Must See and Do on The Big Island

Author: jason eisert
Updated: January 18, 2022
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Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to embark on a journey to one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet? I'm talking about none other than The Big Island - Hawaii's land of breathtaking beauty and endless adventure. From its pristine beaches and rugged terrain to its magnificent waterfalls and fiery volcanoes, you'll be blown away by what this island paradise has to offer. So, if you're planning a trip to The Big Island, buckle up and get ready to experience the best of the best. Here's your ultimate guide on the must-see and do activities that will make your Hawaiian vacation unforgettable.

Must-See Wonders On The Big Island

By: Jason Eisert

Waimea and The Saddle

Waimea lies east of the more volcanically-looking Kohala coast. This area is unique among other places on the Big Island. Paniolo is Hawaiian for "cowboy". This small country town has many amenities, including breweries, food trucks, and cowboys from Hawaii. Waimea, located at 3000 ft. is near the Waipi'o Valley's most impressive hikes.

The rolling green hills surrounding this small town are home to many cows and other animals. A number of ranches offer the opportunity to visit the pastures that offer spectacular views of Waimea's coastline and surrounding volcanoes.

Hilo Side

Although Kona lacks greenery, you will find it abundant on the Hilo-side. Hilo is blessed with a tropical paradise because it receives about 140 inches annually of rain. Hilo boasts breathtaking waterfalls that tower above large green valleys. This is one of the most spectacular sights you've seen.

Volcanoes & The Twin Sisters

Five volcanoes form the Big Island. Kohala on the north side is the oldest. Mauna Kea came next followed by Hualalai Mauna Loa then Kilauea.

The Twin Sisters, the tallest mountains, rise above 13,000 feet from sea level. This is what you'll be able to see on clear days. Mauna Kea rises to 13,976ft, making it the highest mountain in the world from the base. Mauna Loa has a shorter height but is still much wider.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

This spectacular national park is one of the main draws to Big Island. This is where Madame Pele resides, right in the middle of Kilauea Volcano. After the disastrous eruptions in 2018, the Park was opened to great fanfare. These sacred sites offer breathtaking views that are unrivaled anywhere else on Earth. Standing on the vast lava plains, one can feel as though they are on the primordial Earth's surface.

Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea was the most visited volcano in the world, and it is still quiet today after one of the longest-running eruptions of human history. The volcano, which is the home of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele, has greatly increased the Big Island's area and added land. It is possible to view this remarkable geological wonder by helicopter. The scenery changes constantly here as the trails are absorbed and new black-sand beaches emerge.

Big Island Activities

There's so much on the Big Island to see and do, it's almost impossible for you to do everything. You will find many activities that are popular, such as snorkeling or deep-sea and scuba diving. One of the most memorable activities is visiting the volcano from the air and exploring the island via a helicopter. You might also enjoy kayaking, horseback riding or boat trips, whale-watching, and snow-skiing. We highly recommend taking a tour of the volcano on foot or in an airplane if you have limited time.

Sometimes it's cheaper to book the activity directly with each provider, but that is not always true. You won't find many opportunities to book while you are out and about. It's better to prearrange ahead of your arrival.

Beautiful Beaches & Sights

The Big Island may be known as an island without beaches. That is not the case. In the past, the Big Island didn't have access to some beautiful beaches. Although this Island may have fewer urban beaches than other islands in Hawaii, there are many options along the Kohala Coast.

There are many beaches on the big island, including white sands and golden sands as well as black sands and mixed-sands. The photo of Punaluu Beach, in the southern half of the island, is the one you see above. Hapuna Beach, located near Mauna Kea Resort on the Kohala Coast in the southern part of the island, is commonly ranked as one of the best beaches.

Surfing is the most important element to take into consideration when visiting Hawaiian beaches. It is generally more calm on the west side of the island. However, some tourists aren't prepared for the strength and force of the Pacific. Visitors should avoid any beaches without consulting local lifeguards.

Golf on The Big Island

The Big Island is the best spot in Hawaii to play exclusively golf. You will find some of the best courses in the world here. The greens often break into the sea even when the course is viewed uphill. Warm air and low winds make the morning perfect.

The Kohala Coast hosts the best golf courses. Two courses can be found on Mauna Kea. These are the Mauna Kea Golf Couse, and the Hapuna Golf Golf Course. The Mauna Lani Resort also offers the North Course and South Courses. Waikoloa Kings or Waikoloa Beach Kings are found further south in Waikoloa. Waikoloa is another option.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at the Big Island

You can find scuba paradise on the Big Island, whether you are a certified diver or a beginner. Calm waters are the norm in Kona, as they are generally protected from wind and the swells of the ocean. Warm water is found here. It averages 75°F at its coldest (February) and 82°F at its warmest (October). It's not unusual to have visibility up to 100 feet!

You have the option to boat or short-distance dive. Most boats depart from Kailua Pier, Honokohau Harbor. A typical dive will consist of two tanks and two sites. Prices vary depending on the amount of gear you need. The Big Island doesn't have a decompression chamber so it is important to not fly after a dive. It is important to avoid driving or going to places within 24 hours of your dive. Many of the mountains are over 13,000 feet. When planning your scuba diving or mountain adventure, keep this in mind.

Families traveling with kids will love snorkeling. And the Big Island is the perfect place to take your children. With over 600 species, the Big Island has an amazing variety of fish. Renting snorkel and masks is possible if you don’t have your own.

Fish shouldn't be fed as it can lead to unnatural behaviors and could attract more fish. Keep calm so you don't disturb the fish. And be patient! Fish are naturally curious and will eventually get to know you.

Fishing in Hawaii's Big Island

Kona is known as a place for big game and deep-sea fishing. As the waters off Kona Coast drop to great depths it provides a sanctuary for large fish. Marlin weighs in at over 1000lbs and is one of the most talked-about fish. Ono, also known simply as wahoo and a very large fish, is another favorite. Mahi-mahi is also plentiful, as well Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna).

Fish can be found all year round on the Big Island. However, summer is when they are most common. The Honokohau Harbor is the main port of call for most boats. It's located just north of Kona. You can search for specific fish by contacting your captain. Most boats aren't interested in catching any particular fish and instead will trot for anything they can find. Check with your captain about whether you are allowed to bring your own food or beverages.

Helicopter tours of the Big Island

There are many beautiful areas on the Big Island that can only be reached by air. Helicopters can provide a safe and enjoyable flight experience. It will be hard not to be amazed by the huge volcanic activity combined with the beautiful tropical foliage and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. However, early morning tours make the most sense, but there are many trips available throughout the day.

Hiking on Hawaii’s Big Island

The Big Island offers a wide range of hiking opportunities that suit all skill levels. There's something to do on the Big Island, whether you want a walk in the rain forest or a hike up a volcano.

Hiking sandals and light trail shoes are fine depending on where your plan to hike. If you're planning to visit volcanoes we recommend shoes that can withstand the sometimes-jagged lava rocks and muddy conditions. These are temporary options that you can buy at most shops or Costco if your essentials have been forgotten.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has the best hiking opportunities on the Big Island. On the island, you'll find hiking opportunities for all abilities.

We hope this gives you a good idea of some of the great things you can experience on the Big Island of Hawaii while you stay at Kailua Kona Estate.

Hope to see you soon, 


jason eisert is a travel blogger with the passion for adventure and exotic food.
Creating extraordinary vacation experiences for everyone in Kona, Hawaii, USA.
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