Big Island of Hawaii Scenic Route
Hamakua Coast Must Drive
Halfway between mile markers 8 and 7 on the Hawaii Belt road, you will see a rather large sign that says "Scenic Drive."
The Scenic Drive actually begins right after mile marker 11 and runs parallel to the Hawaii Belt Road until it reconnects between mile markers 8 and 7. We have chosen to take you onto the Scenic Drive at this point because most of the beautiful scenery is at this end.
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2023 Big Island Visitor Guides
If you're visiting the Big Island of Hawaii soon, be sure to download your copy of one of our updated 2023 Big Island Visitor Guides. We've updated both travel guides with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and those who've been a time or two as well).
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Turn makai onto Mamalahoa Highway and prepare for a curvy, gorgeous drive along Onomea Bay. Several rustic one-lane bridges separate stretches of dense jungle foliage. Graceful hala trees display their splayed roots next to gigantic jungle ferns and orange African violets lay like polka dots on the road. There are several unofficial pullouts along the way where you can get out and view streams partially shaded by massive palm trees. About one mile in you will begin to see flickers of Onomea Bay through the coastal plants. The kaleidoscope of blue colors that make up the waters at Onomea complements a blue sky and jungle coast. Mosquitoes here can be relentless, so wear bug spray and don't leave your windows down or your car doors open unless you want a few unwelcome guests along for the ride. Also along this scenic drive is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and the Donkey Trail Hike.