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The Hawaii Belt -- Big Island, Hawaii

Kona Kailua is a great starting point for a drive along the Hawaii Belt.

Josh Baker/iStock/Thinkstock

On the "Big Island" of Hawaii, three state routes -- 11, 19 and 190 -- form a circle around the perimeter. Locals call it the "Hawaii Belt." Driving around the Hawaii Belt, you'll see deserts of lava, lush jungles, farmland, active lava flows, snow-white beaches, mountains and valleys.

The Big Island gets its name from the fact that it's bigger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined. The complete route around the island is about 300 miles (483 kilometers) long. Most people making this drive will split the journey across several days, in order to enjoy the local scenery and attractions.

Travel experts suggest you begin your trip in Kailua-Kona, a town bordered by hardened lava flows. You'll also find the famed Kona coffee in this region. As you wind your way around the Big Island, you'll climb up to 3,000 feet (914 meters) in elevation and dip into lovely valleys. You'll discover dozens of towns and parks -- don't forget to stop and enjoy the local colors and flavors.

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