Big Island Attractions

The Big Island of Hawaii is an island of endless adventure. When arriving on the island, you will either arrive on the west side in Kona, or on the east side of the island in Hilo. As soon as you walk off the plane, you will be greeted with the sweet fragrance of the islands tropical flowers and the smell of the ocean breeze. No matter where you arrive, your adventure will begin immediately just by taking in the beauty of the island with views of hills, volcanoes, and the ocean.

The island’s beauty in itself, with the palm trees, coconut trees, sweet smells of the tropical flowers, and crystal clear waters will entice you on an adventure of a lifetime. The Big Island is a place of mystery, with still many acres of land left untouched as if time has stood still, but don’t be disappointed. There are many areas of the island that are accessible by vehicle or foot that will leave lasting impressions on your mind.

The Big Island is the only island where you can experience various attractions that are all different and special in their own ways. There are no similarities among the different places that you can visit on the island. These differences are seen in the weather, the terrain, the vegetation, and the commercial development. Each region on The Big Island has a special gift to offer you. There is no other island where you can play with snow and swim under the bright warm sun of the blue ocean all in one day.

No matter which side of the island you plan on arriving at, you have the freedom to set out and experience the entire island very easily. Plan on staying for a while on The Big Island so you can be at ease with the slow pace of the island and experience some of the most famous attractions in Hawaii. The places that you will visit will instantly bring you at peace as you are embraced with the wonderful, natural creations of the island that have been untouched by human hands.

The Big Island, as you will notice from the attractions you visit, is very dedicated to preserving the Native Hawaiian culture in one of the most basic ways – caring for the land. Each place has a history or story of its own attached to it. Enjoy your stay. Embrace the beauty. Respect the land. Let your heart and mind remain at ease as you experience a place like no other.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

When planning your trip to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, allow yourself one full day to enjoy all that it has to offer with the world’s most active volcano. You will have a chance to view old lava flows, as well as the continuous flow from Kilauea Volcano. Stop at the visitor center, become acquainted with the area, grab a map, and you are ready for a fascinating experience. From the high elevation of the park where it is cool with its misty rain, you will also be able to follow the lava flow down to the sea where it is extremely sunny and hot. This attraction allows you to experience both the ancient land and the new land formed by the lava flow of Kilauea Volcano. You will see its destruction and its beautiful new creations when you visit this national park.

Waipio Valley

Located along the Hamakua Coast is Waipio Valley in the small town of Honokaa. Even if you stop here and just stay at the Waipio lookout or be adventurous and travel down to the bottom of the valley either by a tour or on your own, you will be mesmerized. This valley has held on to the Native Hawaiian culture by practicing the farming of ancient times with natural resources. There are still residents in the area the live a simple life still farming the land with taro, which is one of the staples in the Hawaiian diet. You never know what the weather will be like there, but it is very windy at the top of the valley in comparison to the humid and warm area at the base of the valley that opens up to the sea. The vastness of the valley will astound you. It will simply take your breath away.

Kohala Coast Petroglyphs

One of the most fascinating adventures you can take through time on The Big Island is viewing of the petroglyphs that have been well-preserved in the region of South Kohala. These petroglyphs are in a preservation area to protect it from being destroyed and to keep it in its natural form, but you will be able to have a great view and even come close to the markings left behind by the great ancestors of the Native Hawaiian people. There is no other place in Hawaii where you can experience this many petroglyphs in one place. The preservation area is made accessible to visitors and residents as a reminder of the old and what was important then, and what still should be important today.

Mauna Kea

The largest mountain in the world measured from its base to its summit is a dormant volcano. Due to its location and elevation of Mauna Kea, it is home to the world’s scientists that study astronomy. Mauna Kea is easy to see from almost anywhere on the island. Its vast stature is inviting. Depending on the time of year you visit The Big Island you may not only experience its power and remnants of volcanic activity, but also its wintery snow. This is the only island where you can experience this. You are not left on your own, as there is a visitor center to guide you on this great attraction in Hawaii either by foot or 4-wheel drive.

Akaka Falls State Park

The most beautiful and highest waterfall in Hawaii can be found on The Big Island. Akaka Falls State Park sits minutes away from the town of Hilo along the Hamakua Coast. The area has a few residents and a small store, but there is no large development in this area to take away from its natural beauty. It is mainly agricultural.  This is a great attraction to either begin your day exploring the island or a nice, relaxing stop to end your day’s travels as you drive back to Hilo. The power of the waterfall is surrounded by much of the vegetation that can be seen around the island. Due to its moist location, tropical trees and plants flourish in this area. This is truly a place that is untouched by time.

Parker Ranch

Right in the middle of the two main towns on the island, in the heart of Waimea town, is Parker Ranch. In fact, Parker Ranch is basically the town with the thousands of acres it owns in the area. Although a small town, it is very industrialized offering you a variety of options to experience ancient Hawaii and modern Hawaii in one place. The area is largely “cattle country” and you will see many cowboys in the town. Arriving in Waimea is like you crossed to another place. You will learn about the history of Parker Ranch and what it has given to the community and learn about the ways of the early Hawaiian cowboys. This is a nice town to spend the sometime exploring the museums and locally owned stores.

Dolphin Quest

Who doesn’t love the cute face of a dolphin? If you ever dreamed of swimming alongside these beautiful creatures of the sea, Dolphin Quest can make this dream into a reality. You will have the opportunity to learn about the behavior of dolphins and enjoy time swimming with them in a comfortable and safe environment managed by professional marine life trainers. Your entire family can experience this special treat, as there are sessions for anyone ages two to adult. As this adventure sits on the South Kohala Coast, you can also enjoy a fun day at the beach as this area of the island is mostly adorned with beautiful clear blue skies all year round.