Top Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii (2023)

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Hawaii is an archipelago of islands known for its wild, untamed nature, some of the world’s most active volcanoes, and thriving marine life.

While each of the Hawaiian islands offers something different and unique, for me, the Big Island is all about adventure.

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There are so many things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii and each of these attractions offers incredible wow moments – you might just spend your entire vacation with your jaw on the floor!

While the Big Island’s official name is Hawaii, and as such, people have often mistaken Hawaii as singular and not plural, but there are over 137 islands in Hawaii so we’ll refer to the Big Island by its nickname to avoid confusion.

If you’re not sure what to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, then allow us to introduce to you the top Big Island attractions…

Table Of Contents

  1. The Top Things to Do on The Big Island of Hawaii
    • 1. Explore the Misty Akaka Falls
    • 2. Visit the Stunning Rainbow Falls
    • 3. Dine at The Booch Bar
    • 4. Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island
    • 5. Witness the Lava in Kilauea at Night
    • 6. Witness the Thurston Lava Tube: A Lava Cave
    • 7. See the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles at Punalu’u, Black Sand Beach
    • 8. Hike to Papakolea Beach, Green Sand Beach
    • 9. Snorkel at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
    • 10. Swim with Manta Rays on a Boat Tour
    • 11. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay
    • 12. Explore Kona Town
    • 13. Watch the Sunset at Huggo’s Bar
    • 14. Walk the Lava Tree State Monument
    • 15. Visit the Hilo Farmers Market
    • 16. Swim with the Rays from Muana Kea Beach Hotel
    • 17. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens
    • Video Playlist: Big Island of Hawaii with kids
  2. Where to Stay in Big Island
  3. Pin Below To Save to Pinterest:

The Top Things to Do on The Big Island of Hawaii

1. Explore the Misty Akaka Falls

The Akaka Falls plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge and is possibly one of the most gorge-ous waterfalls in Hawaii, if not the USA. It’s certainly the most famous waterfall on the Big Island and is frequently visited by tourists.

It’s located in the Akaka Falls State Park which is a great area to go hiking. The trails here are pretty easy and it only took us 30 minutes to get to the falls.

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Also in the park is the 100-foot Kahuna Falls which you can see on a looped walk. It was closed for us when we visited, but if you get the chance to see it then it’s said to be beautiful.

Since it’s one of the most popular things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, parking can be a nightmare. You can park up the road as we did and nab a cheaper price than the official car park!

  • Hours: 8.30am – 5.00pm daily
  • Address: 875 Akaka Falls Rd, Honomu, HI 96728

HOT TIP – Plan your visit for the morning. We went in the afternoon and the sun was in the worst position behind the falls. It made it hard to see anything let alone get a good photo.

2. Visit the Stunning Rainbow Falls

Just outside Hilo Town Center is Rainbow Falls. It’s smaller than Akaka Falls but no less pretty.

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There is also a short trail from the parking lot that takes you to a viewpoint over the waterfalls summit.

Then from the lookout point, you will see some steps into an exquisite rainforest that takes you to the bottom of the waterfall and the river.

The steps are quite slippery so be careful on your descent.

When you’re at the bottom, you might be lucky enough to see how the waterfall got its name.

  • Hours: opens at sunrise, closes at dusk
  • Address: 967 Waianuenue Ave, Hilo

Warning – it is not advised to go swimming anywhere on the island of Hawaii that’s not the beach. This is because of unseen lava tubes which could be anywhere on the island. Sadly, lives have been lost because of this.

3. Dine at The Booch Bar

When we asked our online community for advice on things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, we were flooded with places to eat and drink.

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One name that was recommended multiple times was The Conscious Culture Cafe in Hilo, which is now known as The Booch Bar.

(Video) 21 Things to Do Around the Big Island, Hawaii | Two residents share their favorite things to do

It had everything I loved, from ginger and turmeric kombucha, healthy smoothies with bee pollen, and organic, vegetarian meals.

The vibe was also great. We heard music from the 60’s Vietnam era, such as White Shades of Grey to If you’re going to San Francisco.

This place was one of our hidden gems in Hawaii. The staff were so helpful and gave us suggestions on places to visit.

  • Hours: 8.00am – 8.00pm
  • Address: 110 Keawe St, Hilo, HI 96720

4. Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

Of course, no trip to the Big Island would be complete without visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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Visiting Volcano National Park has been my favorite homeschooling lesson for our daughters so far. Mostly because I didn’t have to do anything! I let Mother Nature take over and teach the girls about land formation, growth, and ecosystems.

There are not many places in the world where you can get close (but not too close) to an active volcano. This was certainly one of the most educational things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Some ways to see the park are to take an 8-mile return hike to see the active lava flow, or you can take a boat tour. When we visited, visibility at the time wasn’t good, so it really is a stroke of luck whether you see them or not.

We were also warned that it’s not a good idea to hike or take a boat to the lava flows with young children. This was because of the high sulfur content which can damage their developing lungs. For us, not worth the risk.

We drove along Crater Rim Drive, stopping off in places to see craters, giant fields of lava rock, and observing their textures and shape.

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The girls were fascinated by the rock, especially Savannah who started writing a story about volcanoes and lava from what she learned.

We also visited the Jaggar Museum & Overlook and learned more about earthquakes and the formation of volcanoes, as well as to see the bubbling lava in the crater.

It is said that Pele, the Hawaiian Fire Goddess and creator of the Hawaiian Islands lives inside the Halema’um’a Crater at the summit of Kilauea. The locals believe she is the one who sends lava from the volcano, which grows the island chain.

You can see some of Pele work spurting up during the day, but it’s best to come back at night when the volcano is really on fire.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718

One of the best ways to see the Volcanoes National Park is to take one of the helicopter tours which flies over the craters. It’s the best way to see the lava activity from a safe distance.

5. Witness the Lava in Kilauea at Night

One of the most incredible things to do on The Big Island at night is to witness the lava spewing out of Kilauea.

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It was amazing to see it moving around and see the lava lake in the crater. We were lucky that it was a bubbly day when we visited, and we saw lava bubbles fill up and spew over.

If you look carefully, you might even find strands of Pele’s hair, which are actually glistening golden threads of fragile volcanic fiberglass. These are formed when lava is thrown into the air and small droplets get caught by the wind and cools into thin strands.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718

6. Witness the Thurston Lava Tube: A Lava Cave

Just outside the Volcanoes National Park, South of Crate Rim Drive is the Thurston Lava Tube. This is a network of underground lava caves, known as Nāhuku, or Thurston Lava Tube.

The cave is said to be more than 500-years-old and was formed by rivers of lava which gradually cut through the rock and built a solid wall and ceiling.

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The caves vary in size and length and there are several that you can visit, but Nāhuku is the most easily accessible.

The cave is 600 foot long and 20 feet high in places. It’s the perfect example of how the liquid lava and all its molten force can create this fascinating and unique rock structure.

It’s not one for the claustrophobic, but if you can stomach caves, it’s pretty cool.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: #52, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718

7. See the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles at Punalu’u, Black Sand Beach

Another recommendation from our community on the best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii was to visit the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.

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Not only is the Black Sand Beach interesting to look at, but it’s also where you can see the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles who nest here.

We were lucky to see one lying in the sand at the water’s edge when we visited.

This provided another great homeschooling opportunity. We had lessons on how volcanoes shape the land and talked about how the jet-black sand was formed.

It was formed by molten lava from Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes, which flowed into the water, cooled, and then washed ashore in little fragments.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Punaluʻu Beach

Hot tip: When visiting the sea turtles, please remember to respect the turtle’s space. They get distressed when humans get too close, and you’ll see plenty of signs reminding you to keep your distance.

It’s sad to see people still continue to stick their cameras inches from their face.

Get a camera with a zoom lens – that’s what we used to get this photo whilst still keeping a respectful distance away.

(Video) BIG ISLAND HAWAII, TOP 15 things to Do, Kona, Hilo, Waipio Valley, Hawaii Volcanoes NP, Akaka Falls
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8. Hike to Papakolea Beach, Green Sand Beach

Green Beach, otherwise known as Papakolea Beach, is considered one of the best beaches in Hawaii.

No, it’s not like the white sand beaches of Hapuna Beach or those along the Hamakua Coast and Kohala coast, but it’s no less beautiful.

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The beach is stunning and is accessible by a picturesque 2.5 mile hike (one way) and takes 2-3 hours depending on how fast you are. The beach almost remote so it’s possible you could have it to yourself.

We would say that a visit to Papakolea Beach is a full-day trip because of this hike, so plan ahead.

Top tip: Pack plenty of water as it can get deceivingly hot when hiking in Hawaii.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Papakolea Beach

9. Snorkel at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Even though we couldn’t pronounce Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, even after the park ranger gave us a lesson on it, we still think it’s one of the best things to do on the Big Island.

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a 180-acre historic park that the former royal grounds and a place of refuge for Hawaiian lawbreakers.

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It is said that if a lawbreaker was able to make it here, they were absolved of their sins. As such, the Pu’uhonua is considered a sacred site because of the air of forgiveness and peace it projects.

The location is beautiful, overlooking Honaunau Bay. This is where the Kings once resided so you can be sure it’s one of the most stunning parts of the island.

We visited the Hale o Keawe temple where the bones of the chiefs are laid to rest.

It’s also considered the second best snorkeling spot on the Big Island. So pack your snorkel and fins when you visit!

You have to pay for your vehicle to enter, but if you combine your ticket with the park’s pass from the Volcanoes National Park then it’s essentially free.

  • Hours: 8.30am – 4.30pm
  • Address: State Hwy 160, Hōnaunau, HI 96726

Top tip: If you’re traveling during the winter months of December – February, you’re in luck, because it’s humpack whale season! While there are many tours that take you out to see the whales, you can see them from the shore if you have some patience.

The best places to see the whales are on the North side of the Big Island or in Hilo, but our personal favorite place to see them is the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.

Of course, as with all wildlife, seeing them in the wild really comes down to luck. But while you’re in the park, keep an eye on the ocean to see if these allusive mammals make an appearance.

10. Swim with Manta Rays on a Boat Tour

Remember those wow moments I mentioned earlier? This is definitely the biggest wow you’ll have on your trip to Big Island.

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This was definitely our favorite thing to do on the Big Island of Hawaii with kids. I wasn’t sure I wanted my five-year-old to do it, but she did it and I was so proud of her.

We set off on a traditional Hawaiian 40-foot double-hulled Hawaiian sailing canoe with Eka Canoes as the sun was setting.

The best time to see the manta rays is in the dark, because the light from the boat attracts plankton which the manta rays eat.

The rays are like gentle butterflies of the sea, and it was amazing to get close to them without feeling intrusive. It was definitely one of the best wildlife encounters I’ve had.

(Video) The 10 Best Things to Do on Big Island, Hawaii

It’s difficult to get great photos due to it being nighttime and the illuminated lights, but the memories will be lodged in our brains forever.

  • Hours: Sunset
  • Address: Departs from Keauhou Bay finger pier

You can book your manta ray boat tour in advance to avoid disappointment.

11. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay

How does sliding down a slide into a gorgeous marine bay filled with colorful fish and coral sound?

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Snorkeling and swimming in the ocean is undoubtedly one of the most fun things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, and Kealakekua Bay is the perfect place to do just that.

Kealakekua Bay is an underwater marine sanctuary just a short drive south on the Kona Coast. It’s famous for its pristine beauty, as well as for being the place where Captain Cook lost his life.

Being Australians, we have a deep historical connection to Captain Cook, and were in awe of seeing the place where he was murdered.

If you’re traveling with kids, the boat tours offer flotation devices for unconfident swimmers and small children.

The best place for snorkeling is the area near the Captain Cook monument. Since it’s illegal to land a vessel along the shore near the monument, this is the best way to see it.

Plan ahead and book your Captain Cook snorkeling tour ahead of time!

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12. Explore Kona Town

One of the relaxing things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii is explore Kona town.

It’s only really one street and it runs along the water’s edge, but it still has plenty to see and do. We saw plenty of cafes and restaurants and a few boutique shopping places.

It’s a historical town and was once a place to retreat to for Hawaiian royalty, so a lot of the history is reflected in the Hulihee Palace and the Mokuaikaua Church.

If you’re visiting in October, you can catch the famous Ironman World Championship here!

Kona is also a great place for stand up paddle boarding.

You can hire a SUP from Kona Boys and enjoy your time out on the waves. You might also be greeted by some dolphins.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Kona, Big Island

13. Watch the Sunset at Huggo’s Bar

Huggo’s on the Rocks was another recommendation to us by our community, and is definitely the best place to go for sunset views in Big Island.

(Video) ONE WEEK on the BIG ISLAND, HAWAII | BEST THINGS to DO, EAT & SEE | Travel Guide

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They also serve food here, and you can dine al fresco style in their outdoor seating area.

Or you can just hang hear and drink some cocktails and watch the sunset.

  • Hours: 4.00pm – 9.00pm
  • Address: 5308, 75-5828 Kahakai Rd, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

14. Walk the Lava Tree State Monument

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If you want to take a short, easy hike, there’s a stunning 0.7 mile loop trail in the Lava Tree State Monument.

The park is known for its lava trees, which are unusual volcanic phenomena caused by lava flow that swept through the forest. The result is these unique lava molds of tree trunks.

They are truly a weird but wonderful sight to see. You can walk the loop trail or have a picnic at one of the picnic sites.

  • Hours: 7.00am – 8.00pm
  • Address: HI-132, Pāhoa, HI 96778

15. Visit the Hilo Farmers Market

One of the best things to do on Big Island is to sample some of the local produce. All fruit and vegetables are grown on the island, and here you can buy fresh produce that’s organically grown.

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Make sure to head over to Abundant Life Natural Foods just across the street from the market to pick up some Kona Coffee. There are only a few places in Hawaii that sells 100% pure Kona Coffee from the Kona Coffee Farm and this is one of them!

The Hilo Farmers Market was founded in 1988, and started with just four farmers who sold their produce from their parked cars and trucks.

Now the market has over 200 vendors selling everything from organic island fruit and vegetables to native tropical flowers. You can also find special Big Island products, handmade crafts and gifts with that Aloha spirit.

It’s certainly the best place to pick up souvenirs before heading home. It’s considered one of the best open markets on the Big Island.

  • Hours: 7.00am – 3.00pm Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 4.00pm Saturday, 10.00am – 4.00pm Sunday
  • Address: Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and, Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720

16. Swim with the Rays from Muana Kea Beach Hotel

If you don’t want to get a boat tour to swim with the rays, then there’s also a chance to swim with them from the shore.

There are few places where the rays come close to the beach, but one such place is from the Kaunaʻoa Beach, which can be directly accessed by Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

At night, the hotel turns on floodlights into the water which attracts plankton, and by extension, manta rays.

You do need to stay at the hotel for this access, but the public can access the beach by a 0.9 mile hike.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Address: Mauna Kea Beach Dr, Waimea, HI 96743

Top tip: Apparently, parking is not so good in this area, so allow time to find a space.

17. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens are located on the historic Onomea Bay outside of Hilo.

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Onomea Bay was one of the Big Island’s first natural landing areas and became a port in the 1800s. The ships bought in materials and exported raw sugar from the Onomea Sugar Mill that once stood on the site of the botanical garden.

The traders also came with plants. Some of the plants from this history still remain in the garden, such as palm trees, wild bananas, mango, coconut, guava, and monkey trees.

When the Onomea Sugar Mill closed, the area was overgrown with wild, invasive trees, until it was bought more than 40 years ago and turned into this Botanical Garden.

The garden aims to restore and maintain the beauty of this historic land. It’s a relaxing thing to do in Big Island before flying home from Hilo airport.

  • Hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm
  • Address: 27-717 Mamalahoa Hwy, Papaikou, HI 96781

Video Playlist: Big Island of Hawaii with kids

Click play to watch videos of our adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii

Where to Stay in Big Island

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We have hand-selected a couple of top rated hotels in The Big Island for you to save you time researching. These are places we have stayed at ourselves.

Explore the map below to find other hotels and vacation rentals on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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If you found this post on things to do on The Big Island useful, remember to share it on Pinterest and save it for later.

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Did we miss anything? Do you have any tips for things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii? Let us know in the comments.

(Video) Why You Need to Visit the Big Island - Hawaii 5 Day Travel Guide & Tips 2022
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FAQs

Top Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii? ›

Map of Island of Hawai'i

What is the prettiest part of the Big Island of Hawaii? ›

Kailua Bay is among the prettiest places on the leeward side of Big Island, from where you can catch charming sunsets. This small bay in the Kailua-Kona area has only tiny stretches of golden sand with most of its coastline covered in dark lava rocks giving it an exotic, photogenic appeal.

How many days do you need to see the Big Island of Hawaii? ›

1. How many days do you need for the Big Island? At least five days. As the largest Hawaiian island, you'll definitely want time for beaches and snorkeling on the Kona side and waterfalls and rain forest on the Hilo side with a stop at Volcanos National Park.

What is the Big Island best known for? ›

Legendary Volcanoes

While all Hawaiian Islands have a volcanic history, the Big Island is known for its extremely active volcano - Kilauea, which is located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

What should you not wear in Hawaii? ›

What Not to Wear in Hawaii
  • White tennis shoes. Nothing says haole (“foreigner”) faster than chunky white sneakers. ...
  • Socks with sandals. You're better than that. ...
  • Loud Hawaiian shirts. ...
  • Matching aloha shirts. ...
  • Speedos. ...
  • Shirts that say, “Hawaii.” It's like wearing an “I Heart NY” shirt in New York city. ...
  • Leis.

What is the best month to visit Big Island? ›

The best times to visit the Big Island of Hawaii, taking into consideration the weather, how crowded, or not, the island is, and demand for accommodations are the month(s) of April, May, August, September, and October.

What is the number 1 attraction in Hawaii? ›

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu

Waikiki, with its beautiful stretch of oceanfront beach, is Hawaii's biggest tourist attraction.

Is it better to go to Kona or Hilo? ›

Kona offers better weather, the best beaches and snorkeling, newer resorts, more vacation rentals, and more nightlife compared to Hilo Town. Hilo is worth a visit but may not be worth staying for more than a night.

Is Big Island as nice as Maui? ›

Big Island offers the widest variety of experiences for authentic Hawaiian experiences. Maui is perfect for you if you're looking for an island with a more miniature landscape but plenty of outdoor activities.

Is a car necessary on Big Island Hawaii? ›

Renting a car is one of the best investments to make if you want to get the most out of your time on the Big Island. Public transport here (see below) is not as efficient as on Oʻahu, and some of the best Big Island attractions and activities are far away and difficult to get to without your own transport.

How long does it take to drive around the entire Big Island of Hawaii? ›

The Big Island makes up for more than half of the entire size of the state of Hawaii at just over 4,000 square miles—about half the size of New Jersey. Because of its size, navigating around the Big Island can be daunting, and driving around the entire island will take around eight hours.

Is the Big Island cheaper? ›

Basically, when it comes to lodging, the Big Island and Oahu are very close. Vacation rentals are slightly less expensive on the Big Island and hotels are slightly less expensive on Oahu. You can also see that Maui and Kauai really firmly plant themselves in the most expensive category.

Which part of the Big Island is the best? ›

The 5 Main Parts of the Island
  • Hilo: Best for urban vibes and accessibility.
  • Kailua-Kona: Best beach town with history.
  • Kohala: Best for inland exploring and luxurious beach time.
  • Volcano Town: Best for volcanoes and adventure.
  • Waikoloa: Best family-friendly destination.
23 May 2022

Why is Kona so special? ›

What Is So Special About Kona Coffee? Kona coffee is a specialty coffee that differs from other varieties primarily because of its prime farming location and production processes. Kona coffee farms are only in one place in Hawaii called the Kona Coffee Belt, on Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South districts.

Which side of the Big Island has better beaches? ›

The Big Island's most popular beach is located on the Kohala Coast on the northwestern shore of the island. This half-mile stretch of white sand is loved by many for its calm swimming conditions that are perfect for families with younger kids, as well as great for bodyboarding and snorkeling.

What months should you avoid Hawaii? ›

Hurricane Season in Hawaii

If you wish to avoid Hawaii's hurricane season, then stay clear of Hawaii from June 1st to November 30th. Due to winds, currents, and ocean temperatures around the islands, Hawaii escapes most direct hits. The last hurricane to directly hit a Hawaiian island was Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Do people wear jeans in Hawaii? ›

Can you wear jeans in Hawaii? Sure, you can wear jeans in Hawaii. But unless you're going up to the summit of Haleakala you'll probably be more comfortable in almost anything else due to the balmy temperatures and humidity.

How do I not look like a tourist in Hawaii? ›

Although some of them might seem a bit stereotypical, these are the common pieces of clothing worn by native Hawaiians regularly.
  1. Hawaiian/Aloha shirts.
  2. Board shorts.
  3. Loose-fitting pants or shorts.
  4. Comfortable shoes like sandals or flip flops.
  5. Colorful sundresses.
  6. Muumuu dresses.
  7. Tank tops.
  8. Pa'u hula skirts.

What is the rainiest month on the Big Island? ›

November and March are the wettest months, whereas during the summer months the amount of rain can decrease up to half the peak rate. Average monthly rainfall for the Big Island.

Is 4 days enough on Big Island? ›

Ideally, you should plan to spend at least a week on the Big Island to give you plenty of time to visit some of the major spots while also building time into your schedule to relax. Depending on the pace of your vacation and how much you want to see and do, you might want to consider adding more time (if possible!).

What is the coldest month in Big Island of Hawaii? ›

Average temperatures in Kailua-Kona are between 70°F and 80°F (21 and 27°c). August is the warmest month, and January the coolest.

Where should first time visitors to Hawaii go? ›

First Time to Hawaii FAQs

Usually, I recommend that first timers start off with a trip to Oahu. It's the most popular Hawaiian island, as well as the cheapest. Plus there are tons of attractions, activities, great food, and shopping. That's why I think it's the best island to visit in Hawaii for the first time.

Where in Hawaii should I go for the first time? ›

If it's your first trip to Hawaii

Chances are, the Big Island of Hawaii has everything you're looking for. But depending on what you want to do, one of the other islands accessible from the mainland — Maui, Oahu or Kauai — could be a better fit.

What is the best month to go to Kona? ›

The best time to visit Hawaii's Big Island is between September and November. That's when the island's generally reasonable room rates take the most significant plunge.

Which is best side of Big Island of Hawaii to stay on? ›

Most people stay on the leeward side of the island, in either Kona or on the Kohala Coast. Here you'll get plenty of sunshine, warmer temperatures, and have great beaches and snorkeling at your fingertips.

Is there a hop on hop off in Kona? ›

the open-air trolley will pick you up at one of the many convenient locations throughout Kailua-Kona. Just look for a Kona Trolley or Hele-On Bus Stop Sign or flag the trolley at a safe location. No need to fight traffic. No getting directions.

Is it cheaper to stay in Maui or Big Island? ›

The Big Island is the third most visited in Hawaii and offers accommodation for all budgets. It tends to be cheaper than Maui and it has two very different sides: Kona (west side) and Hilo (east side). What is this? In Kona there are many resorts and hotels with prices usually a bit higher than in Hilo.

Which is better Oahu or Big Island? ›

WINNER: If you're after traditional paradise beaches with golden sand and calm bays then Oahu is the one for you. But if you're less into sunbathing and more into unique ocean views then try The Big Island for something different.

Can you take a ferry from Big Island to Maui? ›

How do you travel between Maui and the Big Island? You must fly. There is no passenger ferry service.

Is the Big Island very touristy? ›

If you're looking to get away from the tourist experience the Big Island is an excellent option for visiting Hawaii. The island does receive about 1.7 million tourists yearly, in addition to its 186,000 residents, but the Big Island is much larger than the other Hawaiian Islands (go figure) so it's much less crowded.

Can you drive to the volcano on the Big Island? ›

Visiting the park by car is easy to do. The two main roads visitors will travel are Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road.

Is 3 days enough for Big Island Hawaii? ›

It might seem like a wild idea, but I think three days is enough time to explore anywhere – including the Big Island of Hawaii. Whether you're stringing together an island-hopping trip or extending from a Hawaiian cruise (like I did), spending three days on Hawaii's Big Island is very do-able – and adventurous!

How far is volcano from Kona? ›

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is located on the island of Hawai'i. From Kailua-Kona: 95 miles southeast on Highway 11 (2 to 2.5 hour drive), or 125 miles through Waimea and Hilo via highways 19 and 11 (2.5 to 3 hours).

Is 5 days enough on the Big Island? ›

5 days is certainly enough to enjoy the Kona region and see many of the Big Island highlights with a well-planned itinerary. However, it does not leave much time for relaxing by the beach. 7-10 days is preferable for those with an interest in exploring.

Is there Uber or Lyft in Kona Hawaii? ›

Uber and Lyft on the Big Island

Rideshares are easy to get from the airports and in the two major cities on the Big Island -- Kona and Hilo.

What is the cheapest month to go to Hawaii? ›

The cheapest time to fly to Hawaii is during February and March. The most expensive month to fly is December when the holiday period falls, with January being very expensive as well. The peak travel months of June and July are surprisingly not the most expensive months for flights, with middle figure prices.

Is food expensive on Big Island? ›

Food on the Big Island

Food can be expensive if you eat out. It would not be unusual for a meal to be $15-20 per person at a regular restaurant or a “food shack.” (See food menus there for examples.) You may also come across some food trucks, and you might find a meal at a food truck for around $10-15.

Where do the rich live in the Big Island? ›

There's lots of high-end housing in Kailua-Kona, where you'll find your tropical fantasies come to life. North Kohala is where you'll find Kohala Ranch, and plenty of solitude if you prefer to get as close as possible to “off-grid” as there is in Hawaii.

Which is cheaper Oahu or the Big Island? ›

While Oahu is suitable for various budgets, Big Island is cheaper overall. It's true that more funds get funneled into car rental, but you pay less to enjoy Big Island's outdoor attractions. You're more likely to get cheaper flights too, thanks to fewer crowds.

Is two weeks too long on the Big Island? ›

Because of the distances involved, a week is barely enough time to see the entire Big Island; it's best to plan for 2 weeks—or even better, a return visit. Here's how to see the highlights, changing hotels as you go.

What should I bring home from Kona? ›

Best Hawaiian Souvenirs (Summary)
  • Maui Gold pineapple.
  • Chocolate covered macadamia nuts.
  • Honolulu Cookies.
  • Kona Coffee.
  • Hawaiian Rum.
  • Hawaiian Honey.
  • Koa wood products.
  • Lilikoi Jam.
14 Nov 2022

How much is a cup of coffee in Hawaii? ›

How Much Do Other Coffees Cost in Hawaii? A regular cup of coffee can cost around $6 to $8 in Hawaii. Locally produced Hawaiian coffee can go up to $20 to $100 per bag. Hawaii is known to contain some of the most expensive coffee in the United States.

Is Kona worth visiting? ›

If you only have 4-5 days, perhaps spent 1 day in Hilo and the rest of your time on Kona or Volcanoes National Park. Kona and Hilo are both worth visiting – just adjust your schedule based on whether you prefer beaches and upscale shops or rainforests and history. You can't go wrong with either destination!

Where is the pink sand beach in Hawaii? ›

Explore the Incredible Red Sand Beach on Maui. Kaihalulu Beach in Hana, HI, is one of only a few red sand beaches in the world. It's part of a crumbling red cinder cone that cuts deep into Ka'uiki Head on the eastern side of the island.

Is it better to stay in Hilo or Kona on the Big Island? ›

Kona offers better weather, the best beaches and snorkeling, newer resorts, more vacation rentals, and more nightlife compared to Hilo Town. Hilo is worth a visit but may not be worth staying for more than a night.

Is it better to snorkel in the morning or afternoon on the Big Island? ›

MORNING SNORKELING FOR OPEN SEA

For just about any snorkel spot in Hawaii, the morning is going to be the best time. The winds around the island can pick up as the day goes on, making the water pretty rough.

How long does it take drive around the Big Island? ›

The Big Island makes up for more than half of the entire size of the state of Hawaii at just over 4,000 square miles—about half the size of New Jersey. Because of its size, navigating around the Big Island can be daunting, and driving around the entire island will take around eight hours.

What should you not do while snorkeling? ›

Do not touch corals, fish or turtles. The only thing you can touch safely is sand and rock and water (that means with your fins also). Read our snorkeling etiquette page for learning how to develop skills for taking a break in the water without having to stand. Don't use harmful sunscreen.

What time do turtles come out Black sand beach Big Island? ›

As in other locations, turtles are most easily seen in the afternoon between noon and 5 pm when daytime heating is at a maximum.

Is a helicopter tour of Big Island worth it? ›

Helicopter tours are worth the money because of the amazing views you get to experience. From a bird's eye view, you can see waterfalls, valleys and iconic landmarks up close. You also get to see other beautiful landscapes that you can't see from the ground.

Can you see lava at night on Big Island? ›

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, so your chance to see glowing lava (from near or far) is pretty good when the volcano is actively erupting (it's periodically erupting only at the summit in Halemaumau currently), especially when it's dark. Just look for the red glow.

Can you swim on the beaches of the Big Island? ›

Hapuna Beach is one of the best beaches on the Big Island for swimming. This 1/2 mile white sand beach is regularly voted among the 'best beaches in the world'. There is a wide (in the summer months up to 200 ft) white sand beach that slopes gradually into the ocean – perfect for playing in the waves.

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