The Big Island is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Nowhere else in the world will you will find such diversity. The Big Island has it all: from molten magma flowing from Hawaii volcanoes, to the snow covered heights of Mauna Kea (13796 ft/4205 m), from lava deserts to the majestic rainforests.
It is easy to see that everyone will find something to enjoy during their visit to the Big Island.
Kealakekua Bay is an important historic site located 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona; it is said to be the place where Captain Cook landed for the first time, and was killed a year later. A white obelisk was erected to memorialize his death.
This bay is also known for being a perfect spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, and it is not uncommon to see dolphins.
Art is very present on the island, as the spectacular environment of Hawaii Island inspires many artists. If you enjoy art, you should go explore Holualoa Town and the art galleries there.
Stop by the Merrie Monarch Festival to experience the culture of Hawaii. This world premier Hula event is a weeklong cultural festival that takes place annually in Hilo.
One of the world’s most renowned astronomical sites on the planet is located on top of Mauna Kea. At this elevation, the light pollution is minimal and the air is thin, which allows the stars to glitter in a way that is seen from only a few places in the world.
If you enjoy stargazing, consider visiting the Mauna Kea Visitor Station, where they hold free stargazing programs and provide education about Mauna Kea every night.
Hapuna Beach is known for being one of the cleanest and most family-friendly beaches in Hawaii. Its smooth, white sand extends far out into the surf.
On the way to Hapuna beach, you can stop and visit other beaches, as most of the white sand beaches are located on the west side of the island.
If you want to enjoy the rainforest with your kids, you should check out the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, located south of Hilo. It is a very unique zoo, as you will see different species of animals that live in a tropical rainforest.
If the warm waters of Hawaii are still not warm enough for you and your family, then the Ahalanui Hot Pond is made for you. Located on the east shore near Pahoa, this spring-fed, walled-in, and volcanically heated pool will offer a unique experience.
Snorkeling tours are gorgeous everywhere on the chain of islands, but what could be better than snorkeling or diving at night with manta rays?
The Kona coast is listed by PADI as one of the top five best places to scuba dive with manta rays in the world. It is famous for having these dives available year-round!
If snorkeling at night with manta rays is not your thing, maybe you can try snorkeling with sea turtle at Kiholo Bay.
Located on the southeast part of the Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a living, breathing testament to the awesome power of Mother Nature. This park is home to the Kilauea volcano, the most continuously active volcano in the world.
There are multiple ways to experience the park; you can visit the park without even leaving your car, but it is also one of the Big Island’s best places for hiking. You can spend as little as two hours, to multiple days at the park.
Off the east side of South Point is a geological oddity that is among few in the world called Green Sand Beach.
If you are feeling really adventurous you can hike to Green Ssand Beach, however, if you don’t want to hike and want to have some fun, you can go there using a 4WD. On your way back after a well-deserved dip and relaxing time, you can go cliff jumping at South Point (Ka Lae).
During your visit to the Big Island, hiking and horseback riding is an option in Waipio Valley. Located on the northern coast of the island, this sacred valley is a place of indescribable beauty, and is of great historical significance to the Hawaiian people. It was the home of King Kamehameha I during his childhood.
Inhabited for hundreds of years by Hawaiians, most of the valley was wiped out completely in 1946 by a powerful tsunami. Since then, the valley is sparsely populated, giving way to wonderful, tropical beauty.
Humpback whales are common in Hawaii between December and April. If you would like to explore the ocean, what could be a better way than going on an ocean tour for some whale watching? Many times, you will also see dolphins along the way!