Must-see attractions in Hawaiʻi the Big Island

  • Smoke plumes from the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.


    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    Kilauea volcano lies at the center of activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The unassuming bump on Mauna Loa's southeast flank would be easily…

  • Gemini North Observatory on top of Mauna Kea mountain peak on Big Island of Hawaii, United States with deep blue sky and volcanic landscape.

    Mauna Kea's Summit Area


    At 13,796ft in the air, you are above 40% of the atmosphere and 90% of its water vapor – apparently perfect conditions for growing the giant mushroom-like…

  • Makalawena Beach on Big Island Hawaii, USA, a beautiful remote white sand beach and turquoise water.; Shutterstock ID 1583199166; your: Sloane Tucker; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI

    Makalawena Beach

    Kona Coast

    If what you're after is an almost deserted, postcard-perfect scoop of soft, white-sand beach cupping brilliant blue-green waters, head to 'Maks.' Although…

  • Maniniowali Beach - Kua Bay, Big Island, Hawaii; Shutterstock ID 1467691745; purchase_order: 65050; job: ; client: ; other:

    Kua Bay

    Kona Coast

    This sublime crescent-shaped white-sand beach is fronted by sparkling waters in alternating bands of pale cyan, deeper turquoise, and rich blue. Kua Bay…

  • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    Even among Hawaii's many wonders, this national park stands out. Its two active volcanoes testify to the ongoing birth of the islands: quiet Mauna Loa (13…

  • Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii
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    Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

    South Kohala

    Hapuna Beach is world famous for its magnificent half-mile sweep of white powder sand and fabulously clear waters. In summer, waves are calm and allow…

  • Kilauea crater fumarole expelling fumes.
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    Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    The original Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook off Crater Rim Dr was closed in 2008 due to volcanic activity and the very real threat of death. For the next decade,…

  • Punaluu Black Sand Beach, a beach in the southeastern part of the Hawaiian coast of Kau
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    Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach Park

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    Beyond the nearly omnipresent green sea turtles basking in the sun, or the rare hawksbill turtles that lay their eggs here (be careful where you walk),…

  • The ruins of the major Hawaiian temple at the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Big Island, Hawaii
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    Puʻukohola Heiau National Historic Site

    South Kohala

    By 1790 Kamehameha the Great had conquered Maui, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi. But power over his home island of Hawaiʻi was a challenge. When told by a prophet…

  • A thatched canoe house in Kaloko-Honokokau National Historical Park.
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    Honokohau Beach

    Kona Coast

    The water is usually too cloudy for snorkeling at this beautiful hook-shaped beach with a mix of black lava, white coral and wave-tossed shells, but just…

  • Petroglyphs in lava rock at Pu'uloa along Chain of Craters road, in the Volcanoes National Park.
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    Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs

    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    The gentle, 1.3-mile round-trip to Puʻu Loa (roughly, 'hill of long life') leads to one of Hawaiʻi's largest concentrations of ancient petroglyphs, some…

  • United States, Hawaii, Big Island,

    Magic Sands Beach


    About 4 miles south of central Kailua-Kona, this small beach (also called White Sands and, officially, Laʻaloa Beach) has turquoise water, great sunsets,…

  • Liliuokalani Park,  Hilo, East Coast.

    Liliʻuokalani Park


    Arguably Hilo's most beautiful spot, these sprawling Japanese gardens are perfect for picnicking. Named for Hawaii's last queen (r 1891–93), the 30-acre…

  • Akaka Falls, Hamakua Coast, Waimea Reagion.

    ʻAkaka Falls State Park

    Hamakua Coast

    The island's best ‘tourist waterfall’ is found at this outstanding, family-friendly park. Walk the paved path counterclockwise, on a loop that traverses…

  • This is a shot of the Kilauea Volcano from the Kilauea Overlook in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this is a panoramic shot of the caldera of the large Volcano on the south side of The Big Island of Hawaii

    Kilauea Iki Overlook

    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    When 'Little Kilauea' burst open in a fiery inferno in November 1959, it filled the crater with a roiling lake of molten rock fed by a 1900ft fountain…

  • White dry wood branches reaching lava rocks at Beach 69, Waialea, Big Island, hawaii
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    Beach 69

    South Kohala

    This lovely powdering of white sand is a local favorite but remains somewhat off the tourist radar. Both family-friendly and gay-friendly, its calm,…

  • Hawaii, the Big Island, Mauna Kea Beach
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    Mauna Kea Beach

    South Kohala

    Crescent-shaped Kaunaʻoa Bay (nicknamed 'Mauna Kea Beach' after Rockefeller built his landmark hotel on it) is blanketed in powdery white sand, with clear…

  • Lush tropical vegetation of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden of Big Island of Hawaii, USA
hawaii tropical botanical garden

    Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

    Hamakua Coast

    A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this rainforest garden is beautifully situated by the ocean and superbly managed. A paved trail meanders through over 2000…

  • HILO, HAWAII/U.S.A. - MAY 22, 2019: Photo of unidentified people enjoying the Richardson Beach Park, located on the east coast of the Big Island.
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    Richardson's Ocean Park


    Near the end of Kalanianaʻole Ave, this little pocket of black sand is a favorite all-round beach. When calm, the protected waters are popular for…

  • Big Island coastline, as seen from the Waipi'o Valley Lookout.
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    Waipiʻo Valley Lookout

    Hamakua Coast

    Located at the end of Hwy 240, this lookout offers a jaw-dropping view of Waipi‘o's emerald amphitheater, black-sand beach and pounding surf. Feast your…

  • Kilauea Visitor Center & Museum

    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    Stop here first on your visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Extraordinarily helpful (and remarkably patient) rangers and volunteers can advise you…

  • Mauʻumae Beach

    South Kohala

    What’s not to love about Mauʻumae (pronounced Mao-oo-my)? It has white sand, teal water, shady trees and protected waters – and is even more private than…

  • Kahuku Unit

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    Kahuku Unit's six hiking trails that lead through green pastures to volcanic cinder cones, lava tree molds, rainforests and lava flows come alive during…

  • Green sand beach is located near South Point on the island of Hawaii. It is one of the only four green sand beaches in the world.

    Green Sand Beach

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    This legendary beach on Mahana Bay isn't really that green, but it is a rare and beautiful sight. Its color comes from crystals of olivine, the mineral…

  • Shot in Hawaii on Big Island at Ka Lae the southermostpoint in all USA
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    Ka Lae

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    Ka Lae, the southernmost point of the Big Island, feels palpably unwelcoming, yet hauntingly peaceful. It is mostly an empty grassland fringed by restless…

  • At 13,020 ft. one of the highest freshwater lakes in the USA.
lake waiau

    Lake Waiʻau


    On an island with a conspicuous dearth of surface water, tiny Lake Waiʻau's existence on a porous lava mountain is something of an enigma. Hawaiian…

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    Kehena Beach


    If any place captures the vibe of Puna, it's this beautiful black-sand beach tucked beneath a cliff where all walks of life – hippies, Hawaiians, gays,…

  • Surfer on the beach and the Na Pali Coast seen from Ke'e beach, Ha'ena, Kauai, Hawaii
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    Ha'ena Beach


    If you believe paradise is sweetest when earned, trek out to this pristine, postcard-worthy black and white sand beach in a protected cove on the Shipman…

  • HILO, HAWAII - SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 - Pacific tsunami museum in Hilo on September 8, 2011 in Hilo, Hawaii. Museum is dedicated to history of April 1, 1946 Pacific Tsunami which devastated much of Hilo.
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    Pacific Tsunami Museum


    You cannot understand Hilo without knowing its history as a two-time tsunami survivor (1946 and 1960). This museum encompasses only a few rooms, but they…

  • Paliʻokulani Overlook

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    Be sure to get your bearings at the Hwy 11 viewpoint perched on a 1907 lava flow. Commanding views take in Paliʻokulani, the ragged cliff edge jutting out…

  • Kaʻu Coffee Mill

    Hawaiʻi the Big Island

    This down-to-earth, someday-to-be hydro-powered coffee farm roasts its own award-winning beans – the wonderful aroma floors you – which some connoisseurs…

  • Onekahakaha Beach Park


    Ideal for kids, this spacious beach has a broad, shallow, sandy-bottomed pool, protected by a boulder breakwater. The water is only 1ft to 2ft deep in…

  • Makuʻu Farmers Market


    Follow the line of cars turning off Hwy 130 every Sunday morning for this large, festive and diverse farmers market. Offerings include psychic readings,…

  • Kiholo State Park Reserve

    Kona Coast

    With its pristine turquoise waters and shoreline fringed with coconut trees, Kiholo Bay is an off-the-beaten-track Big Island beauty. It’s more of a…

  • The smoking crater of the volcano Mauna Loa on Big Island, Hawaiian archipelago, in Volcanoes National Park, after the eruption of lava in the summer of 2018, from the air

    Mauna Loa

    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

    The world's largest subaerial (above water) volcano, Mauna Loa (Long Mountain) is so massive that you feel its presence more than see it. Even when it…

  • 26467-54
Big Island, Hawaii, Kailua-Kona, North America, United States
Surfer at Kahalu'u Beach Park, Kailua Kona.

    Kahaluʻu Beach Park

    Kona Coast

    Whether young or old, triathlete or couch potato, everyone appreciates the island's most easy-to-access (and admittedly busy) snorkeling spot. Protected…

  • Green Sea Turtle at Kaloko-Hono Kohan National Historical Park, Kailua Kona.

    Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

    Kona Coast

    Just north of Honokohau Harbor, on the ocean side of Hwy 19, this 1160-acre national park may be the Kona Coast's most underappreciated ancient Hawaiian…

  • Going for a cruise, Anaeho'omalu Bay Beach Park, South Kohala

    ʻAnaehoʻomalu Beach Park

    South Kohala

    Don't worry about that tongue twister of an official name; everyone on the island calls this beach 'A Bay.' 'A-plus' is another way of putting it: this…

  • Moʻokini Heiau

    North Kohala

    It's off the beaten path, but this heiau (temple), near ʻUpolu Point at Hawaiʻi's northernmost tip, is among the oldest (c AD 480) and most historically…

  • Kekaha Kai State Park
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    Kekaha Kai State Park

    Kona Coast

    The gorgeous beaches of Kekaha Kai are all the more memorable for being tucked on the far side of a vast desert of unforgiving black lava. This 1600-acre…

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