23 Best Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2023

23 Best Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2023


The Big Island of Hawaii not solely lives up to its identify in measurement but in addition in journey. There are so many locations to see and experiences to be had, you possibly can perceive why it makes for an epic trip. Plus, so much of the greatest issues to do on the Big Island are free thanks to Mother Nature. After studying this information, we’re certain the Big Island simply may zoom to the prime of your checklist of locations to go to in Hawaii.

Top Things to do On the Big Island of Hawaii

Top things to do on the Big Island Hawaii

Hawaii is full of pure sights reminiscent of stunning waterfalls, 4 nationwide parks, climbing trails, volcanoes, lava tubes, and black sand seashores. If that’s not sufficient, it has unbelievable marine life encounters the place you possibly can get pleasure from watching sea turtles and dolphins in their pure habitats. Add in the wealthy Hawaiian tradition and the Big Island Has one thing for everybody.

1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Things to do on the Big island Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If you’ve by no means seen an lively volcano earlier than, you’re in luck. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has two lively volcanoes, Mount Loa and Kilauea. If there’s one factor to examine off the bucket checklist in Hawaii it’s to see a volcano.

The park sits south of Hilo on the map and is a must-see in case you go to this island. Kilauea is taken into account to be the world’s most lively volcano and Mount Loa will not be too far behind. Read extra The Most Amazing Facts About Hawaii

This Hawaiian National park supplies a wealth of details about how the Big Island of Hawaii was fashioned in addition to climbing trails, crater views, lava tubes, and in case you are fortunate, lava viewing. In our opinion the greatest approach to take all of it in is on a Helicopter Tour like this one. It will go away you breathless.

Some of the key issues to try at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (which is an International Biosphere Reserve) embody the 1790 Footprints, Kilauea Crater, Volcano House, and the unbelievable Sea Arch.  Other actions embody a go to to the Thurston Lava Tube and the Jaggar Museum.

2. Mauna Kea Summit

Things to do on the Big Island Mauna Kea Summit

Whether you’re a stargazing buff or not, Mauna Kea Summit is a sight not to be missed. It is one of the greatest locations in the world for astronomy and the views that include it. That is thanks to the lack of gentle air pollution amongst different distinctive components in Hawaii.

Folks which have visited Mauna Kea Summit at sundown have stated it’s one of the most spectacular sights you will notice in your life. After the sunsets, you’ll need to take a stargazing tour for extra spectacular Hawaii views. This exercise offers you an opportunity to see one of the stunning sights from the island, and also you don’t even want a telescope.

Please notice you could drive up to the Visitor Information Center (VIS) in any kind of automotive however to go all the approach up to the summit you want a 4WD. Alternatively, you possibly can park your automotive in the parking zone of the VIS and do some star gazing from there. One of the issues to notice, nonetheless, is that the parking zone fills up shortly so that you want to get there early.

3. Mauna Kea Stargazing

Big Island of Hawaii Things to do Mauna Kea Stargazing

Mauna Kea is one of the world’s premier places for stargazing. Mauna Kea is house to some of the world’s strongest telescopes and observatories, together with the Keck Observatory and the Subaru Telescope.

Visitors to Mauna Kea can get pleasure from stargazing excursions that usually embody transportation, tools reminiscent of telescopes and binoculars, and educated guides who can present insights into the constellations, planets, and different celestial objects seen in the evening sky.

However, it’s vital to notice that Mauna Kea is a sacred place to Native Hawaiians, and there are considerations about the impression of tourism on the mountain’s fragile ecosystem. Visitors ought to be respectful of the mountain’s cultural and environmental significance, comply with all guidelines and rules, and think about reserving excursions with respected, eco-friendly operators.

For one thing distinctive to do in Hawaii, e book an evening of stargazing on the slopes of Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa. The evening skies are so good right here, Nasa makes use of them for Mars research.

4. Waipi’o Valley


For a panorama like no different, go to Waipio Valley on the island. Located at the northern finish of the Hamakua Coast, the lush inexperienced hills go so far as your eyes can see till they’re interrupted by a ravishing black sand seaside. That black sand seaside is split in two by a river that runs via it and proper into the ocean.

This valley on the island is a good place for a hike in addition to to go waterfall-hopping as there are 5 completely different waterfalls at 4 factors jutting out from the valley. 

5. Night Snorkel or Dive with Manta Rays

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Night Diving With Manta Rays

Diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays on the Big Island of Hawaii is an unbelievable expertise. The island’s Kona coast is house to a inhabitants of manta rays which are recognized for his or her swish and majestic actions. Nighttime is the greatest time to see them as that is when they’re most lively and feed on plankton that’s attracted to underwater lights.

During the dive, you’ll give you the chance to watch the majestic manta rays as they glide gracefully via the water, typically coming inside inches of you. The expertise is actually unforgettable, and it’s one of the most unbelievable issues you’ll ever see.

If you’re in diving or snorkeling with manta rays on the Big Island, make certain to select a good tour firm with skilled guides who prioritize the security and well-being of each the divers and the rays. With the proper preparation and method, diving or snorkeling with manta rays could be a life-changing expertise that leaves you with reminiscences to final a lifetime. This is the tour that we suggest.

6. Visit Rainbow Falls Near Hilo

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Rainbow Falls

Located only a few miles outdoors of Hilo, Rainbow Falls is one waterfall you don’t need to miss. In truth, I might say it’s the #2 waterfall you must go to after Akaka Falls.

You can drive or stroll from Hilo to the park that surrounds it. There is a viewing platform that gives a wonderful vantage level for photographing the waterfall and the surrounding pure magnificence. You can even take a brief hike to get nearer to the falls and discover the space’s lush vegetation and wildlife.

Rainbow Falls can get fairly crowded with guests. We suggest exhibiting up early in the morning, particularly if there’s a cruise ship in port. It can also be the greatest time to see the rainbows type in the mist of the waterfall. If you don’t have a automotive it’s your decision to soar on ths island tour that features the falls.

7. Try Hawaiian Poke

Big Island Hawaii Things to do try Poke

Hawaiian Poke may be discovered on most of the Hawaiian Islands. We really had our first style of Poke once we had been visiting Maui a number of years in the past. It is simple to make and is principally diced uncooked fish, usually tuna or salmon, marinated in a savory soy sauce and served with a spread of toppings. We beloved making an attempt completely different toppings like seaweed, avocado, cucumber, edamame, and macadamia nuts, simply to identify a number of.

Depending on what restaurant you go to you may be as adventurous as you need to be. You ought to positively give it a attempt. Some of our favourite locations to attempt it out are Da Poke Shack in Kailua-Kona, Suisan Fish Market in Hilo, and Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill, which has places in Kailua-Kona and Kahului.

8. Snorkel Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook Monument

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay has some of the greatest snorkeling on the Big Island of Hawaii. It will not be the best location to get to however that’s half of what makes this location so unbelievable. The waters are crystal clear and the coral reef and wildlife are simply gorgeous. It can also be house to the Captain Cook Monument, a white obelisk situated on the shore that marks the spot the place Captain James Cook, the British explorer, was killed in a skirmish with Hawaiians in 1779.

But getting in the water is the actual attraction right here. There are a pair of methods to get there relying on how a lot effort you need to exert. If you’re into climbing then I might counsel enterprise the sizzling hike which is about 4 miles spherical journey at a few reasonable degree. The surroundings is attractive. You can even hire a kayak to get on the market, which is a enjoyable approach to do it in case you love watersports. The easiest method to do it’s to soar on a tour like this one, which takes care of all the things.

Regardless of the way you get there, please ensure to take steps to protect this gem. Don’t stand on the coral and the place a rasher surf shirt as an alternative of slathering your self in sunscreen as each of these actions actually kill the coral and the marine life of the space.

9. See petrified bushes at the Lava Trees State Park in Puna

Cool things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Lava Trees State Park

Lava Trees State Park is a novel pure space situated on the Big Island of Hawaii, recognized for its eerie and delightful petrified bushes that had been fashioned by an historical lava stream.

The petrified bushes at Lava Trees State Park had been fashioned when a lava stream swept via the space in the 1700s, abandoning a forest of residing bushes that had been encased in lava. Over time, the lava round the bushes cooled and hardened, forming hole tubes of rock round the bushes. When the bushes finally decayed and fell away, they left behind the petrified molds that may nonetheless be seen in the park immediately.

It is a simple space to discover on foot, taking a leisurely stroll alongside the park’s trails and admiring the distinctive and otherworldly panorama. In addition to the petrified bushes, the park can also be house to a spread of different volcanic options, together with lava tubes and steam vents.

10. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Fun Things to do on the Big island of Hawaii Punaluu Black Sand Beach

As far as seashores go, black sand seashores are about as unique as you will get. There aren’t too many in the world which are accessible, not to mention ones that welcome guests. But right here on the Hawaiian islands, you discover one black sand seaside that’s accessible and ready for guests. There are a ton of actions you possibly can do at Punalu’u.

You can take a snorkeling tour off the coast in addition to take hikes close by. If you need to spend the evening there, you possibly can, nonetheless, you will have to get a tenting allow to give you the chance to do so.  Besides the black sand, there’s one other attraction that retains vacationers coming again.

Once you’re out on this Hawaii seaside, you possibly can see fairly a number of species of Hawaiian inexperienced sea turtles residing their greatest life. You’ll want to watch out round these inexperienced sea turtles as they’re thought of an endangered species. Luckily the space the place they’re on the seaside is roped off.

11. See Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Unique things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Most individuals’s seaside sand expertise spans from white sand to brown sand, however in case you are searching for a novel expertise then you definately received’t need to miss this inexperienced sand seaside. Papakolea is just one of 4 Green Sand Beaches in the complete world. The different inexperienced sand seashores are situated in Guam, Norway, and the Galapagos Islands.

The inexperienced sand on this Hawaiian island is comprised of cinder cones that develop round volcano vents and this cinder cone is nearly 50,000 years previous. The inexperienced crystals that make the seaside come from lava flows of olivine crystals. Getting there’s an journey as nicely. Papak?lea Green Sand Beach is situated in South Point, which you’ll attain by automotive however then you should have to hike 2.5 miles a technique to the seaside and go down a steep cliff. Driving to Green Sand Beach will NOT be allowed by any automotive rental businesses as a result of driving any car alongside this monitor is ILLEGAL, impacts the panorama, and destroys the highway. So please don’t do it.

12. drive up the Hamakua coast

Best things to do on the Big Island Drive Hamakua Coast

The Hamakua Coast is a scenic stretch of shoreline situated on the northeastern facet of the Big Island of Hawaii, recognized for its gorgeous ocean views, lush greenery, and picturesque waterfalls. Taking a drive alongside this coast is a must-do exercise for anybody visiting the island.

Starting in Hilo, the drive up the Hamakua Coast takes you thru small cities and villages, together with Papaikou, Honomu, and Laupahoehoe. Along the approach, you’ll see breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, verdant hillsides, and fields of tropical crops reminiscent of papaya and banana.

One of the highlights of the Hamakua Coast drive is the scenic overlook at Waipio Valley, the place you possibly can cease and take in panoramic views of the valley and the ocean. The valley is house to a black sand seaside and can also be the web site of some of the island’s most vital historic and cultural websites.

Another must-see attraction on the Hamakua Coast is Akaka Falls State Park, which includes a gorgeous 442-foot waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation and strolling trails. The park additionally affords picnic areas and restrooms for guests to use.

As you proceed alongside the coast, you’ll go via Honokaa, a captivating historic city recognized for its plantation-era structure, earlier than reaching the finish of the highway at the small city of Kukuihaele.

13. Akaka Falls State Park

Best Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Akaka Falls

For a real journey, you need to try the Akaka Falls Trail in Akaka State Park north of Hilo. You can try the state park map to resolve which approach to go. To get the most out of your journey itinerary take the circle path to get a style of the park earlier than getting to the falls. You’ll see inexperienced in every single place you look after which out of nowhere you’ll see Banyan bushes.

The path appears to disappear into the bushes however once you get nearer you notice it continues into the bushes. Inside its darkish and mysterious and makes the loop path all the extra attention-grabbing. Along the approach you’ll get to see Kahuna Falls earlier than you hit the essential attraction of Akaka Falls at the finish of the path. If you’re keen on waterfalls then this “Waterfall Exclusive” tour is for you.

14. Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Botanical Gardens

Big Island of Hawaii Things to do Botanical Gardens

One of the greatest issues to see on the Big Island of Hawaii are the botanical gardens. If you take a look at a map of the island’s There are many of them however one of our favorites on the Hawaiian islands is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.

This botanical backyard is house to greater than 2000 varieties of tropical crops from round the world. You can take a hike to the gardens or take a car. It’s much more enjoyable, for vacationers which are in a position to, to hike to the backyard as the pleasure simply builds up with every step.  Other gardens embody the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the World Botanical Gardens in Hilo.

15. Kilauea Iki Trail 

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii kilauea iki crater

The greatest approach to see and really feel the Big Island of Hawaii is to discover the many trails on the island. These trails take you deep inside the lush forests that cowl the island and provide you with an opportunity to see all the things from waterfalls to rivers to volcanoes to craters.

The Kilauea Iki Trail is one of the hottest trails on the island and takes you inside a pit crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The path is about 4 miles and also you get to traipse throughout lava beds, which is one of the issues many guests look ahead to. 

16. Crater Rim Trail

Fun Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Crater Rim Trail

The Crater Rim Trail takes you alongside the Kilauea Volcano Caldera. It is the longest loop path on the island and may take about 8 hours. But these 8 hours will go by in a short time as it’s not an expertise you’ll ever neglect.

You will see lava, cinders, lave tubes, steam vents, and proof of lava stream and the impression these lava flows had on this half of the island. Kilauea Volcano had an eruption in 2020 that dried out a water lake and an enormous lava lake that has since solidified however is kind of an unbelievable sight.

One of the issues you have to be conscious that there might be noxious fumes coming from eruptions. Additionally, the air may be fairly dry and climate fairly temperamental. 

Book this volcano tour the place you’ll take a guided hike throughout the lava stream to the new black sand seaside whereas studying of the Lava flows and historical past of the Big Island.

17. Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

If you broke one of the historical legal guidelines in Hawaii, the land the place Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park sits immediately could be your refuge in accordance to legend. This nationwide park is an archeological web site with temples and different constructions. It was believed to be protected by the God of Life and for some those that vitality can nonetheless be felt immediately. 

18. Dolphin Spotting

You can see dolphins throughout the islands of Hawaii and the Big Island isn’t any completely different. Spinner dolphins appear to, in specific, favor the waters of the Big Island of Hawaii. You can see them every day in the bay of Kona, however one factor you have to be cautious about is your conduct round them. The dolphins are nocturnal and relaxation in the bay throughout the daytime so it’s best not to disturb them till they’ve rested and swim up themselves. 

Family things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Dolphin Spotting

Spinner dolphins are superb to watch as they do what their identify suggests – they spin once they soar out of the water. They are extraordinarily playful and soar out of the water to do these spins. This eco-friendly tour offers you the greatest likelihood at seeing them in the wild.

As vacationers, being aware of the impression our visits have on the native individuals, animals, crops and different issues is of utmost significance. So you possibly can spend your day stress-free on the seaside and watch for the dolphins to come up out of the waters when their prepared.

19. Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

Fun things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Seahorse Farm

There are few individuals in their lives that can ever get to see a seahorse up shut. There are even fewer those that might be in a position to contact a seahorse, however you possibly can be one of the few on the checklist as a result of the Big Island is the place to see them. The Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm on this Hawaii island has two objectives on its checklist. It goals at seahorse conservation by way of schooling and it is usually a spot for seahorse gross sales for private and business use.

You get an opportunity to take a seahourse tour and see them up shut. Trust me, now we have seen sea horses up shut and it’s magical. The guides can even provide you with an opportunity to contact these attractive creatures in case you are so inclined. One factor is for certain is that you just’ll always remember what it was like seeing a seahorse in actual life. They seem like one of these issues that might solely come out of the thoughts of a fairytale illustrator.

20. Coral Reef of Big Island of Hawaii

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii  Coral Reef

The islands of Hawaii have some of the most various coral reefs in the world. That is thanks to the incontrovertible fact that they’re all the approach on the market in the Pacific Ocean in considerably isolation. There are greater than 1000 completely different varieties of marine life alongside the Hawaii coral reefs. If you need to get the coral reef expertise on the Big Island, you’ll need to head to Kona. 

Kona has some of the most attractive reefs in the islands of Hawaii. There are fairly a quantity of snorkeling tour operators in Kona. They will swimsuit you up and give you steerage so you possibly can expertise the magnificence of the reefs whereas additionally being aware of marine life.

You must also add a go to to a seaside when you’re there. Regardless of the seaside you select alongside the Kona coast, you’re going to discover comfortable, silky and you could loosen up in after your snorkelling tour.

21. Visit Kailua Kona

Things to do on the Big Island Kona Coffee

If you’re a espresso lover, likelihood is you’ve heard of Kona Coffee. Kona Coffee is grown on the mountain plantations of Kailua Kona and it’s nicely price it to take a highway journey to the area. You can do a espresso plantation tour and get a style of the espresso from the place it’s grown.

Make certain to spend a bit of time in Kona as nicely. Known for its stunning seashores, together with the widespread Kailua Beach Park and Magic Sands Beach in addition to historical past and tradition, together with the Hulihee Palace, a former royal trip house that has been transformed right into a museum, and the Mokuaikaua Church, the oldest Christian church in the state of Hawaii.

22. Hapuna Beach

Best Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Hapuna Beach

If you need to get pleasure from a extremely good seaside expertise whereas on the Big Island of Hawaii then Hapuna Beach is the place its at. It usually tops the checklist when individuals rank the greatest white sand seashores of Hawaii. It is a good seaside for sunbathing, bodyboarding and snorkeling.

When the night approaches, you possibly can wander down to the Mauna Kea Luau for dinner. Besides the decadent roast pig, you’ll discover music, dancing and a hearth present amongst different issues at tjos fim luau.

23. Kehena Black Sand Beach 

Top Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Kehena Beach

Kehena Black Sand Beach is a novel and delightful vacation spot on the Big Island of Hawaii. The seaside is situated in the Puna district, about 45 minutes from Hilo, and is thought for its black sand, clear water, and secluded location. The seaside will not be the solely attraction right here. Kehena Black Sand Beach is thought for its resident sea turtles, which might usually be seen swimming close to the shore. You can observe them from a secure distance and admire their magnificence.

On Sundays, locals and guests alike collect at Kehena Black Sand Beach for a drum circle. The environment is full of life and festive, and the music is exclusive and fascinating. It is so much of enjoyable but in addition remember that this can be a clothing-optional seaside and that’s on full show throughout the drum circle.

After swimming ensure to try the brief and simple hike to a set of tide swimming pools. The swimming pools are full of clear water and supply wonderful snorkeling alternatives. You can observe a spread of marine life, reminiscent of colourful fish and sea urchins.

How to Get to The Big Island

How to get to the Big Island of Hawaii

There are a number of methods to get to the Big Island of Hawaii, and the most suitable choice will rely on your beginning location, funds, and journey preferences.

Fly: The most typical approach to get to the Big Island is by flying into the Kona International Airport (KOA) or Hilo International Airport (ITO). Cruise: Another choice is to take a cruise. Many cruise traces supply itineraries that embody stops in Hawaii, and a few even have their very own non-public ports on the island. Inter-Island Ferry: If you’re already in Hawaii, you possibly can take an inter-island ferry from Maui or Oahu to the Island. The ferry service operates every day, and it’s a good way to see the stunning surroundings and revel in the ocean views. Private Boat: You can even hire a personal boat or yacht to sail to the Big Island. This choice is right for individuals who need to get pleasure from a extra non-public and unique expertise and have the freedom to discover the island at their very own tempo. Drive: Finally, in case you’re already in Hawaii and need to discover the different islands, you possibly can drive to the Big Island by way of the ferry or by renting a automotive and taking it on the inter-island ferry. This choice is right for individuals who need to discover the island at their very own tempo and have the flexibility to cease and discover as they please.

Getting Around the Big Island

The greatest approach to get round the massive island is to drive. You can examine AutomobileRentals.com for value comparisons and availability.

Download this self-guided driving tour of the Big Island Hawaii journey planner the place you possibly can take in all the prime sights like Kilauea Visitor Center, Rainbow Falls, and a hike to the well-known inexperienced sand seaside.

If you’re searching for another choices right here they’re

Public Transportation: The Hele-On Bus is the public transportation system on the Big Island, which operates every day and covers most of the island. However, it might not be the most handy choice because it has restricted schedules, and it could not attain some of the extra distant areas. Taxi: Taxis can be found on the island, however they are often costly, particularly in case you plan to journey lengthy distances. Shuttle Services: There are a number of shuttle companies that function on the Big Island and supply transportation to widespread vacationer locations. They could be a good choice in case you don’t need to hire a automotive, however they could have restricted schedules and should not attain all areas of the island. Bicycle Rentals: Some areas of the island, reminiscent of Kona and Hilo, have bicycle rental outlets. This choice is right for individuals who need to discover the space at a slower tempo and revel in the scenic magnificence of the island.

Where to Stay on the Big Island

Things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii Accommodations

The Big Island may be cut up into two sections, the seashores of Kona Coast to the West and the rainforest and volcanoes of Hilo to the East. Kona and Kohala on the West Coast of Hawaii are the locations with the greatest seashores, and clear waters and are house to the majority of Hawaii’s resorts.

Hilo is one other nice space to keep on the Big Island with rainforests, waterfalls and volcanoes.

In at Kulaniapia Falls – is ready on 22 acres, surrounding Hawaii’s largest privately accessible waterfall jsut quarter-hour from city. Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – You can’t go incorrect with a Doubltree by Hilton and the newly renovated Grand Naniloa Hotel is situated downtown Hilo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #1 Thing to do on the Big Island of Hawaii?

A go to to the island requires a go to to Mount Kea. Besides all of the star gazing you possibly can do there’s the waterfall watching. You will see waterfall after waterfall on the slopes of Mount Kea close to Hilo. And belief us, waterfall watching by no means will get previous regardless of what number of you see.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Around The Big Island?

If you intend to drive round Big Island Hawaii with out stopping for any actions, it’s going to take about 8 hours in whole. But if ou really need to do issues alongside the approach than you must add the quantity of time every exercise will take to the 8 hours.

What is the greatest space to keep on the Big Island of Hawaii?

The greatest space to keep in on the this island goes to rely on what you need. Hilo is quiet and shut to the two massive volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you need to tour every volcano extensively for many of your keep then Hilo could be a great place to keep. Kona, on the different hand has much more issues to do. The Kona space has so much of actions to do in the day time and it additionally has an evening life.

Why You Should Visit the Big Island

If you’re planning a go to to the islands of Hawaii then. you’re going to need to just be sure you go to the Big Island. Whether you’re into journey, visiting with your loved ones or a re in the Hawaiian tradition the Big Island of Hawaii has one thing for each kind of vacationer.

Plan Your Next Trip to the Hawaiian Islands With These Resources


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