Top 50 Things to Do on Hawaii, the Big Island
Did you know? You may soon be exploring TripAdvisor No. 1 "U.S. Destination on the Rise," Kailua-Kona, and Frommer's "Top 15 Destinations for 2014," Hawaii Island. You'll be among great company!
This is our list of just some of the many things to do, see, eat, and explore during your visit to Hawaii Island. Take this virtual Circle Island Tour which begins right here in Keauhou! And when staying with us, visit the Vacation Service Coordinators in The Flying Fish for assistance with booking any of these recommendations and more.
- 1) Nighttime Manta Ray Snorkel Trip with Fair Wind - departs from Keauhou Bay
- 2) Kealakekua Bay – via snorkel cruise or Dolphin Discoveries – dolphin swim adventure - departs from Keauhou Bay
- 3) Rent bicycles from The Flying Fish for a cruise along Alii Drive, a Hawaii Scenic Byway
- 4) Lomi Lomi Massage from Hoola Spa at Sheraton Kona
- 5) Cultural/Historical Tours at Sheraton Kona
- 6) View Manta Rays at Sheraton Kona after a sunset dinner at Rays on the Bay
- 7) Haleo Luau Dinner & Show on the Hawaii Lawn Monday evenings; Hooulu Farmer's Market each Weds. and Saturday morning on the lawn at resort entrance
- 8) Paradise Helicopter tours
North towards Historic Kailua Village Area
- 9) Snorkeling, surfing, paddle board at Keauhou Bay
- 10) Stroll Historic Kailua Village; visit Ahuena Heiau, a small restored thatched-roof sacred structure from where King Kamehameha once ruled, Hulihee Palace and Mokuaikaua Church, the first Christian Church built in Hawaii
- 11) Treat yourself to a Scandanavian Shaved Ice - called "snow cones" elsewhere
- 12) Orchid Isle Bicycling/Cycle Station - sign up for one of their island bike tours
- 13) Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park - north of Kailua Village, ancient fish ponds and more
South Kona towards Kealakekua Bay
- 14) Stroll Holualoa Village - Art galleries and quaint shops
- 15) Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park - also known as the City of Refuge; hike the Kings Trail, Snorkel at "Two Steps"
- 16) Greenwell Coffee Farm Tour - Historical store/museum, one of the oldest and largest farms in the Kona district
- 17) The Coffee Shack Restaurant - Kona Coffee, homemade pies, pastries and coastal views from the lanai
- 18) Teshima's Restaurant - a "Kona Mauka" landmark; home style Japanese food
- 19) Ke'ei Café - In Kealakekua, lots of organic, local foods with Brazilian flair
- 20) Manago Restaurant - Another "Kona Mauka" landmark, known especially for their pork chops
South to Volcano Village and beyond into Hilo
- 21) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park / Volcano Village Artist's Tour
- 22) Puuloa Petroglyphs - located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- 23) Punaluu Black Sand Beach - south of Volcanoes National Park; bring a picnic, but please, don’t touch the turtles!
- 24) Imiloa Astronomy Center and Lyman Museum - In Hilo town
- 25) Mokupapapa Discovery Center -In Hilo; free, science, culture, history of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and remote Coral Reefs
- 26) Merrie Monarch Hula Festival - Hilo each April
- 27) Downtown Hilo Historical walk - local artisan shops, restaurants, visit Pacific Tsunami Museum
- 28) Liliuokalani Gardens - 30-acre Japanese Garden on Hilo’s Banyan Drive
- 29) Hilo Farmers Market - Weds. and Sat. are the big days, operates daily except Fridays 6am-4pm
- 30) Big Island Candies - a "must" gift to bring home are their chocolate dipped macadamia shortbread cookies but their other varieties will surprise you. Visit Sig Zane Designs Store on Kamehameha Ave. while you're in town.
Through Hilo and along the Hamakua Coast towards Waimea
- 31) Akaka Falls - Two waterfalls, easy hike on paved path; entry is $5 per car
- 32) World Botanical Gardens & Waterfalls - gardens, Segway, zipline, guided horticultural tours; fee
- 33) Earl's Sushi- Paauilo Town; get there early ‘cause they always sell out
- 34) Tex Drive Inn - In Honokaa, famous Malasadas (Portuguese donuts)
- 35) Waipio Valley or Ride the Waipio Valley Rim - "The Valley of the Kings," important in Hawaiian history and place of dramatic tropical beauty. Note – rental cars not allowed/4WD access only into valley.
North and South Kohala Districts
- 36) Waimea Farmers Market -Saturdays, 7am-Noon, Hwy. 19 at mile marker 55 on the edge of Waimea
- 37) Evening at Kahua Ranch - Visit this historic cattle ranch on the slopes of the Kohala Mountains
- 38) Pololu Valley lookout; hike into valley - four-mile trail, moderately difficult, limited parking area
- 39) Hawaii Forest & Trail- Hiking/Eco-adventures - From valley floors to stargazing on Maunakea and tours to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this award winning company is among the best.
- 40) Zipline - Zip through the canopy of trees in North Kohala with this safety-first company
- 41) Kohala Horseback riding, Kahua Ranch Horseback riding, Waimea Horseback riding
- 42) Kohala ATV - experience the dramatic North Kohala shoreline via ATV
- 43) Pu`ukohola Heiau - a Heiau is a Hawaiian temple. At Puukohola you’ll tread in the footsteps of Kings
- 44) Hapuna Beach State Park - The island's largest white sand beach
- 45) Kua Bay - just north of Kona between mile markers 88 and 89, no shade so bring a hat!
Other Recommendations Around the Island
- 46) Mauna Kea Summit Tours - witness the spectacle atop the tallest mountain on earth, when measured from the sea floor. Freezing temperatures not at all unusual.
- 47) Scuba Dive - many operators offer excellent options for some of the best diving in the world
- 48) Deep Sea Fishing - most boats depart from Honokohau Harbor but there are some right from Keauhou Bay
- 49) Helicopters – Big Island Adventure Tour -or via Paradise Helicopters. A flight over the volcano and/or along dramatic waterfalls is amazing!
- 50) Tee it up, Hawaii-Island-style, at Big Island Country Club or Makalei golf courses (Kona Country Club undergoing renovations)
There are many, many other things to do and see; many, many wonderful places to eat and enjoy island views. We encourage you to explore (online) and explore (on island). The more you do, the more you experience, the more you’ll understand what makes Hawaii, the Big Island, so special.
Companies listed here/linked to here are suggestions only and by no means a guarantee of nor endorsement of what they provide.