Welcome to Hawaiʻi the Big Island


Island Diversity

We doubt that it's possible to get 'island fever' on Hawaiʻi. The aptly named Big Island is fantastically diverse, with miles of highways – and, better yet, byways – to explore. Eight of the world’s 13 climate zones exist here, adding sensory variety as you circumnavigate the island. Gaze at vivid emerald cliffs, swaths of black-, white- and even green-sand beaches, majestic volcanic mountains (possibly snowcapped!), stark lava desert, rolling pastureland and misty valleys, weathered by rain, waves and time. Hawaiʻi is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and its dramatic terrain is ever fascinating.

Volcanic Wonders

Less than a million years old, Hawaiʻi is a baby in geological terms. Here you'll find the Hawaiian Islands' tallest, largest and only active volcanic mountains. Kilauea, on the eastern side, is the world's most active volcano, spewing molten lava continuously since 1983. If you see glowing, red-hot lava, you are witnessing Earth in the making, a thrilling and humbling experience. At 33,000ft tall when measured from the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the world's tallest mountain, and its significance cannot be overstated – as a sacred place to Hawaiians and a top astronomical site to scientists.

Ancient History & Modern Multiculturalism

Ancient history looms large on Hawaiʻi, a place of powerful mana (spiritual essence). The first Polynesians landed at Ka Lae, the windswept southern tip, still raw and undeveloped today. Kamehameha the Great, who unified the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Kohala and died in Kailua-Kona. Hula and oli (chant) are deep-rooted here, and Miloli‘i on the Kona Coast is perhaps the last Hawaiian fishing village. During the sugarcane era, traditional ways became intertwined with those of immigrant cultures: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese and more. This legacy is palpable in the mix of languages, foods and festivals. The most striking element of this multiculturalism is the pidgin vernacular.

Roads Less Traveled

Thanks to its sheer size, Hawaiʻi has lots of legroom. Enjoy the delicious freedom of the open road, where the journey becomes the main attraction. From east to west, the island has multiple personalities, and it's worthwhile experiencing them all. While the 'Gold Coast' – South Kohala to Kailua-Kona – caters to travelers en masse, most island towns are rural and exist primarily for residents. Even the capital seat, Hilo, is a former plantation town that's still slow-paced and populated by kamaʻaina (people born and raised here). Ultimately this down-home localness marks the real Hawai‘i. Don't miss it.


Top experiences in Hawaiʻi the Big Island

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Hawaiʻi the Big Island activities

$186.46 Day Trips & Excursions

Big Island of Hawaii Tour: Akaka Falls

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Royal Kona Coffee Center, Captain Cook, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiWalk through a lava tube, and take a tour of a Kona Coffee Farm to learn about the harvesting and milling process while sampling Kona CoffeeDuration: 30 minutesStop At: Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Pahala, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiDip your toes in the sand at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach and scan the horizon for green sea turtles on the shoreDuration: 30 minutesStop At: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiExplore the wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including steam vents, the Halema’uma’u and Kilauea Iki crater lookouts, past lava flow sites, and take a short hike along crater rim trail.Duration: 1 hour 30 minutesStop At: Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, Volcano, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiEnjoy a free tour of the orchid garden and picnic style lunchDuration: 1 hourStop At: Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiNext is a waterfall that’s small by comparison, but not by beauty: Rainbow Falls, a beautiful 80-foot (24-meter) waterfall with a giant banyan tree beside it.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Waipi'o Valley, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiThe views stop you in your tracks at the Waipio Valley lookout, where a dramatic backdrop of lush cliffs drops into the sparkling blue oceanDuration: 20 minutesStop At: Akaka Falls State Park, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiThis towering 442-foot (135-meter) waterfall plummets into a lush ravine at the center of a state park. You’ll enjoy a short walk through the vegetation for an up close view and plenty of photo ops. Duration: 40 minutes

$235 Day Trips & Excursions

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

View a spectacular sunset from the top of Mauna Kea and enjoy a unique stargazing experience on this Big Island adventure tour. After departing from Hawaii Forest & Trail's Kona Headquarters and a brief pickup from the Queens' MarketPlace in Waikoloa, you'll travel to a Hawaiian historical ranch in a 4x4 luxury van at the base of Mauna Kea.Enjoy a hot, picnic-style dinner (see sample menu in the Itinerary section below) at a former Hawaiian ranch site where you're provided with a warm, hooded parka. Then prepare to make the climb to the summit area of Mauna Kea, learning about the Big Island's cultural, natural and ecological history from your naturalist guide.From the summit, enjoy views of Mauna Loa and see Maui's volcano, Haleakala, along with other special points of interest. Stand among some of the earth's most powerful telescopes as you enjoy the sunset view.After sunset, travel to the Mauna Kea Visitor Station at 9,000 feet (2,743 meters), where your guide sets up a telescope for a personal, entertaining and educational star party. Learn how Mauna Kea's unique geography draws scientists from all over the world to study the heavens, and also allows for incredible nighttime views of the stars.Enjoy hot beverages and dessert as your guide gives a personal astronomy lesson before your return to Kona.

$138.44 Cultural & Theme Tours

Big Island's Hawaii Grand Circle Island Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Royal Kona Coffee Center, Captain Cook, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiFree samples of the different types of Kona coffee.Duration: 20 minutesStop At: Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, Honaunau, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiAncient ways of old HawaiiDuration: 45 minutesStop At: Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Pahala, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiA beautiful black sand beach on the south east coast of the Big Island.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Volcano's Lava Rock CafeLunch at the quaint Lava Rock CafeDuration: 1 hourStop At: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiPu'u Pua'i to Kealakomo Overlook/Chain of Craters RoadSteam VentsVisitor Center - Volcano House (Halema'uma'u Crater)Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor CenterFamous chocolate covered Macadamia nutsDuration: 20 minutesPass By: Hilo Hawaiian HotelA drive through old Hilo town, King Kamehameha Statue and Shinmachi Tsunami MemorialStop At: Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiIt cascades over a lava cave that according to legends is home to the ancient Hawaiian goddess Hina, the goddess of the moon.Duration: 15 minutesPass By: Saddle Road, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiFrom Hilo, your drive back to Kona via Saddle Road.

$238.54 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Hawaii Volcano Tour with Dinner from Kailua-Kona

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Mauna Kea State Recreation Area, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiPicnic lunchDuration: 45 minutesStop At: Kaumana Caves Park, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiBrief hike to lava cavesDuration: 30 minutesStop At: MacKenzie State Park, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiRecent lava flows in lower east rift zone of KilaueaDuration: 1 hourStop At: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiChain of Craters Road, Lookouts, Steam Vents and views of the NewHalemau’mau CraterDuration: 1 hour 15 minutesStop At: Saddle Road, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiStargazing, weather permittingDuration: 30 minutes

$225 Outdoor Activities

Volcanoes National Park Small Group Twilight Tour

Begin your 12-hour, small-group tour with a visit to see two of the world's largest volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The region is locally known as the Saddle, and it's also home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the world. After a brief stop for lunch at Mauna State Park, continue east towards Hilo to explore a lava tube. Here you'll turn on your provided flashlight and look around these spellbinding passages that once carried molten rock from Mauna Loa's upper rift zones to the ocean. From there, head into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park via the Crater Rim Drive. The park, which is both a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Preserve, is filled with must-see spots such as the active Kilauea. Throughout the afternoon, your guide leads your group on moderate 1.5-mile (2 km) hikes, with breaks in between, along mostly flat trails; if need be, you can use provided walking sticks in areas with uneven or muddy terrain. Since Pele (the fire goddess said to live here) is unpredictable, it’s not guaranteed that you get to see lava flowing firsthand on this hike, but your guide will do their best to take you to prime viewing spots if the conditions are safe. When Kilauea isn't erupting, you actually get to walk the summit caldera, peer down steam vents, and marvel at the cinder fields. Such dramatic displays aren't the only natural wonders of the park. You'll also explore trails carved into a native rain forest before you head to a spot where you'll get to see active lava glowing at twilight.Your Big Island volcano tour includes a delicious picnic style dinner.

$65 Water Sports

Night Manta Ray Adventure -Guaranteed!

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productCheck-in, gear fitting and board the boatDuration: 30 minutesLocation: Honokohau Marina & Small Boat Harbor, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HawaiiManta Ray snorkel, boat rideDuration: 2 hoursLocation: Hang Loose Boat Tours, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii