I had previously been to Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, so I decided to start my morning by exploring the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.
There used to be a number of fish ponds at this site, one of which has been partially restored. There's an impressive rock wall built around the area, and if you know where to look, you can find petroglyphs in the park as well. As I wandered along the trails, I saw a number of birds, dragonflies and over a dozen sea turtles, but I didn't see another soul on the beach. While it's not necessarily a prime tourist spot, it was incredibly peaceful and I'm glad I went.
After a nap I got ready for dinner at Kahua Ranch, which is about ten miles inland from Hawi, on the northern side of the island. As soon as I drove through the gates of the ranch, I knew I was in for a treat. There are dozens of happy horses and cows grazing all over the property, and the lush, rolling hills were a side of Hawaii I had never seen before. By the time my group arrived at the main ranch house, we noticed that the temperature had dropped quite a bit. We were up high enough to see the hills and the ocean, but after about 30 minutes of taking in the bucolic landscape, the smell of barbecue drew us inside.
From the checkered table clothes to the incredible buffet, this felt like a true taste of country living. At one point someone's pet pig wandered around the dining room, and not only was there live music, but our host for the evening had the whole room in stitches with her one-liners. The view from the dinner table was nothing short of amazing, and this truly felt like a family establishment. Kahua Ranch is popular among tourists, but it's also not a spot you'll find in every major "Best of Hawaii" book or brochure. The best part? Experiencing a sunset over the ocean from 3,200 feet above sea level. Bet you didn't think you could do that in Hawaii, did you?