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Things to do in Big Island of Hawaii

Things to do in  Big Island of Hawaii

Welcome to Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii provides visitors a true escape from daily life, whether you’re hunting for glowing lava, beaches, adventure, or tropical rain forests. Nature lovers find endless places to explore on the lush isle, from the peaks of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the Waipio Valley. Become part of the local culture by dancing to Polynesian rhythms or dining on roasted pig at a Hawaiian luau. The Big Island brims with opportunities to discover new trails, find your own perfect beach for snorkeling, admire waterfalls, and savor Hawaiian sunsets with a fruity cocktail in hand.

Top 10 attractions in Big Island of Hawaii

#1
Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

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Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii's tallest and the highlight of many visitors' trips to the Big Island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) feature some of the world's largest telescopes, including equipment from Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii, due to its designation as an unparalleled destination for stargazing.More
#2
Kailua Pier

Kailua Pier

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Kailua Pier is the northern bookend to most of Kailua-Kona’s restaurants, shops and bars, a stretch of concrete wide enough to host four-lanes of traffic (if it wasn’t closed off to cars). The historic pier was first built as a downtown fishing dock in 1900 and utilized rocks from deconstructed Hawaiian palace and fort walls, but today few boats moor here. Instead, the pier is mostly used for large events and festivals including the annual Kona Ironman World Championships, which starts and finishes at the pier, and the Kona International Billfish Tournament whose daily catches of sometimes-massive fish species including Pacific blue marlin are weighed from pier-side scales for all to see.On the pier’s northern side, a small beach fronting the King Kamehameha Marriott Hotel has public showers, restroom blocks and hosts community events such as the Kona International Surf Film Festival and the Kona Brewers’ Festival. Aside from the beach, the best vantage forAhu’ena Heiau, a still-revered thatch-roof temple dedicated to Lono and dating to the early 19th century, is from Kailua Pier. Some say the temple is just 1/3 of its original size when built by Island-uniting King Kamehameha I. Because it is believed the monarch also died here, the site and its tiny man-made island remain sacred and off-limits to the public, despite being on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.More
#3
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers visitors a front-row seat to the region’s striking natural beauty. Home to everything from lush rain forest and the Halemaumau Crater to lava tubes and rolling black lava fields—where hot steam still rises from fissures and rifts that dot the rugged landscape—Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must on the Big Island.More
#4
Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay

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The marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay ranks among Hawaii’s most scenic spots for snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. The beautiful bay, home to spinner dolphins and backed by green mountain slopes, was the site where Captain James Cook landed—and was later killed—on the Big Island in 1779, forever altering the history and culture of the archipelago.More
#5
Hilo

Hilo

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Overlooked by the Manua Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes, Hilo is a laid-back coastal settlement full of sprawling banyan trees, local produce markets, shops, and art galleries. While the town itself is a peaceful getaway, Hilo is most famous for its proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Wailuku River State Park.More
#6
Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

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One of the most popular waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii, Rainbow Falls is loved for its easy access and the rainbows that frequent the falls on misty mornings. The Wailuku River varies dramatically based on rain, but this 80-foot (24.4-meter) cascade wows viewers whether it is a thundering torrent or delicate trickle.More
#7
Waimea

Waimea

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Situated on the northern end of Hawaii’s Big Island, Waimea is the center of Hawaiian cowboy (paniolo country. This historic area is filled with rolling green hills, endless open pastures, and spectacular valleys. With its stunning scenery and great local food, Waimea is one of the Big Island’s top tourist towns.More
#8
Captain Cook Monument

Captain Cook Monument

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British explorer Captain James Cook met his death at Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779, after a skirmish with the king of Hawaii in a local village. Today, a white obelisk in Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park stands sentinel over the lush coast and its crystal clear waters, commemorating his death.More
#9
Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach

Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach

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Hawaii’s volcanic activity creates a dynamic array of beaches ranging from soft white shores to the black pebbles of the Big Island’s Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach. But, travelers aren’t the only visitors to Punaluʻu; the area is known for the large green sea turtles (honu) that come out to bask along the black sand shoreline.More
#10
Honokohau Harbor

Honokohau Harbor

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Steep drop-offs beckon just off Kona’s coast, the dominion of pelagic beasts—marlin and billfish some topping 1,000 lbs. Most journeys to catch one begin the 262-slip marina at Honokohau Harbor, just before the entrance to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. Nearly all of Kailua-Kona’s fishermen, independent sportfish tour operators as well as charter boats departing for scuba sites and popular manta and dolphin snorkeling adventures dock and depart from Honokohau Harbor.The full-service marina also sports two noteworthy restaurants: Harbor House, a burger and beer joint with views of vessels from their open-air dining room, and Bite Me Fish Market Bar & Grill serving seafood delivered direct from the ocean to their door. ATMs, two full service restroom blocks with hot showers and a convenience store for snacks and sundries round out the facilities here.Just behind the marina proper, a snaking road ends at a lava rock parking lot with a trail leading to a small beach with decent snorkeling and popular with area dog owners.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Big Island of Hawaii

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay

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Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
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Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
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Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI
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Big Island, Kona Manta Ray Night Snorkel- Small Group
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9-Line Zipline Experience on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Manta Magic - Night Manta Ray Snorkel At Manta Village, Kona, Hawaii
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Polynesian ATV Tour

Polynesian ATV Tour

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Morning Kealakekua Snorkel Tour

Morning Kealakekua Snorkel Tour

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Deluxe Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
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Things to do in Big Island of Hawaii this...

Recent reviews from experiences in Big Island of Hawaii

star-5
Awesome Manta Rays & Captain & Crew
Patricia_K, May 2022
Manta Ray Snorkeling by Night in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Knowledgeable and helpful crew and captain and Manta Rays Tulare extraordinary to see up close—and we say lots of them.
star-5
Informative and fun
Kylie_S, May 2022
Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
He gave a lot of really interesting and cool information about Hawaii and it’s a nice way to get to see some pretty awesome places.
star-5
Amazing experience
Delphine_N, Apr 2022
Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
The crew is great and sailing are snorkeling are our favorite activities in Hawaii
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AWESOME!
Tessia_S, Apr 2022
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
Best tour to see the highlights of the island.
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Spectacular
Sandra_I, Mar 2022
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
Very accommodating The trip was a great way to see the island.
star-5
Great day
Frances_W, Mar 2022
Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
Definitely recommend this tour as it was the only one that you were able to see the lava at night.
star-5
Allen was an amazing...
Kevin_D, Mar 2022
Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo
Allen was an amazing pilot and tour guide, very calming sense of humor and had wonderful stories to share of the island, would definitely do it again and glad to see the whole island on my first full day in Hawaii!
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Great trip!
Xin_W, Feb 2022
Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
We were lucky to see some lava under the crack of the lava lake surface.
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The Best Way to See the Big Island of Hawaii
Penelope_D, Feb 2022
Volcano National Park Adventure from Waikoloa
The tour covered a broad range of attractions on the Big Island in a very informative way.
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The driver was very...
Madhavi_C, Dec 2021
Private Transfer From Kona International Airport to Hotels in Kailua-Kona
We got some good information about the local attractions from the driver.
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Great Experience, Fun and Informative
Rama_R, Dec 2021
Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island
Great experience and lucky to see the sea floor with the native Hawaiian fish.
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Worth every penny
Cynthia_C, Dec 2021
Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast
Excellent way to see a ton of Hawaii in one day, with a knowledgeable guide.
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Weather didn't cooperate....
KongBlia_V, Dec 2021
Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm
It was cloudy and rainy all day so we didn't get to see much of the volcano and no lava.
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Extra personal touch, not just your average tour!
Robbie_M, May 2022
Kohala Waterfalls Small Group Adventure Tour
Travis shared his knowledge of the locals and all of the the great places to see and eat.
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Amazing Lava at night
Anna_E, May 2022
Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
My wife encouraged me because she really wanted to see the lava at night and I didn't want to drive back down to Kona after dark.
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Rain did not deter!
Heather_G, May 2022
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
Saw waterfall, crater, steam vents, fissures, and walked through a lava tube!
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A bird’s eye view of the Big Island. Hawaii
Gale_M, Feb 2022
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
Loved seeing the beautiful waterfalls, lovely nature, gorgeous flora and mountains.
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Experience= Fantastic!, Viator Accuracy= Not so much.
Irene_B, May 2022
Big Island Zipline Over KoleKole Falls
The day we went it dumped buckets pretty much the entire time, to the point where both our guides (who were hilarious and very friendly) commented they'd never seen the falls so full, but rain jackets were provided for those of us who wanted them (the few who didn't had some serious regrets lol), plus, it was still relatively warm.
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BOOK IT NOW LOL
Raquel_M, May 2022
Big Island - North Island Jungle Driving Tour
This tour had about 157 stops so it was jam packed with all the essentials you needed to visit some of the sites on big island.
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Tour was amazing- great job Eric!
Bruce_M, May 2022
Volcano National Park Adventure from Waikoloa
We ended with seeing a beautiful waterfall in Hilo.
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