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By Lena Katz

Locals on the Big Island of Hawaii might be moaning about vog (volcanic smog), but tourism officials are happy enough about it to send out a notice on the wires. The reason? The extra-dense haze is caused by a new vent in Halema’uma’u Crater at the summit of Kilauea.

The active volcano is one of Hawaii’s most famous attractions, and the new vent — which was caused by the first summit eruption since 1924 — means fierier, more active volcano views. They’re estimating that tradewinds will clear the vog away by June,leaving Kilauea in peak viewing condition.

Other reasons for a Big Island vacation this summer are not quite as dramatic, but still compelling. There’s been a lot of renovation and development on the Kohala Coast — the quiet area just up from Kona that has several of Hawaii’s most luxurious beach resorts. Hilton Waikoloa Village just reopened Dolphin Quest in May, all revamped and now home to a baby male dolphin! The water scooter experience in the lagoon is not to be missed if you’re traveling with elementary school-aged children.

Journey upcountry to Parker Ranch for the annual rodeo on July 4th. Paniolo traditions and island festivities give this Independence Day celebration way different flair than the typical mainland firework shows.

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Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach clubs and food, but her heart belongs to NYC.

Tagged: Hawaii

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