10 epic things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii!
Fun fact: I have never actually traveled to the Big Island for anything other than work! But when “work” is taking photos of epic adventures in paradise I can’t really complain. I’ve hopped over to the island of Hawai’i almost 10 times now, so I’ve gotten a good taste of what it has to offer.
The Big Island is the perfect place for travelers who want to get out of their comfort zone, experience scenery unlike anywhere else in the world, and go on an amazing adventure every day. I thought it would be fun to share 10 amazing things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii so you can start planning your trip now!
Make sure you read my other posts about Hawaii, like my quick guide to the Hawaiian islands or how to travel to Hawaii responsibly. If you’re also headed to Oahu, check out my Oahu Travel Guide for all the best hikes, beaches, and other adventures!
1. Repel down a massive waterfall
The Big Island has tons of waterfalls to explore! Many of them are privately owned, but if you’re going to pay to see a waterfall you might as well do something epic! At Kulaniapia Falls you can repel down a private waterfall that sits right behind the hotel. They also offer paddle boarding, kayaking, and lots of hiking!
2. Get out on a boat
If you’re headed to the Big Island, getting out on a boat is a MUST. The west side of the island is almost always sunny, and the water is unreal. You’ll most likely see dolphins and possibly even whales, too! I’ve been on a few boat tours and my favorites are Sea Paradise and
3. Go horseback riding
Nothing feels more magical than riding horses through a big field overlooking the ocean and a huge volcano! I loved being at Dahana Ranch - it was seriously paradise on earth.
4. Hike down to Pololu Valley
If you’ve never seen a black sand beach before, then you’ll be amazed when you hike down Pololu! The views are insane and the valley and beach below are absolutely gorgeous.
5. Snorkel in crystal clear water
The island of Hawai’i has some of the clearest water in the whole state. You can pick pretty much anywhere on the Kona side of the island, hop in, and snorkel! The reefs are in amazing condition and there are so many fish. Don’t forget to wear reef safe sunscreen and never touch or take anything from the reef!
6. Visit Volcano national park
No words can describe how incredible seeing an actual volcano is! There is SO much to do at the national park. You can hike, bike, ride in a helicopter, walk through a lava tube, see plants that can’t be found anywhere else on earth, and maybe even see a lava flow depending on when you go!
7. Try a fresh poke bowl
If you’re a seafood lover you can’t visit Hawaii without trying a poke bowl! The fish is fresh, the ingredients are tasty, and a good poke bowl might change your life. My favorite spots on the island are Poke Market (in Hilo) or Suisan Fish Market (in Hilo). I can’t rave about these spots enough! If you’re not much of a fish person, Poke Market has vegan options!
8. Learn about Hawaiian history
One of my favorite spots I’ve visited on the island is the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Park! Not only is it a beautiful spot surrounded by blue ocean and coconut trees, but it features reconstructed Hawaiian cultural sites such as a heiau (Hawaiian temple), hales, statues, a fish pond, and more. I highly recommend stopping by and learning more about the culture of Hawaii!
9. Ride in a helicopter
While there are dozens of helicopter tours around the island, my personal favorite is the Kohala Coast tour with Paradise Helicopters. The views took my breath away and it was worth every penny. Just look at that view!
10. Visit a coffee, chocolate, or honey farm!
Big Island is a huge hot spot for agriculture in Hawaii, and going around and sampling the freshest ingredients paradise has to offer is a great way to spend your time. I’ve personally visited a honey farm, chocolate farm, coffee farm, and banana farm and let me just say I have no regrets!
I hope this was helpful to you who want to experience something unique when visiting the Big Island! I tried to share activities that are family friendly and different than the usual stuff people do when they visit. Hawaii is such a special place and I hope you feel it too when you visit!