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FAMILY TRAVEL: The Big Island & Volcanoes

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, April 20th, 2008 at 6:05 am in Family Travel.

The Garcias on a lava flow on the Big Island
If you’re looking for a tropical vacation with a side of volcanic activity, the Garcia family has just the place for you. Read on for their family travel tips…
THE TRAVELERS: Writer Nancy Garcia and her daughter Melissa, age 14.

THE TREK IN A SEC: This Pleasant Hill duo spent 12 days on the Big Island of Hawaii, seeing the active volcano and visiting friends.

BEST LODGING: Holmes Sweet B&B in Hilo had helpful and gracious hosts and a room full of maps, sunscreen, and travel tips, says Nancy. And a last-minute rental at Uncle Billy’s was a convenient place to wait out a flight delay. Plus, it had Internet access, laundry, complimentary breakfast and a pool overlooking the ocean.

BEST EATS: “Spring rolls and sweet bread with yummy, purple sweet potato filling from the Hilo Farmer’s Market for picnicking at a scenic overlook,” says Nancy. “Hilo’s Café Pesto menu has teen appeal. And the Kona-side caterers of Shai’s Lanai, synagogue members from Berkeley, have remodeled a stellar B&B on a bayview coffee farm where guests have vegetarian kitchen privileges. Their Lilikoi Inn also accommodates small groups of families, and special tastings.”

COOL SIGHTSEEING: “Steam vents overlooking the crater at Volcanoes National Park. The area around Mauna Lani seemed to have it all — clear skies, breaching whales, basking green turtles, a sheltered cove, white sand, beachside grill, historical ponds, good snorkeling. Just to the north of the resort, a rocky, public access beach had a lovely seaside lawn with picnic tables, spiffy facilities, paths to petroglyphs and views of snow-capped Mauna Loa.

“Another marvel: crab-hunting mongoose amid lava rocks at tide pools near the Natural Energy Lab. The national park Web site and visitor center have updates about accessing sculpted black lava fields and newly flowing lava.”

1. At the petroglyph path in Waikoloa, there is a completely paved walkway past these stone carvings on the left marked “Kings’ Way.” But the unmarked alternate route is great for strollers.

2. Need carry-on snacks for the plane? The Island Naturals Market and Deli, a sort of mini-Natural Foods, says Nancy, “Just finish any fresh produce before catching a mainland flight. You may find yourself offering some whole wheat bread, cheese and hummus to seatmates!”
Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing us. Or click “comments” and share your travel tips right here.
Looking for more family travel tips? Check out these blog posts too:
Kauai with a Toddler
An African Safari with the Family
Rome with the Bambino
Colonial Williamsburg with the Kids
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City and DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
Paris avec le bebe
Vancouver with the Kids
Sweden & Norway with Teens
The Cote d’Azur with Teens
Off the Beaten Path in Paris
A Midwestern Road Trip with Rollercoasters
Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree
Myanmar with Philanthropically-Minded Teens, and
Yosemite with the Kids.

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