Chain of Craters Road, Big Island (Island of Hawaii)
Living up to its name, Chain of Craters Road, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, hopscotches from one geothermal wonder to another, from volcanic sea cliffs and its namesake craters to a natural bridge by the sea. Though the route runs for just 30 km, it’s best to take your time on the drive. Put aside at least a half day, as you’ll want to make several stops along the way to take in the cinder fields and areas where liquid hot lava has covered the road, leaving black rock in its wake. You can sometimes even catch a glimpse of the lava flow from Kilauea, but if not, head to the parking lot of the Jaggar Museum at sundown to spot the reflected glow from a nearby lake of lava.
Holo Holo Koloa Scenic Byway and Kokee Road, Kauai
Running a little more than 30 km on Kauai’s sun-soaked south shore, the Holo Holo Koloa Scenic Byway has dozens of worthy stops, including the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Old Koloa Town, whose plantation-style buildings have been preserved in a still-charming main street lined with shops. Just beyond the Holo Holo Koloa Scenic Byway, about 35 minutes from the Poipu resort area, Kokee Road (part of State Route 550) provides several surreal opportunities to pull off at overlooks and take in the multi-hued colours of Waimea Canyon. Formed over millions of years, Waimea’s deep reds, greens and even blues cut a path across more than 22 km of Kauai and are known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
North Shore, Oahu
An hour’s trek from the flash of Waikiki, Oahu’s North Shore remains wild, lined with (often empty) natural beaches, amazing surf at Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline, and friendly neighbourhoods where signs along Kamehameha Highway exhort passersby to “keep the country country”—a subtle message that residents intend to maintain the quiet charms of this side of the island. Be sure to stop at legendary Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, as well as Kualoa Ranch, where a number of blockbuster movies, including Jurassic Park, have been filmed. Tucked away down a short path along the highway, Kawela Bay has also been captured on film; it served as a stand-in for Panem’s battleground in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.