National Geographic Traveler columnist Christopher Elliott recently visited the Hawaii with his family. This is his first report.

Big Island.jpg

There’s a surprise waiting around every corner on Hawaii’s big island.

Like the time we ran out of road. We were dizzy with jetlag and like most tourists from the mainland, a little confused.

“Dad, I’m hungry,” my middle son, Iden, complained from the back of the minivan. 

Was it dinnertime? But the sun, high on the horizon, said: “morning.”

Where were we? The map didn’t make sense. We were driving north on Highway 270 to…somewhere? But then the world came into sharp focus: A small parking lot, a cliff, and a black-sand beach below, bordering a seemingly endless North Pacific Ocean.

We’d discovered Pololū Valley Lookout.

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