The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (mouthful) describes itself as “A Garden in a Valley on the Ocean” (another mouthful), but it is a stunning collection of plants, trees, and flowers north of Hilo.
The garden was started in 1978 by Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse and opened to the public in 1984. The Lutkenhouses purchased seventeen acres of land on Onomea Bay and spent six years clearing the jungle by hand in order to create winding trails throughout the property. Later, they purchased an additional 20 acres and then donated the entire parcel to the non-profit Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. The trail is quite steep in sections and takes you all the way down to the ocean and back. I highly recommend a visit if you like botanical gardens; it’s the best one I’ve seen. Tracy and I visited on our own and took photo after photo as we meandered along the trail.