The Big Island
With eleven of the world’s thirteen climate zones, The Big Island could more accurately be described as “The Adventure Island.” If you love beautiful waterfalls, active volcanoes, mountain treks and black sand beaches, then The Big Island is ready to steal your heart and become your second home.
Volcanoes National Park
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.
Mauna Kea Observatory
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.
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. (Photo Courtesy of Holualoa Village Association)
Merrie Monarch Festival
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.(Photo Courtesy of Merrie Monarch Festival)
Green Sand Beach
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 Sand Beach, however, if you don’t want to hike and want to have some fun, you can go there using a 4WD.
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!
Speaking of great snorkeling, if snorkeling at night with manta rays is not your thing, maybe you can try snorkeling with sea turtle at Kiholo Bay.
Ahalanui Hot Pond
If the warm waters of The Big Island 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.
Ka Lae Cliffs
The southernmost point in the United States is on the Big Island at the beautiful Ka Lae Cliffs. This is a great place for cliff jumping, but swimming isn’t advised due to dangerous currents.
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.
Food / Dining
Da Poke Shack
“Poke” is a Hawaiian word meaning cut, cubed, or sliced. Enjoy Hawaiian cuisine and seafood at Da Poke Shack, located in Kailua-Kona.(Photo Courtesy of Da Poke Shack)
Blue Dragon Restaurant
Asian, International and Seafood featuring global-coastal flavors. Featuring produce from Blue Dragon Farm and Sage Farms in Hawi, and fish right from Kawaihae Harbor. Live music almost every night of the week.(Photo Courtesy of Blue Dragon Restaurant)
Harbour House Restaurant
A casual, family-friendly hideaway at the harbor in Kona serving fresh fish daily, as well as cold beer served in chilled schooners. Featuring fish and chips and affordable open-air dining on the water. (Photo Courtesy of Harbour House Restaurant)
Hilo Bay Cafe
Enjoy locally inspired dishes, artisan sushi, and hand-crafted cocktails at Hilo Bay Cafe’s big, bright location overlooking the tropical blue waters of Hilo Bay and majestic Mauna Kea.
(Photo Courtesy of Hilo Bay Cafe)
Kona Brewing Company
Enjoy some liquid aloha and great pizza, pub, and American cuisine at Kona Brewing Company’s Kona Pub & Brewery in Kailua-Kona. Enjoy the tropical vegetation surrounding their 2,000 square foot outdoor lanai, belly up to the U-shaped koa bar, or enjoy a tasty meal in their air-conditioned bar area. (Photo Courtesy of Kona Brewing Company)
Featuring pizzas and sandwiches with superior meats & produce, wholesome soups, exciting salads with vibrant housemade vinaigrettes, fresh baked bread, wild seafood, and local produce. Open seven days a week. (Photo Courtesy of Pau Pizza)
Enjoy an Ultimate Burger and Fries made with fresh, local, organic ingredients. Chef Makani keeps the menu simple to truly focus on creating the ultimate burger. Located a one-minute drive from the beach with plenty of parking! (Photo Courtesy of Ultimate Burger)
Ken’s House of Pancakes
Voted Best Breakfast on the Big Island 14 years in a row! Their entire menu, featuring delicious breakfasts, burgers, prime rib, tacos, and of course pancakes, is available 24 hours a day. Nightly specials five nights a week.
The Coffee Shack
You’ll love the view from the espresso bar, which overlooks 26 miles of coastline. Sip a freshly brewed cup of Kona coffee and sample homemade pies, cakes, and other tasty treats. (Photo Courtesy of The Coffee Shack)