With its vastness and diversity, travelers find it easy and enjoyable to pass the time on Hawaii Island. The Big Island has got it all: majestic volcanoes, snowcapped mountains, verdant rainforests, beautiful lakes, stunning waterfalls, and, of course, the wonderful beaches. The challenge is to find time to visit and experience all its natural wonders and hidden gems. To help you make your list, here are some of the top things to do while hanging out on the island.
1. Go for a hike. Take a glimpse of Hawaii’s splendor from the top of its tallest mountain. Ascend to the top of the occasionally snow-capped Mount Kea and be amazed by the picture-perfect views it offers. Witness the remarkable Hawaiian sunset from its summit and wait for some stargazing opportunities afterwards. Watch the night skies dotted with sparkling stars and constellations while enjoying a cup of warm coffee and cookies.
2. Take a tour. Unravel Hawaii’s best-kept secrets by participating in a small group guided tour. A full day tour where local expert guides take you to the best scenic attractions of the island. Starting from Kona, a group of up to 12 persons visits the renowned Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls. They can also make a stop by the ancient and sacred Waipio Valley before taking a lunch break at the town of Hilo. Then, become acquainted with two of the most active volcanoes in the world at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa and some of Hawaii’s native plants and wildlife. It also offers night lava viewing, a once-in-a-lifetime and unforgettable experience. The tour also visits Jaggar Museum, a volcanology museum that allows visitors to see some of the most spectacular views in Hawaii such as the Kau Desert Wilderness and the Kilauea Iki Crater. The museum is equipped with facilities. There are cultural exhibits and gift shops you might want to check out too.
3. Try an ATV or helicoptor tour. For a more adventurous way of exploring the Big Island, try their ATV and 4WD tours. Drive your way to the valleys, ranches and beachside cliffs of Hawaii. These off-road tours take you to some of the island’s secret treasures including Kohala, Hamakua and Hualalai. Another great and fantastic way of enjoying some of the best sights of the island is by taking a helicopter or airplane tour. See Hawaii in a different perspective and be amazed by the stunning panorama that only these helicopter/airplane rides can achieve.
4. Jump on a boat. After examining the magnificent volcanoes and lush rainforests of Hawaii, it’s time to go deeper and probe the equally scenic island coasts. Choose from day sailing, sunset cruises and boat tours to enjoy the surrounding ocean and the amazing views. There are numerous operators that offer various ocean activities to make your trip memorable. One in Kona offers an extraordinary evening aboard a glass bottom boat, where you can watch Spinner dolphins, mantra rays and other nocturnal marine life taking refuge in its waters. With buffet dinner, live entertainment and hula performance, it will be no doubt a night to remember. There are also historical sunset cruises that take you back to ancient Big Island. From Kamakahonu Bay, set sail to the Kona Coast and discover the many beautiful historical sites such as the world-renowned Captain Cook Monument, Ahu’ena Heiau, Kuamo’o Battlefield and Pao ‘Umi Point.
6. Get in the ocean. After watching the beautiful ocean, it is inevitable that you might want to take a dip in the water. There is a wide array of water sports available for everyone. Fishing, kayaking, surfing, parasailing, you name it they have it. Paddle along the sea cliffs of Keauhou Bay into its lovely sea cave where you can go swimming or snorkeling. Taking a tour in Puako Bay, on the other hand, leads to the National Marine Sanctuary. The tour highlights the Turtle Cleaning Station where visitors witness hundreds of fish cleaning a turtle’s shell. Puako is also known as one of Big Island’s best diving spots, so remember to take the plunge while in the area. Snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay is another special experience you should add to your list. Here, with the help of local guides, you can find hidden spots where a close encounter with dolphins is possible. You can observe these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat doing their natural occupations. You can even get to swim with them, if the conditions permits. Humpback whales can also be spotted in the island’s coasts during winter.