Top Tourist Attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii USA
The best part about the Big Island of Hawaii is that there is no need to travel anywhere else. This island has it all, from majestic waterfalls and towering volcanoes to hot springs and black sand beaches.
There are more than enough things to do on the island of Hawaii that you could spend an entire vacation. If you are looking for fantastic Hawaii Big Island things to do, please keep reading.
It’s also worth noting that the Big Island is one of the best options if you’re looking for a tropical vacation. It features plenty of beautiful beaches and activities to enjoy, including surfing, hiking, exploring, and much more. With an island as diverse as this, there’s something to suit any vacationer—so why not book a flight today? You’ll be glad you did when you get here.
Top 5 Hawaii Big Island things to do
If you’re looking for a tropical paradise, the Big Island of Hawaii is the best place to visit.
If you’re looking for a tropical paradise, the Big Island of Hawaii is the best place to visit. Known as Hawaii’s largest island, it offers visitors an array of things to do and places to see. With its lush greenery, beautiful weather, and warm ocean waters—not to mention its active volcanoes—this island has everything you need for a fantastic vacation.
Many activities on this island will make any visitor’s day worthwhile: surfing on Waikiki Beach; hiking through the Kona coffee fields; visiting Hilo Town’s historic waterfront district; going snorkeling or scuba diving in one of the many gorgeous bays located on this massive landmass; enjoying fresh lobster tail at Ted’s Bakery in Kapa`au – the list goes on!
Big Island of Hawaii Map
Start With The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
When you think of the Hawaii Big Island, you might picture Hawaii’s famous beaches, waterfalls, and lava tubes. But there are another natural wonder visitors should not miss Hawaii Volcanoes, National Park.
This park is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes on Earth—Kilauea—and has some of the tallest sea cliffs in North America. The park also includes giant black sand beaches and lush rainforests filled with birdsong and endangered ‘elepaio trees that only grow here on this island chain!
If you’re looking for an adventure beyond what your hotel room can offer, no trip is complete without visiting one of these top ten things to do while visiting Big Island Hawaii!
Take A Dip At The Mauna Kea Beach
The Mauna Kea Beach is located on the Kona side of the big island. This beach is known for its blue waters, calm waters, and white sand. It’s one of the most popular beaches on Hawai’i island and has been voted one of America’s top 10 beaches for several years.
Thousands flock here to swim under crystal clear waters every year, perfect for snorkeling or just playing water sports like surfing or kiteboarding. Use our guide below to help plan your trip!
Snorkel At Captain James Cook Monument
Snorkeling is a great way to see the underwater world. The Captain James Cook Monument is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and fish, making it one of the best places in Hawaii for snorkeling! The natural reefs are home to dozens of species and even more fish, so you can be sure your snorkel will be exciting.
You’ll want to bring your mask, fins, and snorkel if the tour company doesn’t provide them. You can also get a waterproof camera or GoPro to capture your underwater adventures on film!
Visit the Seahorse Farm in Kona
Whether you’re a seahorse enthusiast or want to experience something different, the Seahorse Farm is a fun attraction you shouldn’t miss. The tour guides are passionate and knowledgeable and will answer any questions.
As soon as you enter the farm, it’s clear that this is a special place. The large tanks are full of colorful fish and coral reefs—unexpectedly, some even host baby seahorses for Hawaii!
As you walk along the path through the tanks and learn about these fascinating animals (which can be pretty social if raised with their kind), your guide will give you tips on how to snorkel with one or two seahorses at once (they prefer their species). It makes for an unforgettable underwater experience—you won’t forget it anytime soon!
The farm itself isn’t too big, but there’s enough space on land so families can explore without being cramped together during tours of each tank area (there is three total).
It’s also great because it only takes up one side of an open lot instead of taking up valuable space within town limits as other attractions might. Plus, they let anyone come through every day without needing reservations beforehand–pay at check-in before going inside.”
Paddle Through Kealakekua Bay
If you’re looking to get up close and personal with the marine life of Hawaii, Kealakekua Bay is a great place to start. The bay is home to many types of coral, sponges, and fish. You can also see turtles swimming around here at any time of the year.
The best time to snorkel in Kealakekua Bay is in the morning or afternoon when there are fewer waves. It means that you’ll be able to spot more marine life from your snorkel gear!
Explore The Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii. It’s located in Hilo, a city on the Big Island known as home to many volcanoes and waterfalls.
Akaka Falls is also the second-tallest waterfall in all of Hawaii! It means that it will be an incredible sight when you visit this place. The best way to experience these falls is by hiking along the path around them (you can even swim at some points!).
Star gaze atop Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea, which rises 13,796 feet above sea level at its summit, is a sacred site for many Hawaiians and has been considered such since ancient times. Today it’s also home to numerous observatories open to the public—and their views can be enjoyed by anyone who makes their way up there!
The observatories on Mauna Kea were first built during WWII (1942) and were used for military purposes primarily; however, now they’re being used more frequently by scientists across disciplines, including astronomy and atmospheric science. These observatories have been instrumental in helping us better understand our universe!
If you’re interested in visiting these observatories but aren’t sure how to get up there without breaking your ankle or dying from altitude sickness (like some common tourist mistakes), don’t worry. You can reach Mauna Kea’s apex in many ways without trouble!
For example: renting an SUV will give you access not only because it will allow you safely transport yourself up into this part of Hawaii where most people cannot go otherwise; but also because it allows room enough for passengers who need assistance getting around due to health reasons.
Go Whale Watching Off Kohala Coast
The Kohala Coast is one of the best places to see whales. It’s the most popular spot in Hawaii for whale watching – from December to March, and you can expect in-season sightings of sperm and humpback whales.
Whale-watching tours are offered at the harbor in Kailua-Kona (a famous tourist town on the Big Island), or you can choose a private tour instead. Whichever option you select, ensure your boat operator has permits for its activities with marine mammals.
Whale watching is best during winter because these marine mammals come closer to shore, looking for food and warmer water temperatures. In addition, this time of year offers calm sea conditions ideal for spotting these gentle giants!
Hit The Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site is one of the most popular Big Island hiking tours, and it’s easy to see why. A site is where you can feel Hawaiʻi’s unique landscape and history come together in one place.
The hike begins with a drive up the coast to Kawaihae Harbor. You’ll take a boat from Kealakekua Bay to Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site.
Once on land at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, you can walk up close to the green lava vents known as “Pu’uhonua” or “safe haven.” As long as you follow park rules (no food or drink allowed), this tour should be leisurely for anyone who wants a quick glimpse into Hawaiian history.
Explore Hilo town
Hilo has a lot to offer! You can pick up some fresh produce at the Hilo Farmers Market, visit the Hilo Art Museum, or learn about Hawaii’s history at local museums.
Once you’ve explored downtown, head to the Wailoa River State Park to see how Hawaiians lived during different periods and view Mauna Kea (the world’s tallest mountain when measured from its base on the ocean floor), afterward, head to the Big Island Museum or Lyman Museum for a more in-depth look at Hawaiian culture and history.
FAQ: Hawaii Big Island things to do
How many days is enough in Big Island Hawaii?
If you have five days in Big Island Hawaii, you have enough time to do many things. You can visit all four main destinations on the Big Island such as Kona, Waimea, and Hilo; take day trips to other parts of the island like Volcano National Park or Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; visit places like Puna lava tubes or Akaka Falls, and participate in activities like snorkeling at Oneuli Beach or hiking Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater trail. You can also go on adventures like surfing lessons in Kailua Bay or manta ray spotting tours out of Kawaihae Harbor.
If you want more than five but not ten days, consider adding an extra day to each location in your itinerary so that each destination gets two full days (two full days are sufficient for most activities).
For example: if you plan on going from Kona City to Volcano National Park and back within one day using public transportation, then plan on spending two nights in the volcano so that one night is spent there before heading off into town for dinner/lunch/snacks, etc., then spend another night after that exploring what’s open during daylight hours before heading back out again for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, drinks, etc.
It will allow each location its unique experience without feeling rushed through anything – especially those places requiring more time because they’re potentially closed off due to weather conditions that might only occur once every few years!
What is the Hawaii Big Island most known for?
The Big Island of Hawaii has a lot to offer visitors. It’s home to 11 active volcanoes, some of the best beaches in the world, and an island-wide drive that provides breathtaking views of waterfalls and lush forests.
Take your pick from snorkeling amongst colorful fish at Kealakekua Bay or exploring lava tubes as you hike through hardened volcanic ash. In addition to all this natural beauty, plenty of cultural history sites will fascinate you with stories about Hawaiian folklore and how they used their surroundings as tools for survival.
If you love food (and who doesn’t?), you can choose from various delicious cuisines, including Japanese ramen noodles and Korean barbecue plates at restaurants across the island.
The Big Island is also known for its surfing schools, where beginners can learn how to stand up on boards before trying out more advanced maneuvers like tube riding or dropping into big waves at Waikoloa Beach Park’s Pipe Masters Competition held every December!
Is it better to stay in Hilo or Kona?
Kona and Hilo are the two biggest cities on the Hawaii Big Island. They have a lot of things in common—both are great places to enjoy Hawaii’s natural beauty, both have excellent beaches, and both offer restaurants serving delicious cuisine from around the world.
But there are some differences between them too:
- Hilo is home to over 45,000 people, while Kona has about 23,000 residents. You’ll find more shops and restaurants here than in other parts of the island—and they also tend to be more reasonably priced! Plus, cultural attractions like museums and botanical gardens are scattered throughout town (the Volcano House Hotel also offers an interesting museum). As such, it’s only natural that Hilo would feel more like a town than a resort community like Kona.
- If you want to stay somewhere that feels more like your own private island getaway without having to travel far away from civilization, then consider staying at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows or any number of other resorts along Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona; both locations offer stunning ocean views with plenty of activities nearby!
What is the best time of year to visit the Big Island of Hawaii?
The best time to visit the Big Island of Hawaii is during the summer when temperatures are milder and humidity levels are lower. The average high temperature on any given day in Hawaii ranges from 70°F (21°C) in January to 78°F (26°C) in August, so you can expect a distinct change in weather conditions if you plan on traveling there during different times of the year.
Some people prefer warmer climates and take advantage of their ideal vacation spots when it’s still warm outside. In contrast, others enjoy experiencing colder conditions, like snowboarding down mountains or enjoying winter sports like skating or skiing on frozen lakes and ponds with their friends or family members.
If you have plans for your trip that include outdoor activities such as hiking through nature trails around volcanoes without needing to bring extra layers of clothing just because they may be cold at night, consider visiting during the summer months instead!
What is the best beach on the Big Island?
There are several beautiful beaches on the Big Island, but we’ll tell you our favorites.
We’ll start with Waipi’o Valley Beach—Hawaii’s most famous and photographed beach. It’s also one of the smaller beaches on our list, so if you want a more private experience and don’t want to deal with crowds, this is your spot.
You’ll need a 4×4 vehicle or an ATV to get there because it’s next to a very steep dropoff into some rocky terrain! There are no restrooms or showers here, although picnic tables are under shade shelters at each beach end, where you can rest up before heading home through Waipi’o Gap.
Next up is Kekaha Kai State Park features two separate beaches: Wai’ao Bay and Kahalu’u Beach Park, just north of it (you can see both from above). Both have public access points, but like other Big Island beaches, they do not allow dogs or pets, so leave them home if possible – sorry, pups!
How long does it take to drive around the Big Island?
It takes about 7-8 hours to drive around the Big Island. It is a long island, so you must be careful about driving. If you are going on this trip, bring enough water with you because there will be no other way of getting any if your car breaks down or something else happens there!
You might also want to go on a guided tour since it’s hard to find parking in some smaller towns, and you also have to pay for parking.
Busing around the island could take up to 10 hours depending on which destinations are being visited overland versus air travel time savings due to less traffic congestion during peak tourism seasons (mid-December through mid-January).
Is Big Island worth visiting?
The Big Island is a great place to visit. There are many things to do, and it’s a great place to relax or be adventurous. You can go hiking on the volcano or swimming at one of the beaches in Kona. If you’re traveling with friends or family, renting an RV and exploring the island together is a good idea!
There are so many things for visitors in Hawaii: surf lessons on Waikiki Beach, snorkeling off Oahu, whale watching from Maui – there’s something for everyone!
There are plenty of things to do on the Hawaii Big Island
If you plan an island getaway, the Big Island of Hawaii is probably on your list. You may have heard that there are many things to do on the Big Island, but what exactly does that mean?
If you want to do some sightseeing, I highly recommend visiting Hilo and Kona—these towns boast countless activities for tourists and locals alike. There are so many fun things to do in Hilo and Kona that it would be nearly impossible to list them all here!
I hope this guide has excited you to visit the Big Island of Hawaii and its natural beauty.
Thanks for reading! I hope it has also given you a good idea of what the Big Island is all about and why it’s such a special place for travelers worldwide to visit. We’d love to hear if you plan on visiting any of these places or if we missed something that needs to be added to this list! If so, let us know in the comments section below.