Local Area Attractions

Visitor’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers!

Banyan Drive tree’s (Hilo)
County Statistics Hawaii
Consolidated Railroad
State Bird
State Fish
State Flower
Waipi`o Valley


Akaka Falls [Honomu] (Nice walk; tall falls)

Captain Cook (South Kona; rent a kayak for a fun time)

City of Refuge (South Kona)

Hapuna Beach is a part of a 61-acre park, a wonderful sandy beach, 1/2 mile long and almost 200 feet wide during the summer months. Swimming conditions here are usually excellent in the summer. Surf can be hazardous in the winter (Let the locals do the surfing and swimming then!). This beach has frequently been voted as the best beach in the US. There is easy access to the water, full facilities, crystal clear water and beautiful scenery. Snorkeling is great at the south end of the beach where the fish are varied and there is a coral reef.
Hapuna's popularity is due in part to shaded grass and picnic tables that attract visitors and locals alike. No matter how packed the parking lot is, the big beach seldom seems crowded, but you can find even more seclusion by walking north around the rocks to the gorgeous arc of sand fronting the Prince Hotel; look for good snorkeling around the rocks at the north end of that beach when the water is calm.
If you really want a memorable experience, you will be at the beach a dawn! The water will be warm no matter the temperature of the air. The sand will be pristine, the water clear blue. Its worth the early rise.

Hawaii Volcanoes Nat’l Park (Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum open
8:30am - 4:00pm daily. Entrance Fee $10 per vehicle. The minimum tour will include: Museum and Film

Volcanno National Park
The park stretches from the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet to sea level. Hawaiian plants and animals began to evolve over 70 million years ago in nearly complete isolation and over 90% of the native terrestrial flora and fauna in Hawai`I are found only in the Hawaiian islands. This level of endemism surpasses all other places on Earth - even the Galapagos Islands. Special species include birds, carnivorous caterpillars, the largest dragonfly in the USA, endangered sea turtles, and just one native terrestrial mammal - a bat. Of the 23 surviving endemic Hawaiian songbirds, those living within the Park include six Hawaiian honeycreepers; `apapane, `amakihi, `i`wi, and three federally listed as endangered; `akepa, `akiapola`au, and the Hawai`i creeper. There are also a native thrust (‘oma`o) and a native monarch (`elepaio). Another three species of endemic Hawaiian birds found within the Park are also endangered; the nene, or Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian petrel, and `io or Hawaiian hawk.
Kilauea Eruption by the Numbers:
Age 25 Average Temperature of lava: 2,100 Fahrenheit
Born: January 3, 1983 12:31 a.m.
Rate of eruption: 50,000 gallons per minute
Number of structures burned: 190
Miles of highway covered: 8.9
Volume of lava: .8 cubic miles since eruption began\
Land covered by lava: 46 square miles of private, state, and federal land
Volume of sulfur dioxide: 17.6 million tons since eruption began
Number of lives lost: 5
Average annual number of visitors to Park: 1.5 million New land added to the Big Island: 212 acres

Volcano House Rim View, Crater Rim Drive (11 miles), Observatory, and Thurston Lava Tube. Short hikes: Bird Park, Kilauea Iki, Devastation Trail.

Imiola Astronomy Center ($14.50; Tue-Sun 9am - 4pm)

Manuka State Park (South Kona - 50 minute walk; excellent view of a "Pit Crater")

Mauna Kea Observatories:
Hawaii is Earth's connecting point to the rest of the Universe. The summit of Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawaii hosts the world's largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries. The combined light-gathering power of the telescopes on Mauna Kea is fifteen times greater than that of the Palomar telescope in California -- for many years the world's largest -- and sixty times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.
There are currently thirteen working telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea. Nine of them are for optical and infrared astronomy, three of them are for submillimeter wavelength astronomy and one is for radio astronomy. They include the largest optical/infrared telescopes in the world (the Keck telescopes), the largestdedicated infrared telescope (UKIRT) and the largest submillimeter telescope in the world (the JCMT). The westernmost antenna of the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) is situated at a lower altitude two miles from the summit.
Geography of Mauna Kea:
Mauna Kea ("White Mountain") is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, the largest and southernmost of the Hawaiian Islands. It is located about 300 km (190 miles) from Honolulu, which lies on the island of Oahu. The highest point in the Pacific Basin, and the highest island-mountain in the world, Mauna Kea rises 9,750 meters (32,000 ft) from the ocean floor to an altitude of 4,205 meters (13,796 ft) above sea level, which places its summit above 40 percent of the Earth's atmosphere. The broad volcanic landscape of the summit area is made up of cinder cones on a lava plateau. The lower slopes of Mauna Kea are popular for hunting, hiking, sightseeing, and bird watching in an environment that is less hostile than the barren summit area.
Why Mauna Kea is a unique site for astronomy:
Mauna Kea is unique as an astronomical observing site. The atmosphere above the mountain is extremely dry -- which is important in measuring infrared and submillimeter radiation from celestial sources - and cloud-free, so that the proportion of clear nights is among the highest in the world. The exceptional stability of the atmosphere above Mauna Kea permits more detailed studies than are possible elsewhere, while its distance from city lights and a strong island-wide lighting ordinance ensure an extremely dark sky, allowing observation of the faintest galaxies that lie at the very edge of the observable Universe. A tropical inversion cloud layer about 600 meters (2,000 ft) thick, well below the summit, isolates the upper atmosphere from the lower moist maritime air and ensures that the summit skies are pure, dry, and free from atmospheric pollutants.
Tour operators:
Arnott’s Lodge Mauna Kea Sunset & Star Show $110 per person:
Hawaii Eco Tours (Mauna Kea Summit & Stars) $170 per person:
Hawaii Eco Tours (Mauna Kea Summit Adventure) $190 per person:
Mauna Kea Summit Adventures $190 per person:

Mauna Loa The Hawaiian name "Mauna Loa" means "Long Mountain." This name is apt, for the subaerial part of Mauna Loa extends for about 120 km from the southern tip of the island to the summit caldera and then east
northeast to the coastline near Hilo. Rising gradually to more than 4 km above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on our planet. Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawai`i and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined. Mauna Loa is among Earth's most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. Its most recent eruption was in 1984. Mauna Loa is certain to erupt again.

Mauna Kea Observatory (Groups should book a 4-wheel van from Arnott’s Lodge: 808-969-7097; Please note you cannot take a rental vehicle on the Saddle Road.) Miloli`i Fishing Village and Bay (View of o l d Hawaii; easy snorkling) Onomea Tropical Botanical Gardens ($15; Everyday except holidays 9am - 5pm) Rainbow Falls [Hilo](Only interesting if its raining hard)

Banyan Drive's trees (Hilo)

These Banyan trees were planted by the famous. Not all of the signs are in good repair, but if you consider it a treasure-hunt you might enjoy finding the tree planted by each of the following:

Daniel Louis Armstrong*
(May 6, 1963 1901-1971 A charismatic, innovative American jazz musician nicknamed Satchmo, for satchel-mouth, and Pops.) Dr. Grover Batten (1958 - 1976 Surgeon and President of the Board of the Hawaii Medical Library) Vicki Baum (1888 - 1960 Austrian writer. Best known for "People at a Hotel," 1929 which was made into an Academy Award winning film: Grand Hotel. She is considered one of the first modern best sellers.) Mary Boland (1880-1965 American state and film actress. Her greatest success on the stageIn the 1920s was the comedy The Cradle Snatchers. Her paramour was Humphrey Bogart in one of his first roles.)
Dr. Benjamin D. Bond (1937 Doctor in Kohala 1884. Son of famous Missionary Elias Bond, Who founded the Kal hikiola Church. See Emma Bond) Mrs. Emma Renton Bond (1889 married Benjamin D. Bond. On Arbor Day, 1937, she Planted a tree in memory of her husband who had imported more plants and trees to Hawaii Island than any other person up to his time.) Virginio A. Carvalho (Portuguese member of Hawaii House: 1937-1939, Senate 1941-1943) Cecil B. deMille (Legendary film director and producer Cecil B. DeMille was most noted for his epic extravaganzas, like The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show on Earth.) George Dern (1872-1936 54th Secretary of War; grandfather of actor Bruce Dern and the greatGrandfather of actress Laura Dern.) William A. Duvall, Sr. (1945-1951 Eastern Star; Mayer of College Park, best known as the home of the University of Maryland and home to the "Archives II" facility of the US National Archives.)

James Farley (1888-1976 American politician who served as head of the Democratic National Committee and Postmaster General. He was the presidential campaign manager for Franklin D. Roosevelts 1932 and 1936 campaigns. The Landmark James Farley Post Office building in New York City, Moynihan Station, and Madison Square Garden are all designated in his honor.)

William Gargan (1905-1979 American motion picture and television actor. While he appeared as detective Ellery Queen, he was best known for his role as Detective Martin Kane in the 1949-51 radio-television series, Martin Kane, Private Eye.) Amelia Earhart (1932 First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and American continent) Lincoln Ellsworth (1880-1951 American explorer, engineer, and scientist who led the first trans-Arctic (1926) and trans-Antarctic (1935) air crossings.) Premier Sun Fo (When Chiang Kai-shek established the Nanking Nationalist Government. In 1928, he created a presidency for Executive Yuan instead of a premiership, in order to show the difference between his government and the previous one in Beijing. This government was moved to Chongqing during the Sino-Japanese War and at the end of the Chinese Civil War relocated to Taipei where it exists today. Sun Fo was premier from

Mrs. Polly Mooney Forestier (First woman president of Civitan International service club)

King George V. (Planted in honor of his Silver Jubilee)

Arthur Godfrey* (1903-1983 He was one of the important on-air stars of the first decade of American television. Indeed prior to 1959 there was no bigger TV luminary than this freckled faced, ukelele playing, host/pitchman.)

Herbert Grant (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Helen Hale* (Dec 29, 1964 Following a series of tidal waves 30' high that devastated Hilo in 1960, Hale, who was the chairperson of Hawaii County, agreed to her support to an inspiration of kumu hula George Na`Ope and Gene Wilhelm - Merrie Monarch Festival.)

Fannie Hurst (Author) Thomas Jaggar (1871-1953 Famed vulcanologist, founder and first director of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

Bobby Jones (1923-1930 won 13 major golf tournaments before retiring at age 28.)

Toyohiko Kagawa (Monshu of the Hongwanji Buddhist Kosho Ohtani; Japanese Christian reformer)

Abigail Wahiikaahuula Campbell Kawananakoa (1882-1945 Was a politician and Princess of Hawai'i by virtue of her marriage to Prince David Laamea Kahalepouli Kawananakoa Piikoi. Princess Abigail was the daughter of James Campbell, one of the wealthiest industrialists in the Territory of Hawai'i. Upon the death of her brother-in-law, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole in 1922, Princess Abigail effectively became the leader of all native Hawaiians and took an active part in Hawai'i politics as her subjects' advocate. She also assumed the role of heir to the throne as native Hawaiians continued to pray for the return of their sovereignty. Princess Abigail was a devout Republican and worked to develop its platforms and pursue its ideals. In 1924 she became the Republican national committeewoman for Hawai'i and served in that capacity for twelve years. Her prominence on the national stage made Princess Abigail a role model for women in Hawai'i.

Bishop Gerald Kennedy (1907 - 1980 United Methodist Bishop who was Time Magazine Man-of
-the-Year 1964. The tree he planted was not a banyan.)

George Leach Hendrik Willem van Loon Albert MacKenzie Lt. Comdr. Knefler "Sock" McGinnis (Established a new world's record for Class C seaplanes of 3,281 miles between Cristobal Harbor, C. Z. and San Francisco Bay in October 1935.)

Edna Best Marshall Herbert Marshall

Dr. James McCandless (1941)

Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado (1937 Representative to Philippine Constitutional Convention Of 1934 from Cebu Island who boasted among his qualifications for drafting a constitution for this new nation a low golf handicap, the power to heal the sick, and an ability to fly! The impoverished Cebuano constituents worshiped him as prophet and elected him to express their hopes for social justice.) Henry Morgenthau (Secretary of the Treasury of the United States during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.)

Mrs Pat Nixon (Aug 31, 1972 Planted this tree while on vacation when wife of President Richard Milhouse Nixon.)

Richard Milhouse Nixon (Senator) (1913 - 1994 Nixon is the only person elected twice each to the offices of both vice president and president of the US. He is also the only president of the United States to have resigned from the office. Note the date on the sign, April 12, 1962, is off by a decade! Interestingly, the tree he planted was destroyed when a 25-foot-long cabin cruiser Jay Conquest was carried ashore by a seismic sea wave on Nov 4, 1952 and landed squarely atop the tree. Pat Nixon replanted the current tree when she planted one for herself on Aug 31, 1972.)

Dr. Daniel Poling Otto Rose Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 32nd President of US. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.") Babe Ruth (One of baseballs greatest hitters. But did you know that in 1916, Babe set a record that still stands today? Ruth took the pitchers mound for the Boston Red Soxs in Game 4 against the National League Champion Brooklyn Robins. He got off to a rocky start in the first inning by giving up a quick run, but settled down to pitch 13 scoreless innings for the 2-1 win. The 14-inning gem stands as the longest complete game in World Series history.)

Oren E. Long (May 11, 1951 Governor of Hawaii 1951-1953)

Oscar Littleton Chapman (Dec 12, 1951 US Secretary of the Interior)

Earl Warren (Jan 11, 1952 Governor of California)

Lord Abbot Kosho Ohtani (Mar 27, 1952 Nishi Hongwangi Buddhist Temple)

Dr. Courtney Shropshire (Founder of Civitan International service club; planted 1991 by Polly Mooney Forestier) Ross Hunt Skinner James West (Boy Scouts of America)


Here are the number of missing trees:
Aloysius Harry Borgouts (Mar 17, 1936 Father Louis)

Lewis Browne (May 2, 1936 Noted Jewish rabbi turned author, radio commentator, lecturer, and world traveler.)

Mrs Melville Mucklestone (July 18, 1936 President American LegionAuxiliary for the state of Illinois.)

Rev Emilio C. Yadao (Nov 15, 1935 Planted to commemorate the proposed independence of the Philippines.)

County of Hawaii Statistics

Land: 4,028 sq miles (all of the rest of the state is only 2,394!) Population: 172,000 (state: 1,285,000) Density: 36 per sq mile (all of the rest of the state is 189) Median value of occupied home: $300,000 (the USA is $120,000)
Hawaii Consolidated Railroad (HCR)
Like the Oahu Railway and Land Company (OR&L), the HCR grew out of a necessity for good transportation at the turn of the twentieth century. Though not the first railroad on the Big Island, it was certainly the most ambitious. Its principle backer was Benjamin Dillingham, the businessman who also started the OR&L, among numerous other Hawaiian companies. In the late 1890s Dillingham purchased land near the growing city of Hilo, and it was this land that would become his Olaa Sugar Company plantation. On March 28, 1899, Dillingham received a charter to build the original eight miles of the Hilo Railroad that connected the Olaa sugar mill to Waiakea, soon to become the location of Hilo's deepwater port. Line extensions continued apace. The Olaa line was completed in 1900, immediately followed by a seventeen mile extension to Kapoho, home of the Puna Sugar Company plantation. Immediately after that two branch lines were constructed, also to sugar plantations, and then the railroad was extended north into Hilo itself. A chiefly tourist line, branching from Olaa, was built inland 12.5 miles up the mountain to Glenwood where visitors to the Volcano House near Kilauea Volcano would then transfer to buses. Due to stiff competition from motor vehicles, the Glenwood extension was scaled back to Mountain View in 1932. At this point the Hilo Railroad's southern section was fairly complete, and with strong sugar-related traffic the company was financially healthy. However, the company's fortunes would change drastically when Dillingham and other company owners in 1907 petitioned the US Congress and Territory of Hawaii to build a breakwater and improve Hilo's harbor. In exchange for those projects the Hilo Railroad had to build a line north-northwest of Hilo up the rugged Hamakua coast. While the 33.5 mile Hamakua Division was an engineering marvel -- the railroad was forced to blast three tunnels and construct 22 large wooden tressels and thirteen large steel tressels -- it was the most expensive railroad mile for mile in the world at that time. The tremendous expense forced the company into receivership by 1914, and by 1916 it was sold in foreclosure proceedings. The company was reorganized as the Hawaii Consolidated Railway (HCR). While the new Hamakua line had been extremely expensive to build, and was costly to maintain, it was especially popular with tourists, and combined with regular passengers and traffic generated from the numerous sugar mills along the way, the HCR made great strides in paying down its debt. Increased revenue during World War II made the company that much more prosperous. Ironically, just as the HCR was finally emerging from its long-standng financial troubles, it was literally hit with a blow from which it never recovered. On the morning of April 1, 1946, a massive tsunami struck Hilo and Hamakua coast, devastating the city and wiping out instantly a number of railroad bridges. The destruction was so massive that the HCR filed for abandonment soon after the tsunami, receiving permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission to do so as of December 31, 1946. Parts of the original Hilo Railway line southeast of Hilo were taken over by the local sugar plantations, but those were soon abandoned for trucks in 1948. Despite its destruction, the bridge-laden Hamakua division was later appropriated by the Territorial Government and became part of the road north out Hilo.


The closest medical facility to the Camp is a 24x7 emergency room in Honokaa. Hilo has two urgent care centers and a hospital. Waimea has a hospital.
Kona has a urgent care center and a hospital.

Restaurants (Recommended)

½ Ken’s Pancake House (Near Sports Complex)
½ I-HOP (Mall)
** Don’s Grill (Near Sports Complex)
** Maui Taco (Mall)
** Coconut Grill (Near Sports Complex)
** Freddy’s (Near Sports Complex)
** Mio’s (Japanese)
*** Café Pesto (Bay Front)
*** Hilo Bay Cafe (Wal*Mart Shopping Mall)
*** Nang Mai (Thai; one block mauka from Bay Front behind Garden Exchange)

½ Tex’s Drive In

** Paniolo
** Outback Steakhouse (Alii Drive)
** Bubba Gump (Great view - Alii Drive)


Cookies & Candies - Hilo: Big Island Cookies (Excellent take-home packages; free samples) Drugs - Long’s (Hilo & Kona)
Hilo: Safeway, KTA (Puainako across Prince Kuhio Mall), Cost-U-Less (bulk), Sack N Save, Foodland
Kona: COSTCO (bulk)

Tourist items - Hilo Hattie
Very special aloha wear - Zig Zane, Hana Hou (Hilo Bay Front)

State Bird

The Nene (pronounced "nay-nay") is a land bird and a variety of Hawaiian Goose. It has adapted itself to life in the harsh lava country by transforming its webbed feet into a claw-like shape and modifying its wing structure for shorter flights. Hunting and wild animals all but destroyed the species until they were protected by law and a restoration project was established in 1949. They may easily be seen at Volcano Nat’l Park or the Big Island Country Club in Kona.

State Fish

Hawaii does not have an official state fish. But most people in Hawaii believe the Humuhumukununukuapua'a is the State fish. Also known as the Hawaiian Triggerfish (much easier to say), the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a is the unofficial state fish of Hawaii. Although it is widely recognized as the state fish, the Hawaiian State Legislature has never actually made it official. Gov. Linda Lingle has been asked to give the fish the state title in perpetuity through an executive order. In her reply early last year (2006), Lingle said that decision should instead be left to the public. She also pointed out that the humuhumu has not historically been held in very high regard, having been used by early Hawaiians as fuel for their fires, not their stomachs. Humuhumukununukuapua means "fish with a pig's nose" in Hawaiian.
The humuhumu is not unique to Hawaii. There is no lack of fish species specific to the islands. Thirteen species of wrass alone are found here and nowhere else in the world. But while humuhumu may call more than just Hawaii its home, it has a few undeniable attributes on its side — cuteness and unpalatability. The Humuhumukununukuapua'a sleeps on its side at night.

State Flower

Hibiscus brackenridgei
The hibiscus, all colors and varieties, was the official Territorial Flower, adopted in the early 1920s. At statehood in 1959, the first state legislature adopted many of Hawaii's symbols as part of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS, state laws). It wasn't until 1988, however, that the yellow hibiscus which is native to the islands was selected to represent Hawaii. For this reason, you will see many older photos and postcards with the red hibiscus, or any other color for that matter, as the state flower. These weren't incorrect at the time. There are some on our property.

Waipi`o Valley

Only 17 miles from the Camp, Waipi`o Valley is the largest and most southern of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. The Waipi`o Valley is a mile wide at the coastline and almost six miles deep. Along the coast is a beautiful black sand beach often used by motion picture production companies. On both sides of the valley there are cliffs reaching almost 2000 feet with hundreds of cascading waterfalls, including one of Hawaii's most celebrated waterfalls - Hi`ilawe. The road into the valley is very steep (a 25% grade). In order to travel into the valley, you must either ride down in a four wheel drive vehicle or hike down to the valley floor. Waipi`o means "curved water" in the Hawaiian language. The lovely Waipi`o River flows through the valley until it enters the ocean at the beach. The Waipi`o Valley is often referred to as the "Valley of the Kings" because it was once the home to many of the rulers of Hawaii. The valley has both historical and cultural importance to the Hawaiian people. According to oral histories as few as 4000 or as many as 10,000 people lived in Waipi`o during the times before the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. Waipi`o was the most fertile and productive valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was at Waipi`o in 1780 that Kamehameha the Great received his war god Kukailimoku who proclaimed him the future ruler of the islands.