Exploring Hawaii: Key Things to Do on the Island

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Aloha! | E Komo Mai

Imagine stepping off the plane and inhaling the sweet scent of hibiscus, your eyes drinking in views that look like they’re straight out of a postcard. You’ve just landed on the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, where adventure awaits at every turn.

From exploring ancient lava tubes to stargazing atop Mauna Kea summit, each day was brimming with new discoveries. And let’s not forget about night snorkeling with manta rays!

The question isn’t what can you do here; rather, it’s how will you ever choose between all these incredible options?

Let me guide you through my top recommendations for things to do.

Exploring the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii, is a sprawling and exciting destination. With a staggering 101 unique activities to choose from, you’ll never be short on things to do.

This tropical paradise boasts diverse landscapes – verdant rainforests teeming with exotic flora and fauna, pristine white sand beaches perfect for lazy afternoons under the sun, or even rugged lava fields that speak volumes about the island’s volcanic origins.

Immerse in Nature’s Grandeur

You can start your exploration by taking a hike up Mauna Kea summit. The trek will reward you with an unparalleled view of stars sprinkled across the clear Hawaiian sky at night. If water adventures are more your style, don’t miss out on snorkeling tours where vibrant marine life greets you beneath azure waters.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers another thrilling excursion opportunity. Home to active volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa, it’s truly awe-inspiring when nature shows her might through steam vents and lava flows.

Dive into Unique Experiences

A visit to this island wouldn’t be complete without indulging in traditional Hawaiian culture. Attending a Luau should top your list – dance along with locals adorned in colorful outfits while feasting on authentic delicacies like poi and kalua pig. Or why not take time exploring ancient petroglyph fields scattered throughout Essential Big Island?

Savor Local Delights

If coffee runs in your veins instead of blood, then visiting Kona is non-negotiable. This quaint town built around coffee farming gives visitors insight into their favorite morning brew’s journey from farm to cup. Sip on the freshest coffee while basking in Kona’s laid-back atmosphere.

From experiencing traditional luaus, gazing at star-studded skies atop Mauna Kea, snorkeling with manta rays, or exploring lush rainforests – Hawaii’s Big Island is a smorgasbord of unique experiences waiting for you.

Key Takeaway:

Embrace the sheer diversity of Hawaii’s Big Island – hike Mauna Kea for starlit views, snorkel in azure waters with vibrant marine life, or witness nature’s power at Volcanoes National Park. Indulge in traditional Hawaiian culture through luaus and petroglyph explorations. Savor Kona coffee right from its source and enjoy a feast that tantalizes your taste buds while taking you on a journey through this paradise island.

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Activities

The Big Island of Hawaii is a paradise for nature lovers, with its special terrain providing numerous opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Swimming with Manta Rays

A one-of-a-kind underwater adventure awaits when you decide to swim with manta rays at night. Known for their gentle demeanor and elegance, swimming with manta rays is a thrilling and serene experience. A snorkeling tour will let you see these enchanting marine animals up close.

While the idea might seem intimidating, make sure not to miss out on this unforgettable encounter which ranks high among things to do on the island of Hawaii.

Hiking Mauna Kea

If gazing into infinite space captivates your imagination then ascending Mauna Kea should be next on your list. This dormant volcano stands as the highest peak in Hawaii offering breathtaking views from above the clouds during daytime while turning into an astronomer’s dream by nightfall due to minimal light pollution.

You can even explore more about stargazing opportunities through the eyes of Mauna Kea here.

Farm Tour - Beyond Coffee Beans.

Hawaii’s fertile soil nurtures much more than just beautiful landscapes; it also gives life to diverse flora including coffee plants that have made Kona famous worldwide. So why not add some flavor by going beyond sightseeing? Get hands-on experience picking beans or witness how they transform into delicious cups of joe during a farm tour.

This lets us appreciate our morning brews even better knowing all the hard work put behind each cup.

Pick Your Beach

The Big Island offers a variety of beaches, each with its unique charm. From the glistening black sand beach to an unusual green sand beach and even a traditional white sand beach – it’s all here for you to explore.

Unlock a world of aquatic wonder by snorkeling and exploring the vibrant coral reefs on The Big Island.

Find your perfect spot here.

Key Takeaway:

Experience the diverse wonders of Hawaii’s Big Island. From swimming with manta rays and hiking Mauna Kea, to exploring local farms beyond just coffee beans – there’s something for every nature lover. Don’t forget to pick your beach and delve into underwater marvels. Embrace these unique adventures for an unforgettable Hawaiian escape.

Unique Experiences and Attractions

The Big Island of Hawaii holds a wealth of exclusive adventures ready to be explored.

Attending a Luau

For a truly authentic Hawaiian experience, attending a luau is an ideal way to explore the culture. Luaus are traditional feasts that combine food, music, and dance into one incredible experience. With numerous luaus happening across the island, it’s easy to immerse yourself in this captivating tradition.

You’ll enjoy succulent dishes like kalua pig cooked in an underground oven while watching hula dancers sway rhythmically under the stars. And if you’ve ever wondered about manta ray night adventures or had questions about rays on the bay Kona-side after dark – well, many luaus feature local storytellers who can enlighten you with fascinating tales from these marine creatures’ world.

Exploring Petroglyph Fields

Hawaii’s rich history isn’t only found in books but etched onto its landscape through ancient petroglyph fields – centuries-old rock carvings made by early Hawaiians.

A walk through these timeworn petroglyph fields will make sure your connection with Hawaii goes deeper than sand between your toes; it seeps right into your soul. From stick figures holding spears to enigmatic symbols whose meanings have been lost over time – each carving offers glimpses into Hawaii’s past.

This trip back in time may even inspire some modern-day creativity too. Just remember not to touch or disturb these priceless artifacts as they continue telling their silent stories for future generations yet unborn.

Best Places to Stay on the Big Island

The Big Island, along with its diverse landscapes, vibrantly cultured towns, and a wide range of accommodations. But where’s the best area to stay on the big island? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Staying in Kona - Explore Kona, a town built around coffee and known for its beautiful beaches

Kona is a delightful seaside community renowned for its exquisite coffee and radiant beaches. The hotels in Kona Hawaii are located right on the beach providing breathtaking ocean views. On The Rocks, an iconic bar in Kona, is worth checking out too.

If you prefer something unique rather than mainstream hotels then there are some truly unique places to stay available here. From boutique guesthouses nestled amidst coffee farms to luxury resorts by the sea, your choices aren’t limited.

The local cuisine also makes staying here enticing with popular eateries like Rays On The Bay at Sheraton Kauai Resort offering dishes that tickle your taste buds while treating you to scenic bay views.

Around Hilo – Tropical Rainforests & Waterfalls Await You

Hilo houses lush rainforest areas along Hamakua Coast and cascading waterfalls such as Akaka Falls which make this side of the island serene yet exciting. Accommodations vary from cozy B&Bs within botanical gardens or high-end resorts overlooking stunning vistas; all making them among best places to stay on big island Hawaii.

Vibrant Volcano Village – Close To Nature’s Fury Yet Soothingly Calm.

This quaint village lies near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and offers unique stays. There’s an abundance of close to nature experiences from cottages to treehouses.

Some of the best accommodations on Big Island lie where the truly unique experiences are. Whether it’s beachfront luxury or forest retreats, each area provides a distinct Hawaiian charm making your stay unforgettable.

Key Takeaway:

Whether you’re chasing ocean vistas, craving local flavors, or yearning to be close to nature’s marvels, each locale guarantees a Hawaiian adventure that’ll etch itself into your memory. So come and find the spot that calls out to you most on Hawaii’s Big Island – it might just be an experience of a lifetime.

Insider Tips and Recommendations

But there’s more to the island than meets the eye. It’s all about knowing where to look.

Start by exploring Hilo, a vibrant city that perfectly captures Hawaii’s charm. From hidden waterfalls to colorful farmer markets – it has something for everyone. Surprise yourself by discovering the hustle and bustle of Hilo, located on the east side of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is another must-visit spot teeming with geologic wonders like active lava flows and volcanic craters – truly an adventurer’s dream come true. Don’t forget your camera because every corner of this park screams ‘Instagram-worthy’.

Tips For The Road Less Traveled

If you’re looking for a unique Hawaiian experience, try visiting some less touristy spots such as Puna or South Point – they’re worth getting off the beaten path for.

Puna boasts enchanting forests filled with rare flora while South Point gives you access to Green Sand Beach – one of only four green sand beaches in the world. A visit here lets you discover parts of Hawaii many tourists don’t get to see.

A Taste Of Local Cuisine

No trip would be complete without diving into local cuisine. Stop by roadside food stands serving fresh fruits like mangoes, pineapples, and guavas straight from their farms — nothing tastes better than fruit picked right off the tree.

Sustainable Tourism

  • Eco-friendly tourism is increasingly popular on the Big Island due to residents’ commitment to preserving their paradise. So, while exploring, make sure you respect the land and culture.
  • Remember not to touch or disturb wildlife and natural formations — let’s keep Hawaii beautiful for generations to come.

Unlock the wonders of Hawaii and embark on your journey now. So why wait? Start planning your Big Island adventure today. Remember, the real thrill often lies in stepping off the beaten path.

Key Takeaway:

Explore the vibrant city of Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a true taste of Big Island’s charm. Seek out less-traveled areas like Puna or South Point for unique experiences. Don’t forget to savor local cuisine from roadside food stands, and remember – respect is key in maintaining this paradise.

Historical Sites and Cultural Experiences

If you’re a history buff, or just someone with an interest in the past, the Big Island of Hawaii is full of surprises. This island has witnessed countless centuries unfold and it bears silent witness to these events through its historical sites.

An Ancient Refuge Awaits You

You might have heard about ancient refuges from stories or movies, but on this island you can actually step into one. It’s not every day that you get to explore a sanctuary that once provided protection for those who broke kapu (sacred laws). The site tells tales of olden times when life was governed by such rules. Envision the ancient era when life was guided by such laws.

The Call Of An 18th-Century War Temple

Now let’s travel further back in time – all the way to the 18th century. Here stands a war temple constructed under King Kamehameha I’s rule – an era marked by significant transformations within Hawaiian society. Paying your respects at this location gives you insight into how conflicts were managed back then and their impact on today’s culture.

Lava Tubes: Nature's Time Capsules

Beyond man-made structures, there are also natural formations holding keys to understanding Hawaii’s past. Have you ever ventured inside a lava tube? Prepare to be amazed by the geological marvel of lava tubes, formed over thousands of years through volcanic activity. Lava tubes are essentially nature’s own history books carved out by volcanic activity over thousands of years. As each layer formed during different eruptions settles down they capture snapshots of Earth’s fiery past making them priceless geological treasures worth exploring.

A Helicopter Tour Back In Time

To wrap up our journey through time, we’ll take to the skies. There’s no better way to get a sense of how time has sculpted this landscape than a helicopter tour. Being able to see the remnants of ancient lava flows, and the lush rainforests that came after. This bird’s eye view paints an incredibly vivid picture of Hawaii’s evolution over millions of years.

When we explore these sites, it doesn’t just give us understanding. It also deepens our appreciation.

Key Takeaway:

Step into Hawaii’s rich past with its fascinating historical sites. Visit an ancient refuge, explore a war temple from the 18th century, and dive deep into lava tubes that hold geological treasures of Earth’s fiery history. Finally, take to the skies for a breathtaking helicopter tour offering panoramic views of how time has sculpted this stunning landscape.

Big Island Ocean & Marine Adventures

From spotting humpback whales to paddling towards historical landmarks, there’s always an adventure waiting.

Cruising in Humpback Whale Territory

Hawaii offers the perfect setting for cruising and observing humpback whales. These majestic creatures make their way here during winter months, transforming the Hawaiian waters into a playground filled with awe-inspiring leaps and dives. Having the opportunity to see these majestic creatures allows for a deeper understanding of marine life. 

This experience connects you with a unique and generous opportunity to connect with nature. The moment when one of these gentle giants breaks through the water’s surface – it’s truly something unforgettable.

Paddling to Captain Cook Monument

If getting up close with wildlife isn’t your thing, how about some history? Kayaking across Kealakekua Bay towards the Captain Cook Monument is another unique experience that combines physical exercise, beautiful landscapes, rich history, and abundant marine life all in one package.

You don’t need to be an experienced kayaker either – beginners are welcome. And as you paddle along this scenic route amid crystal clear waters teeming with colorful fish beneath your kayak – well let’s just say photos simply don’t do justice to such experiences.


So, you’ve journeyed with me through the magical world of Hawaii. We’ve swam with manta rays under starlit skies and hiked up to Mauna Kea’s summit for a breathtaking view of our universe.

We dove into traditional Hawaiian culture at luau feasts, then strolled around Kona, sipping on some of the best coffee in town. Remember those historical sites we explored? And how about that thrilling paddle to Captain Cook Monument?

All these things are just scratching the surface when it comes to things to do on the island of Hawaii. It’s a place where every turn uncovers something new and exciting!

You’re now armed with insider tips and recommendations. The Big Island is waiting – what will your adventure look like?

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities are available on the Big Island in Hawaii?

You can explore diverse options like swimming with manta rays, hiking Mauna Kea, attending a traditional luau, or exploring ancient petroglyph fields.

What island has the most things to do in Hawaii?

The Big Island of Hawaii tops the list. It offers a variety of outdoor adventures, unique cultural experiences and stunning natural wonders for every traveler.

What activities do people do on a Hawaiian vacation?

Folks usually dive into marine adventures such as snorkeling tours and whale watching cruises. They also hike volcanoes, visit historical sites and indulge in local cuisines at luaus.

What should you not miss on the Big Island?

Paddling to Captain Cook Monument is a must-do activity. You shouldn’t skip savoring Kona coffee either – it’s an experience woven around this renowned brew.