Big Island Activity Guide

Looking for a great (if not the best..:-)) Big Island Activity Guide? I will show you the best attractions the Big Island has to offer as well as my favorite things to do.

On such a large and diverse island, there are so many attractions and places you must see.

Sidebar--Remember I said it is a Big Island? Here are some typical driving times to give you an idea of its size.

  • Kona to Hilo--2 hours 15 minutes
  • Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park--2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Hilo to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park--45 minutes
  • Hilo to Waimea--1 hour 15 minutes

If you would like to save money on activities, such as Big Island Hawaii fishing tours, Big Island snorkeling adventures, or a Big Island luau, I recommend using Barefoot's Cashback Tours because their superb service, quality of tours, and "Low Price Guarantee" can't be beat.

Big Island Activity -- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This 218,000 acre National Park is the state's top attraction and most popular Big Island activity. Click here to read more...

Kilauea Crater on the Big Island of Hawaii

Volcano Winery

Volcano Winery

This is a great Big Island activity to do before you leave the Volcano area. Sorry, but my years in the restaurant business on Oahu won’t let me miss a stop at a winery.

You will find some wines here that you won’t find anywhere else. How about Hawaiian Guava Wine? If you like guava jam, try the wine!

  • Hours: Daily from 10:00 a.m.--5:30 p.m.
  • Phone: (808) 967-7772

Big Island Activity -- Check Out The Stars

No, this is not referring to the Hollywood type. Do you love to gaze up at the stars in the sky like me? Well, Mauna Kea is the mecca for looking up into heaven. Click here to read more...

Waipio Valley

This beautiful Big Island attraction is located on the northeast shore on the Hamakua Coast. Waipio Valley is also known as the “Valley of the Kings”. It is a very sacred place for the Hawaiian people because many ancient rulers, including Kamehameha the Great, lived there.

A favorite Big Island activity--Go INTO Waipio Valley

The valley is one mile wide and goes six miles deep. You can get a nice view of the mouth of the valley where the Waipio River meets the ocean, from the lookout.

But to truly experience it, I suggest you go into the valley. The only ways into the valley are by 4-wheel drive or foot. If you have your own 4-wheel drive vehicle, you can go yourself.

Explore Waipio Valley by horseback Otherwise, you can try a favorite Big Island activity of mine…take a guided tour by a mule-pulled wagon or horseback. These tours begin at the base of the valley, and they provide transportation down.

I’ve only done the wagon tour which was excellent. I hear the horseback tours are good too. Some of the wild horses in the valley are the same ones from the movie Waterworld, which was filmed here.

On the tours, you are treated to waterfalls, taro fields, and lush tropical rainforests. You get so much interesting information on the tours that I recommend them over simply exploring yourself. Two outfitters I would recommend are Waipio Valley Wagon Tours (808-775-9518), and Na'alapa Stables (808-775-0419).

Check with Barefoot's Cashback Tours for the best prices on Waipio Valley Tours.

Big Island Activities in Hilo

Hilo is the island’s biggest city with a population of 41,000, but it remains one of the state’s most quaint cities. Kona’s wet and lush counterpart, Hilo offers you at least one Big Island activity that you will surely love…Click here to read more...

Big Island Adventures -- Horseback Riding

You would expect Hawaii to be home to some of the best beaches in the world. Being home to the biggest volcano in the world wouldn't raise too many eyebrows either...But one of the biggest ranches in the United States? Hawaii? Cmon I serious?

Yes, Parker Ranch in Waimea is the largest private ranch under single ownership in the United States. It is sprawled out over 225,000 acres and sits 2,600 feet above sea level. It probably has the most exotic views of any other ranch in the world!

Parker Ranch was founded in 1847 by John Parker when he married the daughter of Hawaiian royalty. Today, the Big Island is home to the paniolos, or Hawaiian cowboys.

In fact, the Big Island has many ranches where you can be a paniolo for a day or take a leisurely horseback ride on some of the most exotic ranch views in the world.

photo courtesy of Dahana Ranch

Try Dahana Ranch (pictured above) at (808) 885-0057 or Paniolo Adventures at (808) 889-5354.

Big Island Activity -- Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park or City of Refuge

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park was a very sacred place for the ancient Hawaiians. If someone violated a sacred law or kapu, he would go to a pu'uhonua, or place of refuge. Here, he could be purified by a kahuna, or priest.

Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

This a a great place to learn about Hawaiian history and their way of life. There are many archeological sites, recreated coastal villages, and royal fishponds. Even turtles come here to seek refuge...

I don't know why but this place, more than any other spot in Hawaii, gives me goosebumps...the kind of goosebumps like I've gone back in time. I can't say enough about what a great job the National Park System does. It is located about 20 minutes south of Kailua-Kona.

  • Cost: $5, good for seven days
  • Hours: 6:00 a.m. -- 11:00 p.m. on Fridays -- Sundays and holidays; 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m. on Monday -- Thursdays. The visitor center is open 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m. daily.
  • Phone: (808) 328-2288

Big Island Activities in Kona

Kona-Kohala Coast

Kona is one of the sunniest cities in the United States averaging only 10 inches of rainfall a year. It is on the leeward (west) side of the island and is where most people choose to stay. Kona offers not only one great Big Island activity, but many…Click here to read more...

Big Island Luau

"Luau" is probably one of the first words you associate with Hawaii. In a traditonal sense, it is simply a get-together with family and friends for some good food and good times.

For the visitor, luaus include entertainment. This usually consists of a production showcasing the different Polynesian cultures. Luaus are Big Island activities that sometimes involve audience participation...:)

Luaus are one of Hawaii's signature attractions, and one on the Big Island is the choice of most, the Kona Village Luau.

They all offer traditional Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua pig (cooked in an underground imu, or oven), laulau (pork and butterfish wrapped in taro leaves), lomi salmon (salmon and onion), and haupia (coconut dessert). They also offer more traditional items as well.

It's something you have to do once in your visit...

  • Cost: Adults and Children 13 years & older--$98, Children Ages 6-12--$67, Children ages 3-5 years--$40
  • Phone: (808) 325-5555
  • Website:

I hope you found my Big Island Activity Guide useful.

Sidebar: If there is one thing you take from this site, I hope this is it. Please don't forget the most important Big Island activity...enjoy yourself. You are in paradise. Take in the heavenly scenery, listen to the sound of the ocean, breathe in the refreshing tradewinds, smell the exotic flora. Enjoy this magical time with your spouse, companion, or friend. Enjoy your children. After all, this is heaven on earth...:)

Check out Barefoot Cashback Tours to find out about all the Big Island Activities available.

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