Out of all of the Hawaiian Islands that we have been to the Island of Hawaii aka the Big Island is my personal favorite. I keep joking with Karen that I want to move there, and if we had the money or a job lined up I am sure it would be more than a running joke. The Big Island to me had everything I was looking for in a tropical escape; lots of land to see, scenic beaches, wonderful snorkeling, incredible geological areas, and a lot less crowded then other islands that we have been to. As of right now there is just the dream and hopefully the occasional vacation, but maybe someday I can the Big Island at the very least a temporary home. The Big Island has lots of great things to see and do, but here is my list of the top ten things to do on the Big Island.
Top Ten Things to do on the Big Island
10. Waipi’o Valley
Waipi’o Valley overlook is beautiful and breathtaking and if you can get down into the valley it just gets better, however that is the difficult part. The road down to the valley floor is extremely steep and narrow regular cars are not allowed because you will not make it. Luckily there are a few tours to take you there if you do not want to shell out the money for the right vehicle that will take you down and back.
9. Makaiwa Bay
Makaiwa Bay is an excellent snorkel spot that is within the Mauna Lani Resort area. Makaiwa Bay is a small beach area, but that can be a good thing because it helps keep the crowds down. Another wonderful part about this bay is the beautiful grounds that are by it including the fascinating ancient Makaiwa Bay Fish Ponds. The bay and walk to it from the parking area is well worth the time and effort to get to this wonderful beach.
8. Pu’uhonau o Honaunau National Historical Park
Pu’uhonau o Honaunau National Historical Park has a very interesting story because it was the place of refuge. In ancient Hawaiian culture, if a person broke kapu (laws) they then could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place. The offender would be absolved by a priest and then allowed to go. This historical park has several restored buildings, wooden images of gods, a great wall, and a sacred temple and it is a wonderful place to learn by the history of the Hawaiian people.
7. Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park is home to two waterfalls the larger one Akaka Falls is over 400 feet tall and Kahuna Falls is around 100 feet. There is a short trail through a lush rainforest that will take you to both waterfalls. It is a quick trip through the park to see both waterfalls and it does have a fee, but it is definitely worth every penny.
6. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach sits on the southern end of the Big Island and is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii. Why is it so famous? Well, besides the beautiful jet black sand that is a very striking to the eye there is also a very good chance you will see several green sea turtles getting some sun on the beach. Black sand and sea turtles makes this beach a must see.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Where else can you get the chance to see land that is younger then you? Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will give you that opportunity which is a pretty awe-inspiring sight. There are many things to do here including hiking the wonderful Kilauea Iki Trail, walk into a lava tube, and if you are lucky get to see lava flow into the ocean.
4. Pololu Valley
Polulu Valley is a beautiful scenic valley that is a lot more accessible than the Waipi’o Valley which is why it is lot higher on my list. It has wonderful views from the top of the trail and if you are in reasonable shape then the hike down is worth the effort because the views just get better the farther you go. At the bottom of the trail there is a black pebbly sand beach.
3. Honaunau Bay aka “Two Step”
Honaunau Bay is an excellent snorkel area that gets its nickname “Two Steps” from the short cliff that one has to step down from to get into the water. It can be a little tricky, and if you a little apprehensive about getting in just watch somebody else before you try. Because there is very little beach and a short hop into the water instead of walking in the water is a little deeper here which helps protect the coral from people stepping on it or kicking it with their flippers. There is also a great variety of fish to see because this bay has a deep channel not far from shore so many pelagic fish are also in the area which makes for some wonderful snorkeling opportunities.
2. Mauna Kea Beach
Mauna Kea is the ideal beach clear water, white sand, good snorkeling during the summer and fun waves during the winter. Since it is such a wonderful beach it can be hard to find parking so arrive early and see one of the best beaches Hawaii has to offer.
1. Mauna Kea Summit
Breathtaking and that could be taken literally since the summit is at 13,796 feet. The sunset from the top of the world is once in a lifetime experience, but the stargazing from the most isolated spot on the planet is a close second. Just remember to bring some warm clothes with you because even though you are in Hawaii it is going to go cold that high up, but it sure is worth braving the cold to see such a beautiful sight.
Hope you enjoyed our list of the top ten things to do on the Big Island. Is there anything that you think we left off or if you disagree with our top 1o sound off by leaving a comment. Happy Travels!