Best Things to See and Do on Hawaii’s Big Island

King Kamehameha, Big Island, Hawaii, Nancy D. Brown, travel
Come to Hawaii’s Big Island, Get Your Picture Taken with King Kamehameha

My favorite tips and locations for the Big Island in Hawaii.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! (HVNP)

When I crave Big Island cuisine, I turn to Hilo Farmers Market.

To escape work I go to  Kalapana. I like the Hawaiian Lava Daily blog for what’s currently happening with the lava flow. The official site is the County of Hawaii site.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at Waianuhea Inn in Honokaaa.

If you come to the Kohala Coast, get your picture taken by the plume coming from Halemaumau Crater, or the black sand beach at Kalapana or the King Kamehameha statue in Kapaau.

If you have to order one thing off the menu at Hilo Bay Cafe, get the Blue Bay Burger.

The Kohala Coast is my one stop shop for adventure. On my recent visit I swam with dolphins and sea turtles, went horseback riding, took a helicopter ride over lava flows and watched my friends go zip-lining!

Hawaii Paso Finos, horseback riding, Nancy D. Brown, travel, Hawaii, Big Island
Go on a horseback riding vacation on Hawaii’s Big Island

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Café 100.

For a huge splurge, I go to Monette’s at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Photo ops on the Big Island include HVNP, sunsets on the Kohala Coast, boats and giant cleats on Kailua Pier, Ahuena Heiau, the Puna coastline, Hapuna Beach, Puukohola Heiau, the pastures and ranches of Waimea and sunsets at Mauna Kea summit.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mauna Kea.

The most random thing about the Kohala Coast is the Kona Coffee & Cultural Festival – this is its 40th year.

On the Big Island, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, HVNP, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins and sea turtles or surfing.

My favorite walking route is the Ala Kahakai Trail along the Kohala Coast or Queen Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.

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The Big Island’s best museums are Imiloa Astronomy Center and Lyman Museum.

Kona Village, luau, hula dancers, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel
Kona Village for an authentic Hawaiian Luau

For a night of dancing, go to Lulu’s in Kona.

Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read the  Hawaii Tribune Herald –Saturday section has the Calendar of Events. West Hawaii Today and Big Island Weekly, as well.

You can tell a lot about Hawaii’s Big Island from visiting the Kohala Coast
and watching Outrigger canoe racing events.

In the spring you should attend Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, if you can get tickets!

In the summer you should attend Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Races in Kona and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona.

In the fall you should visit Kona coffee country.

In the winter you should go to Mauna Kea. The volcano could be covered in snow!

Mauna Lani Resort, Love Pond, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel
Hidden gem on Hawaii’s Big Island is the Love Pond at Mauna Lani Resort

A hidden gem on the Kohala Coast is Love Pond at the Mauna Lani Resort.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to the Island Lava Java on Alii Drive in Kona

In Hilo you can visit Rainbow Falls or Akaka Falls, just outside of Hilo. Have lunch at the Hilo Bay Café, or What’s Shakin’ in Pepeekeo.

The best way to see the Kohala Coast is by car and helicopter.  You are able to walk around in Hilo and Kona, but to get around the island, you gotta have a car.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss: going to Hapuna Beach State Park or to Imiloa Astronomy Center.

What are your favorite things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island?

Lava flow, Hawaii's Big Island, Hawaii, Kohana Coast, Nancy D. Brown, travel
Take a helicopter ride over Hawaii’s Kohala Coast and flowing lava

Thanks to Big Island Visitors Bureau and Jessica Ferracane of Irondog Communications for assistance with this post. You may also follow the Hawaiian Island on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of Hawaii. I was a guest of Big Island Visitors Bureau. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

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Related Posts:

Best Things to See and Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Horseback Riding Vacation on Kohala Coast, Hawaii


3 thoughts on “Best Things to See and Do on Hawaii’s Big Island”

  1. For a truly enjoyable afternoon in Kona, we go to Kona Canoe Club for their ‘Fish & Chips’ and fabulous Mai Tais. Eat on their outside deck overlooking the cove and ocean and watch the locals paddle-boarding or rowing and enjoy good food and service.

    p.s. Enjoyed talking to you on the return flight home.

  2. Your list is great! I would love to try your list of the best things to do and see on Hawaiis-big-island. The pictures are beautiful. Maybe i would try Kohala coast first and then i would go to Cafe 100 just to be sure i will be able to stay longer in this beautiful island.

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