The Big Island, aka Hawaii – the island that gives the Aloha State its name – has “big” in it for a reason: it can take a while to explore. In this list, we condensed some major activities great for families, couples, and bucket list dreams, in an easy 10 best things we think you should do on the Big Island!
10 BEST THINGS TO DO ON THE BIG ISLAND:
Swimming with the Manta Rays at NIGHT and seeing them up close is a magical sight. It’s listed as one of the best things to do in the world and we agree! A fun activity for the entire family! You don’t have to be a great swimmer and if you’re so inclined to stay on board the boat, the Manta Rays, aka angels of the sea, are so huge you can eye them out compared to us clumsy humans.
What is the most southern point in the USA? You probably guess it and no it’s not Florida, it’s on the Big Island of Hawaii, Ka Lae (“The Point”). Jumping (approximately) 50feet into the warm Hawaiian waters is a once in a lifetime experience and bucket list dreams spots you have to visit while on the island of Hawaii.
Many black sand beaches are faux black sand, meaning it’s not completely made of volcanic glass (the element that creates a jet black contrast) but not here. Punaluu Black Sand beach is one the most popular beaches on the Big Island and rightfully so with its crystal clear waters for swimming, abundant marine life, and picture-perfect coconut tree row backdrop to make any photo frame worthy.
4. ENJOY THE VIEW OF AKAKA FALLS
We mean, take photos in front of the most popular falls on the Big Island – Akaka Falls! Only 11 Miles (18KM) north of Hilo, this 442 feet (135M) tall waterfall is a sight to behold, especially after rainfall! Entry for Akaka Falls is $1 per person or $5 per car.
5. DRIVE UP SADDLE ROAD (AKA Route 200)
“The Old Saddle Road” stretches across the Island of Hawaii, from downtown Hilo to its junction with Route 190, near Waimea. Although most of the road has been repaved, it was once the most dangerous roads in the state. The beautiful drive is mostly a one-lane highway, reaches a maximum elevation of 6,632 feet (2,021M) and is occasionally covered in fog making visibility low. It is the shortest driving route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona and takes you across the slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
Almost by default, watching a sunset in Hawaii is a must on every list. Maybe it’s lazy writing to some but with a busy schedule trying to make tours, we know some visitors aren’t able to take a true moment of a sunset in. The vast Kailua-Kona side with it’s an endless selection of beaches are a must to capture a Big Island sunset.
7. KAYAK TO CAPTAIN COOK MONUMENT
Kayaking in placid water is mediocre but for an adventurous time with some extracurricular snorkeling, renting a kayak and spending a day paddling in the Ocean is a highlight of any trip. The Captain Cook monument was the location where the first contact with the western world and Hawaiians was documented. It’s also where the Hawaiians would end up killing captain cook for lying to them about being an all-powerful god.
If the Hawaiian sun wears you out, head to Mauna Kea where the air is cool averaging around 43 F/ 6 C. At its peak, book a stargazing tour! Watch the sunset and wait for all the stars to come out! A perfect thing to do for any astrophotographers!
9. WHALE WATCHING
Between the waters of Maui and Big Island are arguably the best place to see Humpback Whales in Hawaii. Clean and deep waters provide a fun playground for mothers rearing their young for the long journey up North.
When is whale watching season?
Best times to see these Humpback whales in Hawaii are in the months of November and early May with Jan-March being the ‘high’ season to whale watch. Booking a boat tour for sunset can be educational, romantic, and memorable.
What’s a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii without seeing what it’s most known for? LAVA! Kilauea Visitor Center is the number one visitor center attraction on the island of Hawaii. Here, you can see the Kilauea Crater and the occasional lava spew. For an up close and personal tour to see lava spewing into the Ocean, companies offer boat tours.
There are many things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii and if you’re short on time you’ll only want to experience the top things! We hope you enjoyed our list but we are always open to comments, questions or concerns! What did you do when you visited Hawaii? Any off the beaten path recommendations? Let us know in the comments or email! Mahalo Nui Loa for reading!
Stay full as you explore the massive island by eating at the 10 best places on the Big Island.