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Big Island Hawaii: 10 Best Things To Do (Ultimate Travel Guide)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Aidan Peterman



Welcome to the Big Island of Hawaii, a tropical paradise known for its breathtaking beaches, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, offering visitors an array of activities and attractions to suit every traveler’s interests.


With its diverse range of landscapes, from lush rainforests to volcanic terrain, the Big Island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you’re looking to hike through ancient lava fields, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on pristine sandy shores, this island has it all.


One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is Volcanoes National Park, home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Witnessing the raw power of these volcanoes is a truly awe-inspiring experience and should not be missed. Explore the park’s hiking trails, marvel at the dramatic lava flows, and even take a lava boat tour to see the molten lava up close.


If exploring charming towns is more your style, make sure to visit Hilo, the capital of the Big Island. Here, you can immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the farmers market, strolling along the historic Banyan Drive, or admiring the beautiful Rainbow Falls. The town also serves as a gateway to nearby attractions, such as Akaka Falls State Park and the lush botanical gardens of Onomea.


No trip to the Big Island would be complete without spending time on the beautiful beaches of Kona. Known for their golden sands and clear turquoise waters, Kona’s beaches are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun. Don’t forget to try some of the island’s famous Kona coffee while you’re there.


If you’re seeking adventure and breathtaking views, a helicopter tour of the island is a must-do activity. Soar above the dramatic cliffs of Waipio Valley, fly over the cascading waterfalls of the Hamakua Coast, and marvel at the beauty of the island’s diverse landscapes from above. It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the Big Island’s natural wonders.


For stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts, a trip to Mauna Kea Summit is a must. At 13,796 feet above sea level, the summit offers some of the clearest views of the night sky. Join a guided stargazing tour or visit the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center for a closer look at the stars, planets, and galaxies.


For underwater adventures, make sure to visit Kealakekua Bay. Known for its vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life, this bay is perfect for snorkeling or diving. Swim alongside tropical fish, encounter sea turtles, and marvel at the colorful coral formations beneath the surface.


The Hamakua Coast is another must-visit destination on the Big Island. Take a scenic drive along the coast and be captivated by the lush scenery, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking ocean views. Stop at the picturesque Akaka Falls State Park to admire the 422-foot waterfall and soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings.


For a taste of traditional Hawaiian culture, be sure to attend a luau. Experience a Polynesian feast, watch mesmerizing hula performances, and learn about the ancient customs and traditions of the Hawaiian people. It’s an immersive cultural experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the island’s heritage.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, the Big Island of Hawaii has something for everyone. Explore its natural wonders, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Visit Volcanoes National Park

One of the most iconic destinations on the Big Island of Hawaii is Volcanoes National Park. This extraordinary national park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Exploring this unique and captivating landscape is an absolute must for any visitor to the island.


Start your adventure at the Kilauea Visitor Center, where you can gather information about the park, its trails, and ongoing volcanic activity. Learn about the fascinating geology and history of the area through informative exhibits and presentations. The knowledgeable rangers are always ready to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance on the best places to explore within the park.


As you venture further into the park, be prepared to be mesmerized by the otherworldly landscapes. Marvel at the barren lava fields that stretch as far as the eye can see, evidence of the island’s volcanic past. The stark contrast between the black lava and the vibrant green foliage that manages to thrive in this environment is strikingly beautiful.


One of the highlights of Volcanoes National Park is the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing glow of active lava flows. Although the eruptions are unpredictable, lucky visitors may have the chance to see the molten lava flowing into the ocean or creating new land formations. It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience and a reminder of the constant transformation that shapes the island.


For those who want to explore the park’s trails, there are numerous options available for all fitness levels. The Kilauea Iki Trail takes you through a crater and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Devastation Trail showcases the power of past eruptions, with a stark, desolate landscape dotted with twisted tree trunks.


If you’re up for a challenge, consider hiking to the summit of Mauna Loa, one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. This rugged and remote trail takes you through diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to barren lava fields. The sense of accomplishment and the breathtaking views from the summit are well worth the effort.


Volcanoes National Park also offers unique opportunities for cultural exploration. Visit the Jaggar Museum, which provides insights into the island’s volcanic activity and the cultural significance of volcanoes in Hawaiian mythology. You can also participate in ranger-led programs that showcase traditional Hawaiian practices, such as lei-making or storytelling.


Whether you’re fascinated by the raw power of volcanoes or simply want to immerse yourself in the unique landscapes of the Big Island, a visit to Volcanoes National Park is a must for any traveler. With its dramatic beauty, intriguing history, and opportunities for adventure, this national park offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the forces of nature.


Explore Hilo Town

Located on the eastern side of the Big Island, Hilo is a charming coastal town known for its rich history, lush landscapes, and unique cultural attractions. Exploring Hilo offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local Hawaiian culture and experience the town’s laid-back atmosphere.


Start your exploration of Hilo by visiting the iconic Hilo Farmers Market. Open every day, this vibrant market offers a wide array of tropical fruits, local produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food. Sample exotic fruits like rambutan and jackfruit, browse the colorful flower stalls, and pick up unique souvenirs created by local artisans.


For a taste of Hilo’s history, take a stroll along Banyan Drive. This scenic coastal road is adorned with beautiful banyan trees and leads to several historic landmarks, including Liliuokalani Gardens, a stunning Japanese-inspired garden with picturesque pagodas, koi ponds, and zen gardens. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens, admiring the scenic views and tranquil ambiance.


While in Hilo, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the renowned Lyman Museum and Mission House. Housed in a historic building, the museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawaii through exhibits on geology, volcanology, Hawaiian ethnography, and more. Explore the fascinating artifacts and learn about the island’s unique ecosystem and the traditions of its indigenous people.


Rainbow Falls is another must-visit attraction in Hilo. This picturesque waterfall gets its name from the rainbow that often forms in the mist as the water cascades down. Admire the beauty of the falls from the viewpoint or take a short hike to get a closer look. If you visit in the morning, you might be lucky enough to see the sunlight create a stunning rainbow over the falls.


For a relaxing beach experience, head to Carlsmith Beach Park, also known as Four Miles Beach. This serene and secluded beach features calm waters, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging on the golden sands. The park’s coconut grove offers shade and picnic areas, perfect for enjoying a beachside lunch.


Hilo is also home to the Pacific Tsunami Museum, which provides insight into the history and impact of tsunamis in the Pacific region. Through exhibits and multimedia displays, learn about the science behind tsunamis, witness firsthand accounts of the devastating 1946 and 1960 tsunamis that hit Hilo, and explore the community’s resilience in the face of these natural disasters.


Another hidden gem in Hilo is the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center. Discover the fascinating history of macadamia nuts in Hawaii, taste a variety of delicious macadamia treats, and browse through a wide selection of locally produced nut products. Don’t forget to pick up some snacks for the road!


When in Hilo, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine. From casual eateries serving traditional Hawaiian fare to upscale restaurants offering fusion cuisines, there are plenty of dining options to satisfy your palate. Taste local delicacies like poi, poke, and lomi-lomi salmon, and sample fresh tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.


Exploring Hilo town is like stepping back in time, where the charm of the past blends seamlessly with the natural beauty of the present. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the local culture, exploring historic landmarks, or simply enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, Hilo offers a delightful experience that shouldn’t be missed during your visit to the Big Island.


Relax on the Beaches of Kona

When it comes to beautiful beaches, Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii has some of the best. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden sands, and year-round sunshine, Kona is the perfect destination for beach lovers and those seeking pure relaxation.


One of the most popular beaches in Kona is Kahaluu Beach Park. Known for its calm waters and vibrant coral reefs, it’s an ideal spot for snorkeling and getting up close and personal with colorful marine life. Swim alongside schools of tropical fish, encounter graceful sea turtles, and explore the stunning coral formations just a few meters offshore.


For those who prefer a more secluded beach experience, Makalawena Beach is a hidden gem. Accessible via a short hike or a bumpy drive, this unspoiled beach boasts soft white sands and crystal-clear waters. Take a dip in the refreshing ocean, relax under the shade of palm trees, or simply enjoy the serene beauty of this secluded paradise.


If you’re a fan of water sports, Kua Bay is the perfect beach for you. Not only does this picturesque beach offer stunning views, but its waves are ideal for boogie boarding or body surfing. Spend the day riding the waves, building sandcastles, or simply basking in the warm Hawaiian sun.


For a beach experience coupled with incredible sunsets, head to Magic Sands Beach Park. This popular beach, also known as White Sands Beach, is known for its powdery white sand, clear waters, and amazing views of the sunset. Pack a picnic, grab a beach chair, and enjoy a front-row seat while the sun casts vibrant hues across the sky.


To experience the beach like a local, visit Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area. This expansive stretch of golden sand is often rated as one of the best beaches in the United States. With its gentle waves, ample parking, and facilities, it’s a great spot for families, picnics, and sunbathing. Don’t forget your beach umbrella and sunscreen!


For a unique beach experience, visit the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Located on the southeastern coast of the Big Island, this beach’s distinctive black sands are the result of volcanic activity. Take a stroll along the shores, relax on the soft sands, and keep an eye out for Hawaiian green sea turtles basking in the sun.


After a day of sun and sand, make sure to explore the town of Kona. With its charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to unwind and refuel. Enjoy a refreshing shave ice, savor a cup of Kona coffee, or indulge in a delicious plate of locally caught seafood. Don’t forget to catch the Kona sunset, which paints the sky with breathtaking colors and provides the perfect end to a beach-filled day.


Whether you’re seeking adventure in the ocean, relaxing on pristine shores, or simply enjoying the beauty of the Hawaiian coast, the beaches of Kona offer a slice of paradise. From vibrant coral reefs to powdery white sands, Kona’s beaches provide endless opportunities for fun, relaxation, and unforgettable memories.


Take a Helicopter Tour of the Island

For a truly spectacular and unforgettable experience on the Big Island of Hawaii, consider taking a helicopter tour to explore the island from a whole new perspective. Get ready to soar above lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, active volcanoes, and breathtaking coastlines, all while taking in panoramic views that are simply out of this world.


A helicopter tour allows you to witness the beauty and diversity of the Big Island’s landscapes in a way that can’t be replicated by any other means of transportation. As you take off from the helipad, your adventure begins, and the stunning natural wonders of the island unfold before your eyes.


One of the top highlights of a helicopter tour on the Big Island is flying over the famous Volcanoes National Park. From the comfort of your seat, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the active lava flows, steaming vents, and the vast volcanic landscapes that define this incredible park. Witnessing the raw power of the lava as it meets the ocean is a sight that will leave you in awe of the island’s ever-changing geology.


As your helicopter glides over the island, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the magnificent waterfalls that grace the landscape. The Big Island is home to some of the most picturesque and breathtaking waterfalls in Hawaii, including Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls, and the towering Hi’ilawe Falls. These cascades of water surrounded by lush greenery create a truly mesmerizing sight.


The helicopter tour also allows you to explore the stunning coastlines of the Big Island. Marvel at the rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and turquoise waters as you fly along the shoreline. You’ll witness hidden coves, secluded beaches, and perhaps even spot marine life such as dolphins or whales depending on the season.


For a truly thrilling experience, consider taking a doors-off helicopter tour. With no barriers between you and the stunning views, you’ll feel an incredible sense of freedom and exhilaration. The rush of the wind in your face and the unobstructed vistas will create memories that will last a lifetime.


Helicopter tours on the Big Island are typically led by knowledgeable pilots who provide informative commentary throughout the flight. They’ll point out notable landmarks, explain the island’s history and geology, and answer any questions you may have, offering a deeper understanding of the island’s natural wonders.


When booking a helicopter tour, it’s important to choose a reputable company with a strong safety record and experienced pilots. Check reviews, compare prices and tour options, and ensure that the company follows all necessary safety protocols. This will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.


From the moment you take off to the moment you touch back down, a helicopter tour on the Big Island will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. The awe-inspiring views, the rush of adrenaline, and the unique perspective on the island’s natural beauty make it an experience that is truly worth every moment.


Discover Mauna Kea Summit

Rising majestically to an elevation of 13,796 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea is not just the highest peak in Hawaii but also one of the premier astronomical observatories in the world. Visiting the summit of Mauna Kea offers an unforgettable experience that combines breathtaking panoramic views, unique geological formations, and a glimpse into the wonders of the universe.


Exploring Mauna Kea begins with a scenic drive that takes you through changing ecosystems, from lush rainforests to sparse alpine deserts, as you ascend towards the summit. Along the way, be sure to make a stop at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, where you can learn about the significance of Mauna Kea in scientific research and exploration.


Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the island below and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. On clear days, you’ll even be able to see the neighboring islands. The crisp, clear air and the expansive horizon make it an ideal spot for stargazing, as well as watching the sunset or sunrise.


For astronomy enthusiasts, a visit to one of the world-renowned observatories on the summit is a must. These advanced facilities provide scientists with access to cutting-edge telescopes and equipment to study the universe. Some observatories offer guided tours, providing insights into the research conducted at Mauna Kea and allowing visitors to peer through powerful telescopes to observe distant celestial bodies.


It’s important to note that due to the high altitude and challenging driving conditions, visitors should take precautions when visiting the summit. Dress warmly, as temperatures can drop significantly, and be aware of the effects of altitude sickness. It’s recommended to acclimate at lower elevations before attempting to reach the summit.


For those who prefer not to drive, guided tours to the summit are available, providing a safe and informative experience. These tours often include stops at cultural and historical sites along the way, sharing the rich heritage and significance of Mauna Kea in Hawaiian mythology and cosmology.


Aside from the scientific and astronomical significance, Mauna Kea is also a place of cultural importance to the indigenous Hawaiian people. It is considered a sacred site and is deeply connected to ancient Hawaiian traditions and beliefs. Visitors to the summit are encouraged to respect the cultural significance of the area and follow any guidelines or restrictions in place.


A visit to Mauna Kea summit offers a unique blend of natural beauty, scientific discovery, and cultural significance. Whether you’re gazing up at the stars, witnessing a remarkable sunset, or learning about the fascinating research conducted at the observatories, exploring Mauna Kea is an experience that will leave a lasting impression on your journey through the Big Island.


Snorkel or Dive in Kealakekua Bay

Hidden along the western coast of the Big Island lies the pristine and picturesque Kealakekua Bay, a marine sanctuary renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life. Whether you’re a snorkeling enthusiast or a seasoned diver, exploring the underwater world of Kealakekua Bay is a must-do activity for any visitor to the Big Island.


Named a Marine Life Conservation District, Kealakekua Bay boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities in Hawaii. The calm and clear waters provide ideal conditions for observing a kaleidoscope of marine species, from colorful tropical fish to graceful sea turtles.


Begin your aquatic adventure by donning your snorkel gear and gently entering the water. Immediately, you’ll be greeted by an underwater paradise teeming with marine life. Swim alongside schools of vibrant reef fish, spot elusive eels hiding among the coral, and marvel at the stunning formations of living coral that provide shelter for a myriad of aquatic creatures.


One of the main attractions in Kealakekua Bay is Captain Cook’s Monument, a white obelisk that commemorates the famous British explorer’s landing on the Big Island. Snorkeling or diving near the monument allows you to immerse yourself in history while witnessing the rich biodiversity of the bay. Keep an eye out for the resident spinner dolphins that frequent the area, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a majestic manta ray gliding gracefully through the water.


For experienced divers, Kealakekua Bay offers even more opportunities for exploration. Dive beneath the surface and discover hidden caves, lava tubes, and dramatic drop-offs. These underwater formations provide shelter for various marine species, including octopuses, moray eels, and even reef sharks.


It’s also worth exploring the coastline surrounding Kealakekua Bay. Kayak tours are available for those looking for an adventurous way to reach the bay, allowing you to paddle along the scenic shoreline and take in the stunning views before immersing yourself in the vibrant underwater world.


However, it is important to respect the marine life and the delicate ecosystem when snorkeling or diving in Kealakekua Bay. Remember to practice responsible snorkeling, avoiding contact with the coral reefs, and never touching or harassing marine animals. It’s crucial to leave only footprints and take away memories, ensuring the preservation of this incredible natural marine sanctuary.


To make the most of your snorkeling or diving adventure in Kealakekua Bay, consider joining a guided tour. Local guides can provide valuable insights into the marine life and take you to the best spots to maximize your experience. They can also provide safety tips and ensure that you have the necessary permits to enter the bay.


Exploring the underwater wonders of Kealakekua Bay is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of the Big Island’s natural beauty. So grab your snorkel or diving gear and get ready to be mesmerized by the vibrant colors and abundant life that awaits beneath the surface of the bay’s crystal-clear waters.


Take a Scenic Drive along the Hamakua Coast

The Hamakua Coast stretches along the northeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, offering a breathtakingly scenic drive that takes you through lush green landscapes, majestic waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs. Embarking on a journey along this picturesque coastline is a must-do activity to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the island.


Begin your scenic drive in the charming town of Hilo, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by tropical vegetation and towering palm trees. As you make your way along the Hamakua Coast, be prepared to be captivated by the awe-inspiring views that unfold before you.


One of the highlights of the Hamakua Coast drive is the opportunity to witness some of Hawaii’s most magnificent waterfalls. Akaka Falls State Park is a must-visit destination, where you can marvel at the 442-foot waterfall cascading down a lush gorge. Take a short walk through the park’s well-maintained trails, surrounded by verdant vegetation, and hear the soothing sounds of water as you approach the viewing platform for a stunning view of the falls.


Continuing along the coast, you’ll encounter the picturesque Waipio Valley, often referred to as “The Valley of Kings.” This dramatic valley is surrounded by towering cliffs, lush taro fields, and a pristine black sand beach. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility and breathtaking beauty of this secluded paradise. You can also opt to take a guided tour or embark on a challenging hike down into the valley to explore its hidden gems.


As you drive along, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the dramatic cliffs and roaring waves that define the Hamakua Coastline. The rugged coastline offers stunning panoramic views that will leave you in awe of the power of the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye out for sea turtles and other marine life, as they often make appearances along this stunning stretch of coastline.


Make sure to take your time and make stops along the way to explore the charming towns and villages that dot the Hamakua Coast. Discover local artisans, browse through shops for unique gifts and souvenirs, and savor delicious local cuisine at quaint restaurants and roadside stalls.


While driving, you’ll also notice the remnants of the area’s rich plantation history. Old sugarcane mills, often transformed into museums or art galleries, dot the landscape, serving as a reminder of the region’s agricultural past. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the stories of the people who once worked the land and contributed to the vibrant culture of the Big Island.


The Hamakua Coast drive offers a true immersion into the raw natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Big Island of Hawaii. Whether marveling at powerful waterfalls, exploring secluded valleys, or admiring the coastline’s rugged cliffs, this scenic drive promises breathtaking panoramic views and unforgettable experiences along the way.


Explore Waipio Valley

Located along the Hamakua Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, Waipio Valley is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the island’s dramatic beauty and rich cultural history. Known as “The Valley of Kings,” Waipio Valley is a place of awe-inspiring landscapes, cascading waterfalls, lush taro fields, and a sense of tranquility that transports visitors to another world.


To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Waipio Valley, it’s recommended to take a guided tour or join a hiking group that can provide insights into the area’s history, culture, and the importance of its natural ecosystem. As you descend into the valley, you’ll be greeted by steep cliffs covered in verdant foliage, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for your exploration.


Waipio Valley is home to one of the longest black sand beaches in Hawaii, offering a tranquil and secluded spot to unwind and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Feel the soft black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along the beach, listen to the crashing waves, and take in the panoramic views of the ocean.


While exploring the valley, look out for the picturesque Hi’ilawe Falls, the tallest waterfall on the Big Island. As the water cascades down the lush cliffs, you’ll be left in awe of its grandeur. The sight of this majestic waterfall is simply breathtaking and a testament to the natural beauty of the island.


Waipio Valley is also deeply tied to Hawaiian mythology and history. According to legend, the valley was once the residence of Hawaiian kings and a place of great spiritual significance. Take a moment to connect with the valley’s tranquil energy and learn about its cultural significance from your knowledgeable guide.


For those who enjoy hiking, Waipio Valley offers an array of trails that take you deeper into the valley’s pristine surroundings. Follow the Muahala Trail to explore lush forests, encounter unique plant species, and witness the valley’s diverse wildlife.


Alternatively, opt for a horseback ride through the valley to experience a different perspective of the landscape. Guided horseback tours allow you to leisurely explore the valley’s hidden corners while learning about its history and cultural significance.


It’s important to note that access to Waipio Valley by vehicle is restricted, and only those with four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed to descend into the valley. Visitors without appropriate vehicles can park near the entrance and either hike or take a guided tour down the steep road.


Exploring Waipio Valley is like stepping into a world untouched by time. The pristine natural beauty, towering waterfalls, and rich cultural heritage make it a truly enchanting destination on the Big Island. Whether you choose to hike, ride a horse, or simply take in the breathtaking views, Waipio Valley will leave you with lasting memories and a profound appreciation for the remarkable landscapes of Hawaii.


Visit the Akaka Falls State Park

Nestled along the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, Akaka Falls State Park is a natural wonderland that showcases the mesmerizing beauty of Hawaii’s waterfalls and lush rainforests. With its incredible panoramic views and stunning cascades, a visit to Akaka Falls State Park is a must-do experience for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape.


The main attraction of the park is, without a doubt, the towering Akaka Falls. As you walk along the paved trail through the lush tropical vegetation, the sound of rushing water grows louder, building anticipation for the stunning sight that awaits. Suddenly, the trail opens up, and you’re greeted by the breathtaking 442-foot waterfall, plunging into a pool below. The sheer size and power of Akaka Falls will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.


But Akaka Falls State Park is not just about one waterfall. As you explore the park, you’ll also encounter Kahuna Falls, a smaller yet equally captivating waterfall that adds to the park’s allure. These two magnificent waterfalls, surrounded by vibrant green foliage and blooming tropical plants, create a serene and picturesque setting.


The park offers a well-maintained loop trail that takes you through the enchanting rainforest. Wander through the dense vegetation, surrounded by giant ferns, bamboo groves, and a variety of native plants. The air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers, and the trail itself is adorned with informative signs that provide interesting facts about the flora and fauna of the area.


As you venture further along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning viewpoints that allow you to appreciate the magnificent cascades from different angles. Take your time to capture photos, listen to the soothing sound of the water, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park.


Akaka Falls State Park is also a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. The rainforest is teeming with native bird species, including the colorful Hawaiian honeycreepers and the melodic Apapane birds. Keep your eyes and ears open for these fascinating feathered creatures as you stroll through the park.


Whether you’re a casual visitor or an avid nature photographer, don’t forget to bring your camera. The picturesque landscapes and awe-inspiring waterfalls provide ample opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots. Be sure to pack a rain jacket or umbrella, as the weather in the rainforest can be unpredictable.


Located near the town of Hilo, Akaka Falls State Park is easily accessible and makes for an excellent day trip. The park has ample parking and restroom facilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for visitors.


A visit to Akaka Falls State Park allows you to immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the Big Island. From the mesmerizing waterfalls to the lush rainforest, this park is a testament to the stunning beauty that can be found in Hawaii’s untouched landscapes. So take a leisurely stroll, connect with nature, and let the sights and sounds of Akaka Falls State Park leave a lasting impression on your Big Island adventure.


Enjoy a Luau and Traditional Hawaiian Culture

No visit to the Big Island of Hawaii would be complete without experiencing the vibrant and rich cultural traditions of the Hawaiian people. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture is by attending a traditional luau, a celebration that showcases the island’s music, dance, cuisine, and warm hospitality.


A luau is a festive gathering that brings together locals and visitors to celebrate Hawaiian heritage and traditions. These lively events often take place in outdoor settings, where you can soak in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying an evening of entertainment and indulging in a feast of Hawaiian delicacies.


During a luau, you’ll have the opportunity to witness captivating performances of traditional hula dances. Hula is not just a form of dance but an integral part of Hawaiian culture, telling stories and preserving the history and mythology of the islands. Dancers, decked in vibrant costumes adorned with fresh flower leis, gracefully move their bodies to the rhythm of live traditional music, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.


In addition to hula, you’ll also experience other Polynesian dance forms, such as the exciting Tahitian dance and the rhythmic Samoan fire knife dance, both of which showcase the diverse cultural influences within the Pacific region.


Food is an essential part of any luau, and you’ll be treated to an impressive buffet that features traditional Hawaiian dishes. Indulge in Kalua pig, a succulent roasted pig that is cooked in an imu, an underground oven. Sample laulau, a classic dish made with pork and fish wrapped in taro leaves and steamed to perfection. And don’t forget to try poi, a staple of Hawaiian cuisine made from pounded taro root.


As you savor the delicious food and enjoy the lively entertainment, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about Hawaiian culture and history. Many luaus feature cultural demonstrations and displays of traditional crafts, such as lei making, ukulele playing, and coconut husking. Engage with local artisans and learn about their crafts, gaining a deeper understanding of the skills and traditions passed down through generations.


A luau is not just an event for entertainment and dining; it’s a chance to connect with the Hawaiian people and experience their warm aloha spirit. You’ll be welcomed with open arms and treated like ohana (family). Take the opportunity to engage with the performers and hosts, ask questions, and learn about their personal experiences and perspectives.


When choosing a luau, consider attending one that supports and promotes authentic Hawaiian culture while respecting the traditions and values of the local community. There are several reputable luaus on the Big Island that prioritize cultural education and preservation, ensuring an authentic and respectful experience.


Attending a luau is an enriching and memorable way to embrace Hawaiian culture, music, dance, and cuisine. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories, learn about the traditions of the island, and be captivated by the warm and welcoming spirit of the Hawaiian people. So gather with friends and loved ones, embrace the festive atmosphere, and embrace the spirit of aloha at a traditional luau on the Big Island.



The Big Island of Hawaii is a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and breathtaking beauty. From the fiery volcanoes of Volcanoes National Park to the pristine beaches of Kona, this island offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to all interests.


Exploring the island’s natural landscapes will leave you awe-inspired. Hike through ancient lava fields, witness active lava flows, and be captivated by the stunning waterfalls along the Hamakua Coast. Snorkel or dive in Kealakekua Bay to encounter vibrant marine life, and take a scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast to appreciate the dramatic cliffs and coastal vistas.


Immersing yourself in Hawaiian culture is equally important. Attend a traditional luau to experience the captivating hula dances, savor delicious local cuisine, and learn about the traditions and history of the Hawaiian people. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Hilo town and its charming farmers market, or dive into the island’s rich heritage at the Lyman Museum and Mission House.


For those seeking adventure and exploration, visit the summit of Mauna Kea and be mesmerized by the panoramic views of the island and the stars above. Take to the skies with a helicopter tour to witness the awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes and cascading waterfalls from a unique perspective.


Throughout your journey on the Big Island, remember to respect the delicate ecosystems and cultural sites. Follow any guidelines or restrictions in place, and engage with the local community to learn and appreciate the island’s rich heritage.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, the Big Island of Hawaii has it all. With its beautiful beaches, dramatic landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming spirit, it’s a destination that will leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the wonders of nature and the Aloha spirit.