What Can You Do on Big Island? 15 Fantastic Ideas

Do you fancy a vacation to Big Island? Hawaii is considered a popular and relaxing holiday destination.

Known for its gorgeous beaches, tropical weather, and laid-back atmosphere, it’s understandable that Hawaii is popular among tourists.

What Can You Do on Big Island

Big Island is the nickname of Hawaii Island, which is found in the state of Hawaii.

So whether you are visiting for just one day or an entire week, there are tons of fun activities for you to get involved with. To help you choose the best activities, here are fifteen fantastic things to do on this tropical island.

1. Rainbow Falls

Our first pick is Rainbow Falls, a stunning waterfall found in Hilo, Hawaii Island. If you happen to be visiting this settlement, it’s certainly worth attending this wonderful waterfall.

The reason why this site of natural beauty has earned this name is that rainbows are visible through the water and mist. Caused by reflection and refraction, you will have to view the waterfall from a distance if you wish to see this beautiful rainbow.

This creates a beautiful aesthetic that’s definitely worth experiencing. Rainbow Falls is also a peaceful location that’s perfect for relaxation and meditation.

Another reason to visit this destination is that the water flows on top of a lava cave, which is said to be home to Hina. Linked to the moon, Hina is a prominent goddess in Hawaiian mythology.

2. Puʻukoholā Heiau

If you’re interested in history, Puʻukoholā Heiau is a phenomenal place to visit. This location is a historic landmark that contains the ruins of an Ancient Hawaiian temple.

The site is protected as a national park, which lets visitors get a deeper understanding of the rich history of the Big Island.

Dating back to 1791, Puʻukoholā Heiau was built in an attempt to unite all the Islands of Hawaii. Interestingly, this dream would come true in 1810 when the Hawaiian Islands (see also: Is Molokai Worth The Trip? YES. Find Out Why This Hawaiian Island Should Be On Your Bucket List)united.

The temple was built from stone, which means that the ruins still stand today. Restoration work has been conducted to preserve the temple as best as possible.

For history buffs, it’s a good idea to look into a walking tour. Doing so will allow you to find out about all the interesting historical sites in the area.

3. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Island is home to a National Park that contains two active volcanoes. These volcanoes are named Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. This activity will allow visitors to experience an active volcano up close.

This national park is home to unique landscapes, including a lava tube. The result is a destination that’s perfect for taking breathtaking photos that will make everyone envious on social media.

Before looking around the park, you should visit the Kīlauea Visitor Center. Here, you can find tons of useful information, such as recommendations for the best hiking trails. There’s also a charming park store found here, where you can buy the perfect souvenir.

So if you are interested in volcanoes, we recommend paying a visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

4. Star Gaze Hawaii

There’s nothing more peaceful than stargazing at night. With the help of Star Gaze Hawaii, you can get involved with stargazing tours. We particularly love the seaside stargazing, which delivers breathtaking beachside views.

Ideal for small families or groups, this company provides private stargazing sessions. This will give you an intimate stargazing experience alongside your friends and family.

You can also get involved in an astrophotography session, which will enable you to take amazing photos. This will give you a hands-on experience that will be lots of fun.

So if you love the idea of spending a night looking into the sky, why not give stargazing a try?!

5. Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden

Up next, the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden is ideal for lovers of the natural world. This beautiful botanical garden is bursting with plant life. The garden is nonprofit, meaning that the entry fees are low. This makes it an ideal day trip.

The garden is also home to a relaxing Bamboo Waterfall and Lilypad Lake. You can even get a view of Onomea Bay from the lower sections of the garden.

Walking through the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden will allow you to see lots of scenic sights whilst listening to the harmonious sound of birds singing.

There are more than 2,000 different plant species found in these gardens, meaning that there’s plenty to see! This includes plenty of palm trees and tropical flowers.

6. Waipi’o Valley

Waipi’o Valley

Located in the Hamakua District, Waipi’o Valley provides some of the best views on the Big Island.

This area has a fascinating history. It was once one of the most heavily populated areas on Hawaii Island.

The valley has also been home to various members of the Hawaiian royal families. Because of this, the valley is often dubbed “Hawaii’s Valley of the Kings.”

To explore this area, you may want to see Waipiʻo Lookout, from which you can see the expansive coastline of Hawaii Island.

It’s worth bearing in mind that sections of the valley are not open to the public. To attend the Waipi’o Valley, it’s advisable to enlist in a tour of the area.

7. Hamakua Coast

As mentioned, Hawaii is renowned for its gorgeous beaches(see also: 17 Beaches In Hawaii That Are Just Like Paradise). So if you envision spending your time alongside the coast, you may want to visit Hamakua Coast. This coastal region is found in the northeast of the Big Island.

To explore the scenic environment of the coast, you may want to hire a car. This stretch is only approximately 40 miles long, so it won’t take ages to travel around the Hamakua Coast.

You will pass not only spectacular coastal scenes but also delightful small towns and villages.

Moreover, you can come across valleys and rainforests, which are worth stopping by. In these landscapes, you might be lucky enough to come across exotic plants.

During your trip through the Hamakua Coast, you may even see some mesmerizing waterfalls.

8. ‘Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls

Fantastic for fans of hiking, ‘Akaka Falls is an amazing place to walk thanks to its luscious vegetation and enthralling waterfall. So remember to pack your hiking books if you fancy an Instagram-worth walk through lush nature.

It’s no wonder that ‘Akaka Falls was transformed into a state park. It’s easy to get to this park from Hilo, as it’s just 11 miles away. The park is named after its iconic waterfall, which is an impressive 442-foot-tall waterfall.

This waterfall area is home to lots of different forms of wildlife, including a species of Hawaiin goby fish. The park also contains a second waterfall, named Kahuna Falls.

During your hike through the park’s rainforest, you will see lots of terrific trees and other abundant forms of vegetation.

9. Hilo Town

Not all of the entries on this list are dedicated to scenic spots of natural beauty (see also: Why You Should Buy The America The Beautiful Pass: Plus A List Of Parks). As the largest settlement on Big Island, Hilo town is a convenient location that merges the urban and rural.

The dynamic town is filled with amazing amenities. Because its history is entrenched in the sugar industry, you can easily grab some sweet treats in Hilo Town. Filled with arts and crafts establishments, Hilo Town has a rich culture.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in the history of Hawaii Island, you can attend the Lyman House Memorial Museum. This establishment is dedicated to the natural history of Hawaii Island.

If you visit this area in April, you may be fortunate enough to get involved with the Merrie Monarch Festival. In celebration of King David Kalākaua, this fantastic festival is a wonderful way of observing Hawaiian culture.

10. Kona Coffee Tours

Do you adore coffee? If so, you may be interested in one of the many coffee tours that operate in Kailua Kona, also known as just Kona. After Hilo Town, this is the second largest settlement on Big Island.

This location is home to Kona coffee, which is one of the most costly coffee varieties on the globe. It also hosts the Kona Coffee Festival, a celebration of this delicious drink. As you can see, coffee is a big deal in Kona.

Consequently, you should try to drink at least one cup of coffee during a visit to Kona. To find out even more about coffee, sign up for an incredible coffee tour.

These tours are conducted by different organizations, which will allow you to experience the work of different coffee farms.

11. Punaluʻu Beach

Punaluʻu Beach

Punalu’u is a beach that’s known for its unique black sand. This creates a rather ominous aesthetic that instantly makes it stand out from the many other beachside locations on Big Island.

This black sand is a result of volcanic activity, which comes from the aforementioned Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

If that isn’t cool, we don’t know what is! Punalu’u is arguably the most famous beach on Hawaii Island, so it’s a must-see spot.

Another benefit of this beach is that it’s often frequented by sea turtles. Endangered species, such as the Hawaiian monk seal, are known to visit this beach. If you’re lucky, you may be able to glimpse one of these rare yet impressive animals.

Though it looks very different from standard beaches, you can still get up to traditional beach activities at Punalu’u Beach. This includes sunbathing.

12. Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is the name of a dormant volcano on the Big Island. This volcano is incredibly high. Consequently, it is the highest point in Hawaii. It’s significantly larger than the nearby Mauna Loa.

On top of this mountain, you can find the Mauna Kea Observatories. Not to mention, you can get involved in stargazing, which will allow you to see all the shimmering stars in the skies of Hawaii.

Climbing to the top of Mauna Kea will take a lot of work, but it’s worth it for the astounding vires of its summit. It’s particularly beautiful to watch the sunset over this magnificent volcano.

If you are unfamiliar with the area, it’s best to book a guided tour so that you can better explore the volcano. Connected to Hawaiian theology, Mauna Kea has a fascinating history.

13. Island Breeze Luau

If you wish to encounter the vibrant culture of Hawaii Island, there is perhaps a no better way than attending Island Breeze Luau.

Hosted by Island Breeze, this luau is a celebration of Hawaiian culture. Held at night, the luau is located nearby Kamakahonu Bay. As a result, you can celebrate underneath the gleaming lights.

Alongside this festival, you can devour traditional Polynesian food. This fabulous fest is sure to give you a taste of Hawaii. There’s even an open bar, which is guaranteed to put you in a party spirit.

The restaurant is located conveniently. It’s adjacent to lots of different restaurants and shops, which will allow you to experience more of what the Big Island has to offer.

14. Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay

Found on the coast of Kona, Kealakekua Bay is considered a site of historical importance. This is because it is the location in which the first European to reach the Big Island, namely James Cook, was killed.

Nowadays, Kealakekua Bay is famed for its watersports. For example, it’s incredible for kayaking. So if you love watersports, this is the place to be!

You can also try scuba diving and snorkeling here, which enables you to witness Hawaii’s diverse marine life.

Whilst venturing through the waters of Kealakekua Bay, you may be lucky enough to see some dolphins. Spinner dolphins are known to rest on this brilliant bay.

15. Umauma Falls

Last but not least, Umauma Falls is another awe-inspiring spot on Big Island. Located in Hakalau, Umauma Falls is home to a dazzling waterfall and astounding garden. These fantastic falls are part of the Umauma River.

What sets this destination apart from other attractions is the zipline tour that it offers. This zipline tour will provide you with an exhilarating experience. So if you love adrenaline-fuelled adventures, why not try ziplining through Umauma Falls?!

An added benefit of these ziplines tours is that you will see unmissable views of these gardens. You can spot some exotic flowers and plants as you glide through the air at top speeds.

Just bear in mind that this area is prone to heavy rainfall, so be careful to plan your trip around the weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Days On Big Island Is Enough?

As this list demonstrates, Big Island is a great place to visit. We recommend spending between 5 and 7 days on this island, as this will be enough time to experience all that the Island has to offer.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Big Island?

Though his island is great all year round, we advise visiting it between March to June or from September to December. These two periods are good not only because of the wonderful weather but also because Hawaii Island will be less busy during them.

Final Thoughts

Hawaii Island, also known as Big Island, is a brilliant tropical vacation destination. One of the main reasons why this destination is so popular is that there’s a wide variety of things to do on this Island.

Ideal for families or individual vacation makers, this list will help you to plan your dream vacation to Big Island.