore where it belongs.

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Thanks so much for your comment. I was actually wondering how people who grew up on the island felt about it. The articles I found when researching were calling it art, but not everyone could feel that way. I saw a notice at one of the state parks warning against this type of graffiti. I can totally respect local concern. We have our own spray paint issues in our area that we are constantly combatting. Are there any community groups trying to take action against this type of graffiti?