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A different way to experience the Big Island's rugged coastline and wild ranch lands is through an off-road adventure—a real backcountry experience. At higher elevations, weather can be nippy and rainy, but views can be awesome. Protective gear is provided. Generally, you have to be 16 or older to ride your own ATV, though some outfitters allow children seven and older to be passengers.
ATV Outfitters Hawaii. These trips take in the scenic beauty of the rugged North Kohala Coast, traveling along coastal cliffs and into the forest in search of waterfalls. ATV Outfitters also offers double-seater ATVs for parents traveling with children or adults who don't feel comfortable operating their own vehicle. Old Sakamoto Store, Hwy. 270, Kapaau, HI, 96755. PHONE: 808/889-6000 or 888/288-7288. www.atvoutfittershawaii.com.
Waipio Ride the Rim. This is one of the best ways to experience the extraordinary beauty at the top of the lush Waipio Valley. Fun and knowledgeable guides lead you to a gorgeous swimming pond, a lava-tube grotto, and a place to stand under a refreshing waterfall. You'll travel up to a series of lookouts where you can gaze all the way down to the black-sand beach. Bring a bathing suit and be prepared to get wet and muddy. The semi-challenging terrain offers the ideal ATV experience. Prices start at $159 per person. Waipio Valley Artworks Bldg., 48-5416 Kukuihaele Rd., Kukuihaele, HI, 96727. PHONE: 808/775-1450 or 877/775-1450. www.RideTheRim.com.