The Big Island of Hawaii not solely lives up to its identify in measurement but additionally in journey. There are so many locations to see and experiences to be had, you may perceive why it makes for an epic trip. Plus, loads of the greatest issues to do on the Big Island are free thanks to Mother Nature. After studying this information, we’re positive the Big Island simply may zoom to the high of your listing of locations to go to in Hawaii.
Top Things to do On the Big Island of Hawaii
Hawaii is full of pure sights akin to stunning waterfalls, 4 nationwide parks, mountaineering trails, volcanoes, lava tubes, and black sand seashores. If that’s not sufficient, it has unimaginable marine life encounters the place you may 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
If you’ve by no means seen an energetic volcano earlier than, you’re in luck. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has two energetic volcanoes, Mount Loa and Kilauea. If there’s one factor to verify off the bucket listing in Hawaii it’s to see a volcano.
The park sits south of Hilo on the map and is a must-see when you go to this island. Kilauea is taken into account to be the world’s most energetic volcano and Mount Loa just isn’t too far behind. Read extra The Most Amazing Facts About Hawaii
This Hawaiian National park offers a wealth of details about how the Big Island of Hawaii was shaped in addition to mountaineering 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 take a look at at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (which is an International Biosphere Reserve) embrace the 1790 Footprints, Kilauea Crater, Volcano House, and the unimaginable Sea Arch. Other actions embrace a go to to the Thurston Lava Tube and the Jaggar Museum.
2. 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 mild air pollution amongst different distinctive elements in Hawaii.
Folks which have visited Mauna Kea Summit at sundown have mentioned it’s one of the most spectacular sights you will note in your life. After the sunsets, you’ll need to take a stargazing tour for extra spectacular Hawaii views. This exercise gives you an opportunity to see one of the stunning sights from the island, and also you don’t even want a telescope.
Please observe which you could drive up to the Visitor Information Center (VIS) in any kind of automobile however to go all the approach up to the summit you want a 4WD. Alternatively, you may park your automobile in the parking zone of the VIS and do some star gazing from there. One of the issues to observe, nonetheless, is that the parking zone fills up shortly so that you want to get there early.
3. Mauna Kea Stargazing
Mauna Kea is one of the world’s premier areas for stargazing. Mauna Kea is dwelling 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 embrace transportation, tools akin to 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 observe that Mauna Kea is a sacred place to Native Hawaiians, and there are considerations about the affect of tourism on the mountain’s fragile ecosystem. Visitors ought to be respectful of the mountain’s cultural and environmental significance, observe all guidelines and rules, and contemplate reserving excursions with respected, eco-friendly operators.
For one thing distinctive to do in Hawaii, ebook 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 phenomenal 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 superb 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
Diving or snorkeling with Manta Rays on the Big Island of Hawaii is an unimaginable expertise. The island’s Kona coast is dwelling to a inhabitants of manta rays which can be identified for his or her swish and majestic actions. Nighttime is the greatest time to see them as that is when they’re most energetic and feed on plankton that’s attracted to underwater lights.
During the dive, you’ll have the option to watch the majestic manta rays as they glide gracefully via the water, generally coming inside inches of you. The expertise is actually unforgettable, and it’s one of the most unimaginable 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 is usually 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
Located only a few miles outdoors of Hilo, Rainbow Falls is one waterfall you don’t need to miss. In truth, I’d say it’s the #2 waterfall you need to 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 may also 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 displaying 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 kind in the mist of the waterfall. If you don’t have a automobile you might have considered trying to bounce on ths island tour that features the falls.
7. Try Hawaiian Poke
Hawaiian Poke will be discovered on most of the Hawaiian Islands. We truly had our first style of Poke once we have been visiting Maui just a few years in the past. It is straightforward to make and is principally diced uncooked fish, usually tuna or salmon, marinated in a savory soy sauce and served with a range of toppings. We liked making an attempt completely different toppings like seaweed, avocado, cucumber, edamame, and macadamia nuts, simply to identify just a few.
Depending on what restaurant you go to you will be as adventurous as you need to be. You ought to undoubtedly give it a strive. Some of our favourite locations to strive it out are Da Poke Shack in Kailua-Kona, Suisan Fish Market in Hilo, and Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill, which has areas in Kailua-Kona and Kahului.
8. Snorkel Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook Monument
Kealakekua Bay has some of the greatest snorkeling on the Big Island of Hawaii. It just isn’t the best location to get to however that’s half of what makes this location so unimaginable. The waters are crystal clear and the coral reef and wildlife are simply gorgeous. It can also be dwelling to the Captain Cook Monument, a white obelisk positioned 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 mountaineering then I’d counsel enterprise the scorching hike which is about 4 miles spherical journey at a couple of average degree. The surroundings is beautiful. You may also hire a kayak to get on the market, which is a enjoyable approach to do it when you love watersports. The simplest way to do it’s to bounce on a tour like this one, which takes care of the whole lot.
Regardless of the way you get there, please be sure that to take steps to protect this gem. Don’t stand on the coral and the place a rasher surf shirt as a substitute 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
Lava Trees State Park is a singular pure space positioned on the Big Island of Hawaii, identified for its eerie and exquisite petrified bushes that have been shaped by an historical lava movement.
The petrified bushes at Lava Trees State Park have been shaped when a lava movement swept via the space in the 1700s, abandoning a forest of residing bushes that have 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 ultimately 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 dwelling to a range of different volcanic options, together with lava tubes and steam vents.
10. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
As far as seashores go, black sand seashores are about as unique as you may get. There aren’t too many in the world which can be 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 may 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 may, nonetheless, you will want to get a tenting allow to have the option 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 may see fairly just a few 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-about an endangered species. Luckily the space the place they’re on the seaside is roped off.
11. See Papakolea Green Sand Beach
Most individuals’s seaside sand expertise spans from white sand to brown sand, however in case you are in search of a singular expertise you then 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 positioned in Guam, Norway, and the Galapagos Islands.
The inexperienced sand on this Hawaiian island is constituted 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 positioned in South Point, which you’ll be able to attain by automobile however then you’ll 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 automobile rental companies as a result of driving any automobile alongside this observe is ILLEGAL, impacts the panorama, and destroys the street. So please don’t do it.
12. drive up the Hamakua coast
The Hamakua Coast is a scenic stretch of shoreline positioned on the northeastern facet of the Big Island of Hawaii, identified 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 akin to papaya and banana.
One of the highlights of the Hamakua Coast drive is the scenic overlook at Waipio Valley, the place you may cease and take in panoramic views of the valley and the ocean. The valley is dwelling 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 incorporates 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 cross via Honokaa, a captivating historic city identified for its plantation-era structure, earlier than reaching the finish of the street at the small city of Kukuihaele.
13. Akaka Falls State Park
For a real journey, you need to take a look at the Akaka Falls Trail in Akaka State Park north of Hilo. You can take a look at 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 all over the place you look after which out of nowhere you’ll see Banyan bushes.
The path appears to disappear into the bushes however if you get nearer you understand 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 most important attraction of Akaka Falls at the finish of the path. If you like waterfalls then this “Waterfall Exclusive” tour is for you.
14. Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Botanical Gardens
One of the greatest issues to see on the Big Island of Hawaii are the botanical gardens. If you have 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 dwelling to greater than 2000 varieties of tropical vegetation from round the world. You can take a hike to the gardens or take a automobile. It’s much more enjoyable, for vacationers which can be in a position to, to hike to the backyard as the pleasure simply builds up with every step. Other gardens embrace the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the World Botanical Gardens in Hilo.
15. Kilauea Iki Trail
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 the whole lot 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
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 cross 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 movement and the affect 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 unimaginable sight.
One of the issues you need to be conscious that there shall be noxious fumes coming from eruptions. Additionally, the air will be fairly dry and climate fairly temperamental.
Book this volcano tour the place you’ll take a guided hike throughout the lava movement 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
If you broke one of the historical legal guidelines in Hawaii, the land the place Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park sits immediately can 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 who power can nonetheless be felt immediately.
18. Dolphin Spotting
You can see dolphins throughout the islands of Hawaii and the Big Island is not any completely different. Spinner dolphins appear to, in explicit, favor the waters of the Big Island of Hawaii. You can see them each day in the bay of Kona, however one factor you need 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.
Spinner dolphins are wonderful to watch as they do what their identify suggests – they spin once they bounce out of the water. They are extraordinarily playful and bounce out of the water to do these spins. This eco-friendly tour gives you the greatest likelihood at seeing them in the wild.
As vacationers, being aware of the affect our visits have on the native individuals, animals, vegetation and different issues is of utmost significance. So you may spend your day enjoyable on the seaside and watch for the dolphins to come up out of the waters when their prepared.
19. Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm
There are few individuals in their lives that may ever get to see a seahorse up shut. There are even fewer those who shall be in a position to contact a seahorse, however you would be one of the few on the listing 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 listing. It goals at seahorse conservation through schooling and it’s also 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, we’ve seen sea horses up shut and it’s magical. The guides can even provide you with an opportunity to contact these beautiful creatures in case you are so inclined. One factor is for positive is that you simply’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
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 beautiful reefs in the islands of Hawaii. There are fairly a quantity of snorkeling tour operators in Kona. They will swimsuit you up and offer you steering so you may expertise the magnificence of the reefs whereas additionally being aware of marine life.
You also needs to 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 delicate, silky and which you could loosen up in after your snorkelling tour.
21. Visit Kailua Kona
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 value it to take a street 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 positive to spend just a little time in Kona as nicely. Known for its stunning seashores, together with the standard Kailua Beach Park and Magic Sands Beach in addition to historical past and tradition, together with the Hulihee Palace, a former royal trip dwelling that has been transformed right into a museum, and the Mokuaikaua Church, the oldest Christian church in the state of Hawaii.
22. 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 listing when individuals rank the greatest white sand seashores of Hawaii. It is a superb seaside for sunbathing, bodyboarding and snorkeling.
When the night approaches, you may wander down to the Mauna Kea Luau for dinner. Besides the decadent roast pig, you’ll discover music, dancing and a fireplace present amongst different issues at tjos fim luau.
23. Kehena Black Sand Beach
Kehena Black Sand Beach is a singular and exquisite vacation spot on the Big Island of Hawaii. The seaside is positioned in the Puna district, about 45 minutes from Hilo, and is understood for its black sand, clear water, and secluded location. The seaside just isn’t the solely attraction right here. Kehena Black Sand Beach is understood for its resident sea turtles, which may usually be seen swimming close to the shore. You can observe them from a protected distance and admire their magnificence.
On Sundays, locals and guests alike collect at Kehena Black Sand Beach for a drum circle. The ambiance is full of life and festive, and the music is exclusive and fascinating. It is loads of enjoyable but additionally remember that this can be a clothing-optional seaside and that’s on full show throughout the drum circle.
After swimming be sure that to take a look at the brief and simple hike to a set of tide swimming pools. The swimming pools are full of clear water and provide wonderful snorkeling alternatives. You can observe a range of marine life, akin to colourful fish and sea urchins.
How to Get to The Big Island
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 possibility is to take a cruise. Many cruise strains provide itineraries that embrace 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 may take an inter-island ferry from Maui or Oahu to the Island. The ferry service operates each day, and it’s a good way to see the stunning surroundings and revel in the ocean views. Private Boat: You may also hire a personal boat or yacht to sail to the Big Island. This possibility is good for many 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, when you’re already in Hawaii and need to discover the different islands, you may drive to the Big Island through the ferry or by renting a automobile and taking it on the inter-island ferry. This possibility is good for many 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 huge island is to drive. You can verify AutomobileRentals.com for value comparisons and availability.
Download this self-guided driving tour of the Big Island Hawaii journey planner the place you may take in all the high sights like Kilauea Visitor Center, Rainbow Falls, and a hike to the well-known inexperienced sand seaside.
If you’re in search of another choices right here they’re
Public Transportation: The Hele-On Bus is the public transportation system on the Big Island, which operates each day and covers most of the island. However, it will not be the most handy possibility because it has restricted schedules, and it might not attain some of the extra distant areas. Taxi: Taxis can be found on the island, however they are often costly, particularly when 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 standard vacationer locations. They is usually a good possibility when you don’t need to hire a automobile, however they might have restricted schedules and will not attain all areas of the island. Bicycle Rentals: Some areas of the island, akin to Kona and Hilo, have bicycle rental outlets. This possibility is good for many 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
The Big Island will 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 dwelling 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 about on 22 acres, surrounding Hawaii’s largest privately accessible waterfall jsut quarter-hour from city. Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – You can’t go fallacious with a Doubltree by Hilton and the newly renovated Grand Naniloa Hotel is positioned 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 may 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 propose to drive round Big Island Hawaii with out stopping for any actions, it’ll take about 8 hours in complete. But if ou truly need to do issues alongside the approach than you need to 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 huge volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you need to tour every volcano extensively for many of your keep then Hilo can be a superb place to keep. Kona, on the different hand has much more issues to do. The Kona space has loads 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.