Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, attracts tourists from all over the world, but the Big Island feels like it’s far from the world, with fewer crowds and lots of natural treasures to discover.
The largest island in the United States covers an area of 10,432 square kilometers and is officially known as the Big Island of Hawaii. It features black lava beaches, plunging waterfalls, friendly locals, gorgeous beaches, and unique marine life. Here are some of the best places to visit on the Big Island.
A glimpse of the lava
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which stretches from above sea level to the summits of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes, is over 4000 meters above sea level. Located in the southeastern part of the island, this UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area of 1,309,000 square kilometers.
Discover unique geological, biological, and rich cultural landscapes in the International Biosphere Reserve. Take a boat tour along the coast and marvel at the lava flowing down the ocean. Conquer the Crater Rim Trail and stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about some of this fascinating world.
Get closer to the stars with Mauna Kea
Visit Mauna Kea, the highest mountain in the world. From the base to the summit, this dormant volcano is about 10,210 meters and is the second highest mountain on the planet. It is mainly used as an astronomical observation site and is the best place to see the starry sky. Take a guided tour above the clouds and feel like you’re on another planet.
Swim with green Hawaiian sea turtles
Want to meet intimate green Hawaiian sea turtles? On Big Island, these fascinating creatures are swimming in the ocean. Carlsmith Beach Park is a family-friendly beach near the town of Hilo that offers the perfect day in Hawaii.
Turtles are very friendly and you can often see them enjoying the shallows and feeding. Even if the turtle approaches by snorkeling or swimming, the endangered species are vulnerable to human bacteria and should not be touched. Really a natural sight.
Discover rare and unique flora and fauna
The Hawaii Tropical Bio Reserve and Garden is a must-see during your stay on the Big Island. Located in Papaikou, discover more than 2500 tropical and subtropical plants. Stroll through the stunning rainforest and admire the lush vegetation and beautiful waterfalls. The magical part of the island fascinates nature lovers and gardeners around the world.
Go beach hopping along the Kona Coast
The Kona Coast is famous for being one of the sunniest places on the Big Island, with plenty of stunning beaches. From shiny white sands and clear turquoise waters to beaches that are only accessible from hiking trails and lava mountains. Be captivated by the atmosphere of coral reefs, turtles, sea urchins, dolphins, swaying palm trees, and tropical beaches.
Taste fresh ingredients at the Hiro Farmers Market
Big Island is full of fresh, locally produced produce. From giant juicy pineapples to perfectly ripe avocados to delicious mangoes. The Hiro Farmers Market is the perfect place to buy this amazing food. You can find over 200 vendors consisting of local farmers, food trucks, artisans, artisans, and more. Open 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, there are big market days on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Hopping a waterfall
If you like waterfalls, the Big Island will surely impress you. Discover a picturesque waterfall assortment along the heavenly Hamakua coast or head to the Kohala region. Be sure to visit Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls in Akaka Falls State Park, which are truly awe-inspiring. Admire Rainbow Falls and Pee Pee Falls, or pay a small admission fee to visit The Umauma Falls or Crania Pier Falls.
Meet the locals in Pahoa
Famous as the hippie capital of the Big Island, Pahoa is full of a laid-back atmosphere, 100-year-old historic buildings, and lush landscapes. Step into a Wild West-style building, visit the Maku Farmers Market or explore the black sand beaches of Isaac Hale Beach Park.
Snorkel and tropical fish spots
Go snorkeling across the shiny white and jet-black beaches. Big Island has some of the best snorkeling spots on the Hawaiian Islands. On the Kona side of the island, there are many great spots to explore the wonderlands of the sea. There is a protected volcanic bay where coral and coral reef fish thrive. If you’re adventurous, you can also try Manta Ray Night Snorkeling!
Visit the green sandy beach
There are pearly white beaches and volcanic black beaches, and Big Island also has green beaches. With only four green sands in the world, Papakolea Green Sand Beach is a must-see when visiting the Big Island. It is carved into a 49,000-year-old burnt cove belonging to Mauna Loa volcano. Here you can find green crystals called olivine, which is named the beach.
Wake up with Kona coffee
Start your day on the Big Island with a special cup of Kona coffee. From the early 1800s, I grew up on the coast of Kona on the slopes of Mt. Hualalai and Mt. Mauna Loa. This coffee is distinguished from other coffees due to its unique island microclimate. An extraordinary coffee that is delicate yet flavorful. It is handled with the utmost care by coffee farmers across generations. The ideal way to start your day on the Big Island!
I’ve mentioned some of the natural wonders found on the Big Island, but this is just the beginning. Discover a variety of landscapes and explore unique places in the world at a relaxed pace. We are waiting for the Big Island to welcome you!