We toured the entire island. We started the day off early (3 AM people - Ethan does not do time change) and drove along the coast to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
We were lucky enough to see a giant rainbow! There was no stop off point to take a picture so we could only capture half of it through the car window - lucky we did because it disappeared a few minutes later.
Along the way we stopped at Punalu'u to see the black sand beach. It was too cold and too early to take a dip in the water but we did get to watch a giant sea turtle make it's way up to beach.
Touching the sand for the first time.
Slowly trundling along.
Sunrise at Punalu'u.
Finally reached Volcanoes Park! Unfortunately it was raining by the time we got up to the top so we didn't get to do much hiking but we did brave the drizzles to see the sights. We first drove down Crater Rim Road:
Steam vents where the ground water sept down to the hot volcanic rocks and turned back to steam.
We stopped at the Jaggar Museum and Ethan really loved learning about the different types of volcanic rocks and seeing the working seismographs. You could also see a great view of the Kilauea caldera from outside the museum. The caldera is 2 miles wide by 3 miles long and from this overlook you can see the sulfur fumes exiting from the main pit crater, Halema'uma'u.
Since the rest of Crater Rim Road was closed due to the volcanic fumes coming from the crater, we headed back to the visitors center and down Chain of Craters Road:
The road curved among fields and fields of lava rocks.
Ethan directed us along using his map of the park (it was printed sideways on the other side).
Running to see the view from a vista point.
The end of Chain of Craters Road stopped at the lava cliffs and the sea arch.
Holei Sea Arch.
After Volcanoes Park, we headed up the north road to Hilo where we did a pit stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. We got to see them make cookies and tried out their macadamia ice cream. Verdict: the chocolate macadamia won over the coconut macadamia hands down, but both were pretty yummy.
Dipping the cookies at the factory.
Akaka Falls. It was raining pretty hard in Hilo by the time we stopped by the falls but Bob and Ethan made a mad dash to see it. Unfortunately the camera was left in the car so the below is a snapshot via this source.
Next we drove up Hamakua Coast and stopped during the brief 5 minutes it wasn't raining at Queen Liliuokalani Gardens.
View of Coconut Island Park.
E tends to use his um, middle finger, to point to objects instead of his pointer finger.
After driving around the entire island we ended the day by watching the sun set back in Kona: