Ka‘u: South by South

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - TOURING -

The sparsely pop­u­lated Ka‘u District at the south­ern tip of the is­land is known for its rich en­vi­ron­men­tal di­ver­sity. A large chunk of Hawai‘i Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park is lo­cated in this district, as are wind farms, high­land forests, the parched Ka‘u Desert and en­tic­ing black-, white- and green­sand beaches.

But the area is largely distin­guished by its ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion. South Point, at the bot­tom of the district, is con­sid­ered the south­ern­most tip of the United States, and the vil­lage of Na‘alehu is its south­ern­most town.

More prop­erly called Ka La‘e, South Point is lo­cated at a latitude that’s 500 miles far­ther south than Mi­ami. Its roots go back to 150 A.D., when it is be­lieved the first Poly­ne­sian ex­plor­ers set foot on the is­land.

Na‘alehu (pop­u­la­tion 900) is lo­cated 19 de­grees north of the equa­tor on Route 11. It’s a good place to take a break on the drive to Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park. Check out Pu­nalu‘u Bake Shop, which is, of course, the south­ern­most bak­ery in the United States.

• Pu­nalu‘u Bake Shop (808) 929-7343 or (866) 366-3501

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