The 10 Best Things to Do in Island of Hawaii, United States

December 19, 2017 Nobuko Falco

Life on the Big Island is a little bit slower… and locals like it that way. The natural beauty and ecological features of the island are a draw for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Test your chutzpah at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the longest volcanic eruption in recorded history, or climb to the indescribably beautiful summit of Mauna Kea. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a quivering plate of fresh poke, followed by a fruity shave ice.
Restaurants in Island of Hawaii

1. Kilauea Iki Trail

Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI 96785 +1 808-985-6000
Excellent
84%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Kilauea Iki Trail

A moderate 4 mile hike into a an old volcanic crater.

Reviewed By jjluke - calgary, ab

Kilauea Iki Trail was the hike recommended by the visitor center at Volcanoes National Park. The hike takes you through dense forest, down into the frozen lava lake, then back up through the forest where it meets back at the top. Once you meet the other parking lot, you can add the Thurston Lava Tubes across the street, then go back to the trail where it meets the parking lot where you started.

You can journey one of two ways, but we found going counterclockwise to be the most fulfilling (i.e. follow the trail markers in sequence 1, 2, 3… etc.). There are good views going down to the valley for picture-taking and coming up you can focus on hiking back as by then you will be tired. It goes without saying that it is smart to wear sunscreen/coveralls even though it will be more cloudy than sunny there. Also ensure you have good walking/hiking shoes as the trails are looked after but the terrain is rocky especially at the base. The terrain is doable with flip-flops and sandals but wont be enjoyable! The hike is over 3 miles on moderate terrain but with an elevation loss and regain of 600 feet, meaning you go down then back up.

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2. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

27-717 Old Mamalahoa Hwy, Papaikou, Island of Hawaii, HI 96781-7746 +1 808-964-5233
Excellent
84%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) Scientific and Educational non-profit, whose mission is to serve as a nature preserve and sanctuary, a living seed bank, and a study center for trees and plants of the tropical world. The Garden is dedicated to the collection and display of the world's tropical plants,and to the education of both children and adults about the plight of the world's rainforests. At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, the Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for the benefit of future generations.

Reviewed By James M

There is not a great deal to see or do in Hilo but there is a phenomenal botanic garden just outside of town. It is about 20 acres of jungle on the edge of the ocean and has been left relatively undisturbed. The garden has been in this location for about 50 years. In addition to the natural flora, flowers from all of the world have been brought here and planted in this jungle setting. It is a very natural setting and more interesting to me than the Missouri botanical gardens or the botanic gardens in Denver which are developed and sculpted. Here one has the sense of walking through a natural setting where these plants would be found in their respective locations around the world. If you travels take you near Hilo, do not miss this place.

3. Kula Kai Caverns

92-8864 Lauhala Drive, Ocean View, Island of Hawaii, HI 96737 +1 808-929-9725
Excellent
93%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 124 reviews

Kula Kai Caverns

Reviewed By u_kay_j - Salt Lake City, Utah

My husband and I had an amazing tour with our guide Emmanuel. We were lucky to be able to get in at the last minute, I recommend calling ahead. We did the "30 minute" tour (which turned out to be over an hour) which did not require any crawling. The caverns are spectacular, and Emmanuel was very friendly and informative. A thousand times more interesting than the Thurston lava tube, and great value for the price.

4. Paradise Meadows

93-2199 South Point Rd., Naalehu, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-929-9148
Excellent
90%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 96 reviews

Paradise Meadows

An authentic, diversified family farm. We specialize in hand-crafted, artisanal, 100% Hawaiian products including macadamia nuts that are dehydrated rather than roasted so they taste more like the fresh macadamia nut right out of the shell, unique varieties of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, award-winning 100% Ka'u coffee, and several varieties of raw, natural Hawaiian honey. On a visit to the farm you can meet the farmers, take a brief free tour (including our Aquaponic greenhouse), learn about honey, coffee and macadamia nut production, meet our 5 parrots, and sample all of our delicious products.

Reviewed By PariYVR - Vancouver, Canada

On our drive to South Point (the southernmost point of Hawaii), we were drawn in by signs advertising coffee and macadamia nut tasting at Paradise Meadows. Interested in purchasing coffee to take back home, we we pulled into the beautiful property and were suddenly blanketed in a warm welcome by the friendly hosts at the farm. We were given a variety of complimentary samples from chocolate covered macademia nuts, coffee, and fruit, as exotic Muscovy ducks waddled about between our legs. The host gave us a tour of her nursery, fruit orchard (mangoes, papaya, banana, oranges, tangerines, lemon and lime), aquaponics system and coffee plantation and after purchasing our coffee we were also given a gift to take home. Thank you for the hospitality! Highly recommend!

5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcano National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-964-1000
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 7 reviews

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Reviewed By K10trips - Apex, North Carolina

This is a MUST DO on the Big Island! We got there early to beat the crowds and it was well worth it. First we ate at the Volcano House, service was great and food was too! Nice brunch at a great price. Then we moved on to the Lava Tube, it was early so we had to use our phones to light the way, very cool. Bring a sweatshirt if you are going early it was chilly. We drove around and stopped at almost every crater. It was amazing! The craters themselves then when you get to the lava overlooking the ocean. It is something everyone needs to see if life. We made our way back up to the observatory and what a sight! My 7 year old was upset, he wanted to see hot red lava..and he did! Right there bubbling up from the ground. It was amazing. We missed the visitor centers because by the time we got back up, it was packed and we were hungry again. So happy we took the almost 2 hour drive to see this amazing sight

6. Kona Coffee Living History Farm

82-6199 Mamalahoa Hwy, Hwy 11, Captain Cook, Island of Hawaii, HI 96704-8203 +1 808-323-3222
Excellent
82%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 197 reviews

Kona Coffee Living History Farm

Kona Historical Society's Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook is a "must see" Hawaii attraction and the only living history coffee farm in the nation. Stroll through this Smithsonian-affiliated, outdoor museum that tells the story of Kona's Japanese immigrants that became Kona's coffee pioneers during the early 20th century. A self-guided experience, you're free to walk among the coffee trees, meet a "Kona Nightingale", or watch how farmers used the kuriba and hoshidana to mill and dry their world-famous coffee. Visit the original 1920's farmhouse where you may find the homemaker starting the fire to cook rice or making musubi for the farmer's lunch. "Talk story" along the way with living history interpreters and discover the story behind Kona's gourmet crop.

Reviewed By Phil S - Charlottesville, Virginia

This place is just a few acres but packed with history and has an excellent staff, both on the historical side (e.g. the fact that pre-WWII "coffee cooperatives" were anything but...) and also lots of information about local agriculture. We spent a couple of hours there and could have spent more. People apparently balk at the $15 fee: come'on, in Hawai'i that's the price of a couple cocktails (if that) -- these folks are doing a great job (they have lots of outreach to local schools, hence the limited public hours) and give them some help.

7. Mauna Kea Summit

Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-464-0840
Excellent
80%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Mauna Kea Summit

At 13,796 feet, this peak offers an incredible view of lava, desert, the valley and Mauna Loa.

Reviewed By susanaquerida - Vancouver, Canada

If you want to save your vehicle’s suspension and be supplied with a warm coat, take Hawaii Forest & Trail tour for stargazing. The coats and gloves are essential. The telescopes are high power and the guides are very knowledgeable. Hot chocolate, supper on the way up and a slow ascent will save the day. It’s a memorable site so don’t blow it by driving on your own and then freezing.

8. Hawaiian Vanilla Company

Pohakea Road, Paauilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96776 +1 877-771-1771
Excellent
84%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 638 reviews

Hawaiian Vanilla Company

Reviewed By cmbrown88 - Colorado Springs, Colorado

We opted for the lunch & tour. Since the Hawaiian Vanilla Company is located about 45-60 minutes from Hilo, we decided to enjoy the full experience. The lunch was good and unique as all the items, including the drinks, were flavored in some way with vanilla. As we ate, we were told a bit about the process of raising vanilla orchids. I had no idea that vanilla required such a hands-on, time intensive process! The tour was given after lunch. We were shown some actual plants and told what they needed to do to grow the plants and generate the vanilla bean. After lunch, while enjoying vanilla ice cream, we were told how we could make our own vanilla from the vanilla bean. They had a small gift shop where you could buy all things vanilla. I'm glad we participated in this activity, even though it was a bit of a drive.

9. Mt. Kilauea

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI +1 808-985-6000
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 790 reviews

Mt. Kilauea

Active volcano built on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa features a caldera approximately 4 by 3.2 kilometers wide and walls from zero to 120 meters high.

Reviewed By BobWE - Manhattan Beach, CA

Great hiking experience in the Big Island across the volcano flow lava. The trail leading up to the trail head includes numerous steps but is well worth the hike. Make sure you bring water and head gear to protect you from dehydration and the heat. The hike across the lava bed will take about 30-45 minutes at a leisurely pace. I strongly recommend hiking shoes for the trail and lava flow hike. The vastness of the lava bed is very interesting. Several plants are beginning to grow through the lava bed. Definitely a site to visit with teens and adults. I would be reluctant to take young children.

10. Manini'owali Beach (Kua Bay)

Hwy. 19, Paved Road With Sign, Near Marker 88, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
Excellent
75%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Manini'owali Beach (Kua Bay)

Reviewed By james628 - Brandon, Florida

What a beautiful beach. Smaller than others but has the waves for boogie boards, soft golden sand, parking if you get there early, amazing views and a fun atmosphere. We really enjoyed this beach much more than the other more popular beaches near by. Keep this one a secret, it is a real gem.

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