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 atop lush Waipio Valley. Fun and knowledgeable guides lead you along private trails to the headwaters of Hiilawe Falls. Swim up to a lava-tube grotto to stand under a refreshing waterfall. You'll travel up to a series of lookouts—at times crossing the Kohala Ditch—where you'll stop to observe the valley and its black-sand beach from all angles. Bring a bathing suit and be prepared to get wet and muddy. Beginners are welcome; participants must be 16 or older. Prices start at $159. Waipio Valley Artworks Bldg., 48-5416 Kukuihaele Rd., Kukuihaele, HI, 96727. PHONE: 808/775-1450 or 877/775-1450. www.ridetherim.com.