What to Do on the Island of Hawaii
Collected by Andrea Rip, AFAR Local Expert
Kalapana - Kapoho Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778, USA
Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. Her power still holds the imagination of people in Hawaii today as legends suggest that taking rocks from her home on the island of Hawaii will lead to bad luck. She is said to...
96-2694 Wood Valley Rd, Pahala, HI 96777, USA
The region of Ka’u is so quiet and relatively unhurried that you’ll think you are on another planet, and with good reason. The least populated district in all of Hawai’i, it is a stone’s throw away from sunny Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Ka’u...
78-6772 Makenawai St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
For a rare and wonderfully crafted chocolate experience on the Big Island, visitors who book a tour of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Farm will learn about the chocolate making process from growing and harvesting to packaging. Only offered on...
82-1140 Meli Road #102, Captain Cook, HI 96704, USA
Instead of purchasing some Big Island Bees Honey up the road at a coffee farm, I decided to make the trip directly to Big Island Bees. It was late in the afternoon and Kevin was the only staff person around when I encountered the extremely well...
S Point Rd, Naalehu, HI 96772, USA
In April 2011, I arrived on the Big Island, Hawai'i, which is known to have at least 10 different microclimates all within its 4,028 square miles. I spent two weeks backpacking and hitchhiking through a variety of terrains and beaches, including...
Papakolea Point, South Kona, HI 96704, USA
Where else but on the Big Island of Hawaii can you swim in what used to be a volcano cinder cone? The olivine crystal is the remains of a cinder cone which was an extension of Mauna Loa. Visitors desiring to enjoy a great hike will enjoy rolling...
Kīlauea Crater, Hawaii 96778, USA
The highlight of Volcanoes National Park is the Kilauea Crater. Nothing beats seeing the glow from the active crater at night—well, maybe the prospect of seeing a new explosive eruption. There are a couple of other lava flow viewing areas in the...
48-5561A Waipio Valley Rd, Honokaa, HI 96727, USA
There are few places in the islands that offer such complete isolation alongside such crazy surf and wild terrain as Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island. While most tourist make the drive to the lookout, few venture down the narrow, winding (only...
865 Piilani St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
An annual event that you won’t want to miss on Hawaii Island is the Merrie Monarch Festival. The best hula halau (groups or schools of hula) in Hawaii gather for an internationally acclaimed competition for a week of remarkable performances...
Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii 96778, USA
There are numerous sites to explore within Volcanoes National Park, but the Thurston Lava Tube is certainly one of the most dramatic. Located at stop #6, exploring the tube is an easy half-hour walk to and through the extinct lava conduit.
40 Rainbow Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Just outside of Hilo is one of the Big Island's beautiful waterfalls. Rainbow Falls is a pretty sight, particularly when the sun is shining and its rainbow is shimmering in the mist. The rainbow is out on most days, so chances are that you will...
177 Makaala St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Winter snow can frost the tallest peak in Hawaii, technically measuring 13,800 feet. In fact, Mauna Kea holds the world record at 33,500 feet tall when measured from its submerged base to its summit (compared with Everest's 29,000 feet)! The...
78-6831 Alii Dr #144, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Floating on the ocean at night while holding onto a raft that is shooting powerful beams of light into the blackness below sounds, well, insane. And it is. It's insane, and unnerving, and exhilarating, and—and then you see them. Manta rays....
Captain Cook, HI 96704, USA
Below the flanks of Mauna Loa lays Kealakekua Bay. The waters are typically clear, snorkeling is at its best in the marine sanctuary, and the surrounding area still holds historical significance for the earliest island inhabitants and the early...
84-5140 Painted Church Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704, USA
In between coffee farms, overlooking the idyllic Kelakekua Bay, sits the quaint, country church of St. Benedict’s—full of a distinctly colorful history. Built up in 1899, the church still serves parishioners on the slopes of Mauna Loa within...
130 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
If you visit Hilo, Puna, and the Hamakua regions of the Big Island, you’ll undoubtedly experience a bit of rain which keeps the windward coast lush and green—and full of rainbows (tip: if you’re desperate for sun, it can usually be found on the...
31-313 Old Mamalahoa Hwy, Hakalau, HI 96710, USA
Breezy, with beautiful scenery, drifting over valleys and tropical forests by zipline is an unconventional way to see the Big Island’s green landscape. Flirting with glistening waterfalls and slicing the air just above treetop adds a rush of...
329 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Hilo and the surrounding communities on the windward side of the Big Island are wealthy in art and inspired small creative businesses. To absorb the artsy atmosphere and celebrate an Aloha Friday, make your way to downtown Hilo where the...