Attractions on the Big Island

Hawaii’s Big Island is teeming with unique sites and adventures — everything from an active volcano to cliff-side waterfalls and black sand beaches to stargazing atop a snow-capped mountain. There is no lack of things to do and see on the Big Island.

Big island tourist attractions are as varied as the island’s many climates, so planning ahead is key, as your wardrobe needs will vary depending on which top attractions you plan to visit.

The most popular Big Island attractions include visiting volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Kea, where the weather can be chilly to downright freezing.

There are lots of sites to see at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP), a must-see on the Big Island. You can hike, bike, traverse the largest petroglyph field in the Pacific, peer into the vast Halema‘uma‘u crater, marvel at the sulfur stench of steaming bluffs, learn all about volcanoes at the Jaggar Museum and park visitor center or go underground through a lava tube. Read more

At Mauna Kea, visitors can participate in nightly stargazing sessions at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station at 9,200 feet or make the journey to the top of the mountain and enjoy seeing more stars than ever before.Warmer Big Island attractions include gorgeous beaches with sands of white, black or green. Hapuna Beach’s expansive white sand is a favorite for families, while Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach on the southeastern Ka‘u coast boasts glistening onyx shores that serve as a sun bathing spot for Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

The East side doesn’t have as many sand beaches, but a tourist attraction on this wetter side of the Big Island includes several spectacular waterfalls, including Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls, which are easily accessible to all.

Another wonderfully exhilarating attraction on the Big Island are zipline adventures that fly guests past treetops and waterfalls (sometimes upside down if you dare!)

If flying through the air isn’t your thing, another source of Big Island beauty lies in the island’s botanical gardens like Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens and the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. Here, you can stroll and be inspired by Mother Nature’s most interesting and odd creations.

Of course, you can’t come to this island without sampling one of the tastiest of Big Island attractions: Kona coffee. Kona coffee is grown on the dark volcanic lava rock slopes of Kona, hand-picked and meticulously cultivated. Places like Greenwell Farms and the Kona Coffee Living History Farm offer you a glimpse into the art of coffee production and let you sample this beloved brew.

There are so many amazing attractions and things to see on the Big Island, you may just want to stay — forever!

Couple watches lava flowing into the sea. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Couple watches lava flowing into the sea. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

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