Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

  • Dragonfruit and mangoes
    Dragonfruit and mangoes
    by pacific_sol
  • Road blocked by lava from helicopter
    Road blocked by lava from helicopter
    by grandmaR
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
    by leafmcgowan

Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

  • Beaches

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Lovely smaller beach a little bit south of the center of Kailua-Kona town. Free parking! Also known as White Sands Beach, one of the few such in the Kona region. "La'aloa" mean "very sacred" - and yes, this is a special place.

    more
  • Waterfalls

    Hilo Things to Do

    I had previously visited Rainbow Falls during a trip to the Big Island many years ago. In 2013, my wife and I visited Hilo and took a local tour which brought us to Rainbow Falls. Rainbow Falls is a large waterfall; about 80 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. The name Rainbow Falls comes from the Hawaiian word for the falls which is Waiânuenue ;...

    more
  • Chain of Craters Road

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    I drove all the way down to the end (where it was closed by a lava flow) of Chain of Craters Road and I got out and went to see the Holei Sea Arch. It was just a short walk but the surface was VERY uneven and it was very hot and sunny so it was hard for me. I wanted to see the arch because a similar arch in Aruba has collapsed and that is always a...

    more
  • Hiking thru the rain forest

    Volcano Things to Do

    This is a short hike that brings you to the bottom of the Kilauea Iki Crater. You will descent via stairs (ccw) or path in to the crater (cw). This depends which way round you go. At the bottom follow the stone men to the other side. It is a strange feeling when you walk trough a crater that was in 1959 one big fire pot. Knowing that below you...

    more
  • Drive around the Big Island

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    One of the pleasures of driving around the Big Island are the numerous stretches of highway that are beautifully landscaped with deferent tree species to give the driver fairy-tale sensation and cool the car down at the same time. Most of these “tree tunnels” can be found along the eastern tip of the island around Pahoa.

    more
  • Ali'i Drive

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Ali’i Drive is where the major shopping and restaurants are located in Kona. This long stretch of seaside street has small shopping plazas and individual stores lining both sides of the street. Just about any type of item can be found here along with the typical ABC stores. There are some nice outdoor restaurants and restaurants that have large...

    more
  • Helicopter Rides

    Hilo Things to Do

    We went out on the pier to meet with our group. A black dude came into the terminal and weighed us on a scale. The rules said that if you were over 250 lbs that you would be charged extra. My grandson weighed 85 lbs - less than I had guessed (I guessed 100 lbs) and I was more than I had put down (but of course I'm usually weighing in the morning...

    more
  • Lava Flows

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    At the end of the Chain of Craters Road where the lava had closed the road, the bus stopped and gave us a chance to get out and walk on the lava and take photos close up of what I had seen from a distance in the morning from the helicopter. It was very interesting.

    more
  • Volcanoes National Park

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    No one in my family had ever seen anything like this and we were all so impressed. I will say though that my son was a little bored at times. Do not miss the Jaggar Museum at night. There is a place inside the national park called Kilauea Military Camp. There you can get cabins at a very good price right inside the park. You can also get a good,...

    more
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    We took Body Glove's Deluxe Snorkel and Dolphin Morning Adventure. The cruise is aboard Body Glove's boat, Kanoa II. The boat has 2 levels, both with shaded and unshaded areas. The bottom level had open fresh-water showers, bathrooms, a buffet serving area, bar, and sit-down tables. The bow of the boat was uncovered and had a few tall...

    more
  • Tropical Botanical Gardens

    Hilo Things to Do

    This was our last stop on the way back to the ship after the afternoon tour. I enjoyed walking around and taking photos of the flowers. We really couldn't take any flowers back with is though so I just got some soap.

    more
  • Kilauea Crater

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    My grandmother found from talking to one of the rangers (she talks to everyone) that there would be a ranger led walk to the Kilauea Crater that morning at about 10:30, so I did that. He gave us a talk at the visitor's center first and it was very interesting. We went through a tropical rainforest to the very edge of Kilauea Caldera

    more
  • City of Refuge

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    UPDATE: This park was damaged by a tsunami on March 11, 2011. As of April 2011, the park remains closed as officials assess the damage. Ancient Hawaiian justice was rather harsh. If you broke most kapu (laws), you faced the death penalty. One way to avoid this was to make it to a Place of Refuge such as this one. You certainly feel the peace and...

    more
  • Churches

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    This is Hawaii's first Christian church, established on the land that King Liholiho (aka Kamehameha II) donated to the early missionaries shortly after the ruler had unambiguously overthrown the tradition "kapu" system in the islands. This handsome structure was completed in 1836. Its walls are made of lava rock held in place by mortar; its pews...

    more
  • Big Island Candies Factory

    Hilo Things to Do

    On the afternoon tour, our driver Rob took us to a candy company where we could see candy being made and we bought some. I don't remember what we bought and we ate it before we got back to the ship. Their website says: Our ..original products – such as our Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies are world renown. All of our products are...

    more
  • Crater Rim Road

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    There are two main roads in the park. This is one of them - the Crater Rim Drive takes you along a portion of the summit caldera (large pit crater) of Kilauea. The road starts at Kilauea Visitor Center. The places we went on this road include the Steam Vents, the Jaggar Museum, the Kilauea Iki Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube. The Lava Tube and...

    more
  • Waterfalls

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    Rainbow Falls - Nice little stop, but can be missed if you don't have much time. Ample parking. Close to the boiling pots, which in my opinion could also be missed. Akaka Falls State Park - There are multiple waterfalls here. Akaka falls has a 442 foot drop. The walk is well maintained and the whole circle walk took about 45 minutes and wasn't too...

    more
  • Black Sand Beach

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Since a lot of the sand on this side of the island is lava based (basalt) you will find many areas with black sand. It is a beautiful difference from the white sand that you would normally see at most beaches. And dont forget! Keep your eyes peeled. There are certain areas where the beaches are not crowded. Most of them do involve hiking as they...

    more
  • Hula Festival

    Hilo Things to Do

    Every year in April, Hilo becomes over run with hula fanatics from around the globe. Some cities honor potatoes, chili, raspberries, tofu, or even bull testicles. Hilo honors hula for a week. The competition pits various halau (hula schools) in a week long celebration in honor of former King Kalakaua. At the end of the competition, the winners are...

    more
  • Thurston Lava Tube

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    The bus stopped for us to take a walk into the Thurston Lava Tube. This lava tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston, a local newspaper publisher. At that time the roof of the tube was covered with lava stalactites, but those soon disappeared to souvenir collectors. This is a tube that lava originally traveled through but it is empty now....

    more
  • Mauna Kea

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    We did not go to the summit due to the fact that we had a rental car AND we had a 4 year old child. They do not cover rentals to go past the visitor's center and the visitor's center doesn't recommend anyone under the age of 16 to go past the visitor's center. Having said that, people can get altitude sickness at the visitor's center as well so...

    more
  • Island Tours

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Although we did not do this, I have friends that have and highly recommended it. Needless to say, I chickened out due to high winds. They fly over scenery not visible by car such as active volcanoes, lava flows, lush rainforests, hidden waterfalls, and spectacular sea cliffs. Blue Hawaiian has a heliport in the Waikoloa area. 2 set tours and one...

    more
  • Lili'uokalani Gardens

    Hilo Things to Do

    On Banyan Drive, right next to the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, there is a quanit Japanese garden, dedicated to Queen Lili'uokalani, who loved gardens. This offered a nice, short stroll from the hotel (about all I could stand in my condition). Unfortunately for us, it had rained more than usual, and much of the park was washed out, not allowing us to visit...

    more
  • Ohia Lehua trees

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    As we drove along the road in the park, the guide told us about the ‘ohi’a trees and I took photos of the fronds of giant hapu’u, a tree fern. Everything looked very green and the color almost glows in the photos.

    more
  • Lava Tubes

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    First you walk through a little mini rainforest, then you get into the tunnel. We all thought it was pretty awesome and of course the way it was formed is pretty awesome. If you are in Volcanoes National park already, you should definitely do it. Very easy walk for all of us, aged 4, 28, 58, 70. We finished it in about 30 or 35 minutes. It is cool...

    more
  • Waterfalls

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Diving 420 feet before crashing in a thunderous roar, Akaka Falls is surely an awesome sight to be hold. The grounds around the majestic waterfalls is covered by an impossibly lush layer of ferns. Akaka's sister falls, Honauma Falls, is nearby. The trail picks its way among luxuriant tropical growth, hanging vines, bamboo groves, and wild orchids....

    more
  • Banyan Drive

    Hilo Things to Do

    Banyan Drive See the Banyan Trees that Fannie Hurst and Amelia Earhart planted in the 1930's Walk or bike around the peninsula Play golf! Walk to Coconut Island Take a horse carriage ride See a fish auction Swim!

    more
  • Halemaumau Crater

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    On the top of Kilauea is the Halema'uma'u Crater, the best view of which is at the Halema'uma'u Overlook, about halfway around the Crater Rim Road from the Park entrance. An additional depression in the Kilauea Caldera, the crater creates something of a lunar landscape with its most recent floor formed in 1974. Note that occasionally gases are...

    more
  • Punalu’u Beach

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    My family loved this. The waves are perfect (not too strong or too tame). There are lots of little play areas for kids, little ponds removed from the waves where the kids enjoy using buckets and shovels. Local teenagers are also constantly seen jumping off the cliffs. One word of warning though, wear shoes if you are going to walk around exploring...

    more
  • Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a must see when you are in this area. It is located 20 miles south of Kailua-Kona. The park service has tried to restore this refuge to the way it appeared in the 1700's. You will walk by numbered coconuts that designate points of interest as you stroll through the compound and canoe landing....

    more
  • Jaggar Museum

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    Once the bus tour from the ship at Hilo got to the Hawaii Volcano National Park, our first stop was the Jagger museum. This time I had brought the NPS passports and we each got a stamp. We looked at the seismographs and exhibits. The Museum is next to the main crater, Halema'uma'u. We took pictures of it. The Hawaiians believe Kilauea and...

    more
  • Snorkeling and SCUBA

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    When visiting the Big Island many times a place called 'Two Step" is the recommended place to go snorkeling. I agree it is fun, wide open, full of fish and I love it myself. But, if I was new to snorkeling it could be a bit intimidating especially if the waves are fast that day. A great place for beginners and seasoned snorkelers too is Kahaluu...

    more
  • Volcanoes National Park

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    A great place for backpacking in Hawaii is Volcano National Park and specifically the Puna Trail. If you look wilderness snorkeling I suggest looking at Halape Iki and Keauhou Landing. Keauhou Landing has the best coral on all the island and probably in the Islands.

    more
  • Steam Vents

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    Rob (the tour bus driver) stopped at the steam vent which has a railing around it. I didn't see but one of the steam vents because I didn't walk past the one that is in the parking lot. Rob explained that ground water seeps down to the hot volcanic rocks in this area and returns to the surface as steam. It is warm, but it isn't hot like a steam...

    more
  • Hilo.

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    Hilo’s rep for rain is a little exaggerated, since most of the rain falls at night, gently on the roof, lulling you to sleep. We have our share of spectacular weather, and when such a day comes during the week, I take my dogs for a dish of Tahitian Vanilla at nearby Hilo Homemade Ice Cream (1477 Kalanianaole Avenue), and then for a crab-hunt among...

    more
  • Dolphin Encounters

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    The Dolphin Quest at the Hilton Waikoloa is an interactive program led by marine mammal specialists. Participants learn & interact with the dolphins in an effort to gain an appreciation for preserving the oceans and sea life. Different programs are available designed for all age levels from children to adults and families. Prices range from $105 -...

    more
  • Helicopter Tours

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    I understand that there used to be helicopter tours right from the park, but they are no longer available as there were safety concerns. The tour I booked from the cruise ship left from the Hilo airport. Since we didn't do the Tora Tora Tora tour where black clothing was suggested for lack of reflection, I wore black for this one. I was right to...

    more
  • Polu Valley Lookout

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    Pololu valley is breath taking. I wish this would of been one of the first places we went to which would of given us more time to explore. Pololu has very lush vegitation, high mountains sides, views of the ocean cliffs, pond and a black sand beach. Getting here is easy driving wise however when you get to the look out in order to get down to the...

    more
  • Sunsets

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    Dinner options were kind of limited - and it wasn't as well organized as it should been, but the sunset dinner cruise on the Fair Winds II was still one of the highlights of our family's week in Kona. It's hard to criticize too intensely once you are out on the ocean waters observing a magnificent Hawaiian sunset on a perfect summer's eve, Really,...

    more
  • Kilauea Visitor Center

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    When we were at the visitor's center I was primarily interested in taking photos of the petroglyphs. Later I got a chance to walk to the trail and see them in person. I was also interested in the exhibits on island formation but I didn't take photos of them.

    more
  • Kilauea

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    Kîlauea is one of the most spectacular volcanoes existing on Big Island in Hawaii. Rising 4,091 feet above sea level, the summit caldera is a broad shelf of uplands well beneath the long profile of Mauna Loa. It is a very low flat shield volcano lying against the southeast flank of the larger volcano known as Mauna Loa. It is one of 5 shield...

    more
  • Hulihe'e Palace

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    On the main beachfront avenue in Kailua-Kona, this two-story house stands as a reminder of Hawaii's royal past. It was constructed as a royal residence in the 1830s, and was used as such for most of the remainder of the 19th century. It's now an interesting museum which features both European and Hawaiian furniture and memorabilia. The guided tour...

    more
  • Mauna Ulu Crater

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Things to Do

    One of the more spectacular eruptions in the area's recent history was a series of lava fountains erupting from a fissure in 1969. The eruptions continued for the next four years, forming the Mauna Ulu lava field.

    more
  • The Saddle Road

    Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

    The plain between the two highest peaks of Hawaii is a bizarre landscape filled with lava flows and volcanic cones. While most of them are into the lifeless range of ochre to brown there is one exception full of green. At close look it reveals dense vegetation on its three sides petering away towards the northwest. The microclimate of this tiny...

    more
  • Luaus

    Kailua-Kona Things to Do

    This is the real Hawaiian Feast, with an enormous Buffet, which includes Kalua Pig, poi, lomi salmon, and halupia (coconut pudding). There was an open bar, and entertainment that will stir you to the core of your heart and soul. The 'Feast' was a huge erray of Traditional foods, starting with Kalua Pig. The pig is stuffed with hot coals, wrapped...

    more

Hawaii (Big Island) Hotels

Top Hawaii (Big Island) Hotels

Kailua-Kona Hotels
358 Reviews - 813 Photos
Hilo Hotels
250 Reviews - 536 Photos
Volcano Hotels
39 Reviews - 94 Photos
Wailea Hotels
3 Reviews - 5 Photos
Kalaoa Hotels
3 Hotels
Pahala Hotels
1 Review
Anaehoomalu Hotels
4 Reviews - 11 Photos
Captain Cook Hotels
18 Reviews - 40 Photos
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hotels
191 Reviews - 516 Photos
Pahoa Hotels
23 Reviews - 26 Photos
Pohoiki Hotels
See nearby hotels
Puako Hotels
17 Reviews - 45 Photos
Holualoa Hotels
6 Reviews - 11 Photos
Honuapo Hotels
See nearby hotels
Kiholo Hotels
8 Hotels

Instant Answers: Hawaii (Big Island)

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

91 travelers online now

Comments

Hawaii (Big Island) Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Hawaii (Big Island) things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Hawaii (Big Island) sightseeing.
Map of Hawaii (Big Island)