The Most Unique Community in America
When people talk about their individual communities or places where they live, we often use the word “unique” to describe them. In reality all communities contain “unique” attributes that make them distinct from their neighbors, but today we are going to highlight one particular place that is so full of amazing features that it truly stands out as extraordinarily unique.
How many communities in America do you know of that offer ALL of the following?
- 1,000ft+ Waterfalls
- Tropical Reefs
- The largest collection of Astronomical Observatories on the planet
- The most Active Volcano on earth
- Black Sand, Green Sand, White Sand and Brown Sand beaches
- Vibrant Indigenous Culture
- An entire National Trail (Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail)
- An International Biosphere Reserve & World Heritage Site (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)
- Four National Park units, a National Wildlife Refuge & a National Marine Sanctuary
- Coffee and Macadamia Nut Plantations
- The Largest Cattle Ranch of its kind in America
- Ancient Temples of Kings (such as Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site)
- Hiking opportunities among lava tubes, rain forests and 2000ft+ valleys
- Surfing, Diving, Snorkeling, Outrigger Canoe Rides, and tons of other ocean sports
- Dolphins, Whales and other marine life
- A Space Center, Museums, Cultural Sites, National Landmarks & other Historic Sites
- One of the Largest collection of Endemic Species on the Earth
The list above is by no means exhaustive…all of these things are found together nowhere else other than Hawaii Island. The County of Hawaii, which is comprised of the “Big Island” is undoubtedly one of the most unique communities in America and indeed the planet. There are no large cities here, mostly small villages in addition to “Hilo Town” and “Kailua-Kona” (both with populations around 40,000). Though it is the “Big Island” it really is a small community where everyone is connected in some way with everyone else. Hawaii Island, though slightly smaller than Connecticut, contains a world of incredible features.
Take the climates for example: the Island is home to rain forests, deserts and snow-covered mountains. To be sure there are other places in America where it snows or where it’s dry or rainy, but no where else can you find all of these in such close proximity. In fact, as I am writing this article from the driest place in Hawaii (Kawaihae), where we are lucky if we get 6 inches or rain per year (the driest was just .19!), only 40 miles away over 300 inches of rain falls each year. You cannot find that extreme precipitation difference anywhere in North America, even if you travel from the Olympic Peninsula to Death Valley (over 800 miles).
Another truly amazing feature is the number of active volcanoes on Hawaii Island. Besides famous Kilauea, the volcanoes Mauna Loa and Hualalai are considered active by geologists. Having lived on the Island for some time now, I have come to find it quite humorous how “normal” lava flows and eruptions are for those that live here. “What’s the lava doing” is like talking about the weather everywhere else! To think that you can easily drive to the summit of the most active volcano on the planet and safely view it erupting is simply incredible!
There are so many other things to see and to experience here on Hawaii Island. With plenty of flights from the Mainland that come directly to Kona and Hilo, even if you are on the East Coast you aren’t that far away from this amazing community! We hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit us someday soon and we know you’ll agree when you get here that this truly is the most “unique’ community in America! Aloha!
There are many websites that offer info about visiting Hawaii Island, here are just a few (providing these links is not an endorsement of these sites):
Go Hawaii: http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island
Hawaii Magazine: http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/blogs/hawaii_today/Big+Island
Hawaiian Airlines: http://www.hawaiianairlines.com/Hawaii-Travel-Guide/travel-to-hawaii