Big Island The Orchid Isle

Aloha, and E Komo Mai to Hawai‘i Island!

Planning your itinerary on HAWAI‘I’S LARGEST AND YOUNGEST ISLAND is no small feat. Aptly nicknamed “BIG ISLAND,” North America’s most diverse, massive islet hosts some of Earth’s top wonders, 10 DIFFERENT CLIMATE ZONES and the SOUTHERNMOST TIP IN THE UNITED STATES. Home to the world’s largest mountain—MAUNA LOA— and tallest sea mountain—MAUNA KEA, which towers at 33,000 feet and surprisingly has a soft layer of snow blanketing its peak nearly year-round, the Big Island is only getting bigger, thanks to behemoth KILAUEA’S steady lava flow adding to the island’s mass. PELE, Hawaiian legend’s powerful and passionate volcano goddess, is said to be responsible for these fiery eruptions. Witness this blazing goddess in all her glory by crossing off Big Island’s bounty of things to do!

Whether embarking on a SEA ADVENTURE or venturing out for some food, fun—and perhaps, a little ROMANCE—after dark, we’ve done the work for you! To ease vacation-planning woes, we’ve compiled the best there is to see and do on the Big Island into this handy, user-friendly guide.

Be it a majestic BOAT RIDE to red-hot lava’s edge by night, funneling down a mountain in an adrenaline-pumping BIKE EXCURSION to a caldera, weaving through a lush tropical rainforest, assure you don’t miss out on the island’s best activities!

While some may prefer relaxing beachfront to ZIPLINING through a tree canopy, “big ticket” escapes you won’t want to miss are as vast and varied as the island itself: HIKE up mountain cliffs to a rainbow framing a secluded jungle waterfall; GO SOARING down the state’s longest ziplines; SNORKEL with mysterious manta rays frolicking through sea caves, canyons and colorful reefs; come face-to-face with sea turtles, dolphin pods and other underwater creatures; SADDLE UP like a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) for a trail ride to ancient village at a working cattle ranch; or HOP ON AN ATV and roar through an emerald green valley. All this activity calls for some serenity. After all, this is one BIG island to explore. So be sure to set aside some time for a few slower-paced pursuits. Stroll hand-in-hand along a BLACK SAND BEACH, or grab your travel buddy for sunrise YOGA. Waltz through a hip upcountry town to souvenir hunt. After, why not soak your muscles in a NATURAL HOT SPRING, then GO WINE TASTING in paradise at a vineyard nestled 4,000 feet above sea level?

On the Big Island, foodies and culture aficionados will not be disappointed. Local FARMERS’ MARKETS, AWARD-WINNING FINE DINING, MUSEUMS, BOUTIQUES, FESTIVALS AND SCENIC ROUTES woven with history are here to satisfy.

Don’t worry if your vacation is simply too short to experience everything Hawai‘i Island has to offer this time around. Remember: We’ll be eagerly waiting to welcome you back with 101 THINGS TO DO.

View our top picks below or see all 101 Things To Do on the Big Island!

Cruise Humpback Territory

Cruise Humpback Territory

Anyone who climbs aboard a vessel this time of the year and heads for the open ocean off Hawai‘i Island can expect to see HUMPBACK WHALES. There are so many of them that most boat companies don’t hesitate to guarantee sightings. (Truth is: It’s hard to miss a 40-ton humpback when it propels its 45-foot… Continue »

Relive Mission History

Nearly 180 years ago, a New England missionary couple in their early 20’s arrived in Hilo. It was here that they spent the next 50 years of their lives. Today, the LYMAN MISSION HOUSE is the oldest wood-frame building on Hawai‘i Island. Built in 1839 by David and Sarah Lyman, the house is constructed partly… Continue »

Dive Hawai‘i’s Waters

MAUNA LOA is the world’s largest active volcano and one of two volcanic peaks that dominate Hawai‘i Island; in fact, Mauna Loa, which means “LONG MOUNTAIN” in Hawaiian, spreads over half of the island! From sea level, Mauna Loa reaches 13,680 feet in height, but when measured from its base at the ocean floor, this… Continue »

Let Yourself Go on a Zipline

Somewhere in the gap between helicopter tours and hiking has emerged a rainforest adventure called ZIPLINING. Strapped safely in a harness, the zipliner races over a series of cables like Tom Cruise in a “Mission Impossible” flick. Once you’re buckled up, you’ll dip through leafy-topped old-growth trees, fly over unique volcanic terrain and soar past… Continue »

Ride an ATV from Mountain to Sea

North Kohala is a sparsely populated, wildly beautiful region, making it an ideal place for OFF-ROAD EXPLORATION. Behind the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle and with a guide who knows the area’s terrain, history and culture, be prepared for a ride into parts unknown. ATV OUTFITTERS Hawai‘i is owned by long-time NORTH KOHALA residents who’ll… Continue »

Roast Your Own Private Label

Roast Your Own Private Label

Stop for a cup of coffee and a chat at UESHIMA COFFEE (UCC HAWAI‘I) COMPANY, a picturesque coffee estate just north of Holualoa Village. The 26-acre hillside property is crowned with a grand view of Kailua-Kona and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Experience the centuries-old art of coffee roasting with the company’s signature ROASTMASTER TOUR, where… Continue »

Saddle Up

Saddle Up

HORSEBACK RIDING is unquestionably one of Hawai‘i Island’s premier attractions. The island’s diverse terrain, eye-popping vistas and wealth of working cattle ranches make it an exciting location for horseback adventures. Situated on Kohala Mountain within Ponoholo Ranch, PANIOLO ADVENTURES specializes in OPEN-RANGE RIDES on its 11,000-acre working cattle ranch. The panoramic views, particularly at sunset,… Continue »