Visiting Hawaii is on almost everyone’s bucket list so if you’re about to check it off yours, make sure you do it right! There are so many Hawaii vacation ideas that it can be difficult to actually decide what to do in Hawaii. From Big Island, Hawaii beaches to the top Hawaii tourist attractions, here are the can’t-miss experiences for Big Island, Hawaii.
Best Things to Do in Hawaii for Avid Snorkelers & Divers
It’s no secret that Hawaii has some of the absolute best beaches in the world. A lesser known fact is that they also have some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. The Big Island is no exception and the waters surrounding it are teeming with colorful fish and amazing snorkeling experiences.
If you are looking for the best Big Island snorkeling, Kealakekua Bay is the place to go. Located 17 miles south of Kona, Kealakekua Bay is a snorkeler’s paradise and one of the only places where you snorkel amongst seat turtles and dolphins lazily swimming about. The best snorkeling is close to the Captain Cook monument that is located there and you can either hike there, kayak or grab a snorkeling tour. Fair Wind offers an affordable snorkeling and BBQ tour out of departing from Keauhou Bay. Another option is Body Glove Cruises that leaves from Kailua bay and cruises along the Kona coastline.
For the more adventurous snorkelers, you should check out the night Manta Ray dive offered by Big Island Divers. This tour leaves at 5 pm and launches at 9 pm. Everything you need is included to swim amongst the eerie manta rays in the dark waters. Scuba divers can also experience this as long as they have SCUBA certification.
Kona Honu Divers, Inc. is another great dive charter for those looking to explore the waters surrounding the Big Island. This is Kona’s largest custom dive charter and allows you to dive and snorkel along the exuberant Kona reefs.
What to Do in Hawaii for Nature Aficionados
Perhaps one of the most amazing things about Hawaii is that the islands were formed by volcanoes. In fact, there are actually active volcanoes on Hawaii. If that interests you, then you need to check out one of the top Hawaii tourist attractions, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This park has miles and miles of hiking trails that take you through smoking crates. For the best experience, take the Crater Rim Drive Tour so you can view the crates at the viewing area at Jaggar Museum.
For one of the most unique and romantic Hawaii attractions, you cannot miss the Mauna Kea star party. This is considered Hawaii’s most sacred location and boasts some of the world’s clearest stargazing. This 7.5 to 8.5 hour adventures takes you to the top of the mountain in their 4x4 vans to enjoy a scrumptious meal while watching the sunset and stargazing the stunning night sky. It’s truly a stunning experience that you will remember for a lifetime.
'Akaka Falls State Park is another nature lover’s dream tourist site. The sprawling park contains a 422-foot-tall waterfall surrounded by wild ginger and massive philodendrons. The great news is that you can drive right up and take a half mile hike through easy terrain before arriving at the stunning waterfall spilling over the stiff cliffs. It will cost you $5 per car, or $1 per person if you aren’t a local. For a little more excitement, consider taking the zipline tour offered by Big Island Zipline Tour.
Hawaii Tourist Attractions for Some Aloha State Culture
If Hawaiian culture is what you are looking for, the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park is a great destination. This park contains ancient temples and is known as the Place of Refuge. While in the park, you can get to know more about traditional Hawaiian culture and the kapu system used to govern the ancient Hawaiians. You can also check out sea turtles bobbing in the picturesque bay.
Another place to see Hawaiian culture is on the Big Island Hawaii beaches. Hapuna Beach is one of the sites where you can check out locals surfing, sunbathing and enjoying the bright sun.
If you can time it right, the Merrie Monarch Festival will give you a true taste of Hawaii. People fly in from all over the globe for this festival, which typically runs for a week in April. Throughout the festival, you can witness head to head hula competitions. It’s like a Hawaiian luau, only with the best hula showdown on the planet.
Is there anything better than the aroma of coffee brewing in the morning? Maybe the real thing? The Big Island is home to 100% Kona coffee that is only grown in town, fostered by the rich volcanic soil, high elevation, and near constant cloud coverage. The area is unique with hundreds of coffee farms, many of which give public tours. Check out the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, Hula Daddy Coffee, and many more! If you’re visiting Hawaii in November, you can also spend some time at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival held every year in the Kailua Village.
With so many Big Island Hawaii vacation ideas, how can you even choose? The Big Island has such a unique diversity that you can be in a sleepy fishing village in the morning and then swing into the mega resorts and popular beaches at lunch. Whatever Big Island Hawaii tourist attractions you choose, you are bound to have an amazing vacation in the friendly and stunningly beautiful Aloha state.