Top 6 things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island


Big Island, Hawaii - Hawaii Sunset

We have already filled you in on things to do in Maui and where to eat.  The lists for Maui came a little earlier, as we have been there more times and more recently.  However, that does not diminish the quality of the big island of Hawaii.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would recommend that you try to make a trip that includes a visit to both Maui and the Big Island.  To help you get prepared, we thought we would give you some things to do while you are there!


The new resort area on the Big Island, there are many big hotel resorts that are being built in Waikoloa.  The most elaborate is the Hilton Waikoloa Village.  Make sure to visit the resort (and we do recommend staying here), as it has a dolphin habitat and a lagoon area with many types of sea-life.  It is possible to pay to swim with the dolphins (although it is pricey), which is quite the experience.  The lagoon is part of the man-made beach area inside the resort (there is not much beach on the big island, unlike most of the other islands).  The lagoon has many tropical fish and turtles are regulars as well.  We recommend you stay in this area during your time. 

Big Island, Hawaii - Hilton Waikoloa Village Grounds

The transportation to get around the Hilton Waikoloa Village!

Big Island, Hawaii - Hilton Waikoloa Village Transportation


The second largest city on the big island, Kona is one the most “Hawaiian” places on the islands.  Although some of the smaller islands have a really true Hawaiian feel, there is not many on the more tourist friendly islands that feel more Hawaiian than Kona.  The old town of Kona is located right along the water with lots of interesting shops and a small beach (that does disappear certain times of the year).  It is a nice place to spend a day.  Try to find out when the street market is happening in Kona and plan to go that day, as the market is quite nice. 

Big Island, Hawaii - Kona

The Place of Refuge

The former sacred ground of the ancient Hawaiian people, the Place of Refuge was just that.  It was said that for anybody who was in danger from other Hawaiians, if they made it to the sacred ground of The Place of Refuge, they were safe from being harmed.  There are many buildings from the times of the great King Kamehameha to see and explore.

Big Island, Hawaii - Place of Refuge 1 

Big Island, Hawaii - Place of Refuge 2

Volcano National Park

There are many things to visit in the Volcano National Park on the Kilauea Volcano.  First stop should be at the Kilauea visitors’ center where there is plenty of information on the volcano and the history of the park.  There are maps available that show the sights to see in the park.  We recommend the volcano crater, the “road to nowhere”, as we call it because the lava flow went right over it (ask at the Visitor center), and the Thurston Lava Tubes.  It is not possible to see any flowing lava from any of the viewpoints in the park, as it is too risky to allow that and the current flow is nowhere near the location of the park’s viewpoints.  To see the lava flows, check out the experiences below.

Take a Helicopter Tour of Volcano

Although a trip to the Volcano National Park is an informative and enjoyable journey to see lava tubes and craters, we mentioned above that it is not possible to see the flowing lava or the active crater from the park.  Therefore, we highly recommend going on a helicopter tour over Hilo and Kilauea Volcano.  The tour takes clients up to the crater that is spewing ash and smoke into the air and spots along the volcano that show an open lava flow and where the lava is currently flowing directly into the ocean.  Seeing the lava flows that close up is something pretty amazing and we actually saw how much the Island had grown so far that year! 

Big Island, Hawaii - Volcano from the Helicopter

Go to a Luau 

The Polynesian islands are famous for their dancing and roast pig dinners.  Most of the luaus in Hawaii combine these two very Polynesian specialties.  The pig is buried in the ground early in the day to cook and removed in front of the audience at the luau.  They serve a spectacular meal with many different tropical foods to suit all diets.  After dinner, there is a Polynesian dance show usually including hula dance and fire dancers! 

Big Island, Hawaii - Luau

Well there is a nice sampling of things to do in Hawaii.  For a more complete list you can visit our Big Island travel guide, but it would be impossible to write everything!  Enjoy your trip!!


What is your favourite part about the big island of Hawaii?


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