Essential Big IslandSee all 101 Things To Do on the Big Island!

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 »

Get a Front-Row “Hot” Seat

Madame Pele, the legendary HAWAIIAN VOLCANO GODDESS, continues to stay active from her home inside her favorite volcano, KILAUEA. Things may have changed by the time you read this, but there are eruptions at two locations: the vent within Halema‘uma‘u Crater (it can be viewed from the overlook at Jagger Museum) and the Pu‘u O‘o… Continue »

Soak in a Natural Hot Tub

The Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele also deserves kudos for her pioneering work with THERMAL PONDS; long before anyone invented hot tubs, Hawai‘i Island was gurgling and steaming with naturally heated models fueled by WARM THERMAL SPRINGS. These naturally heated hot tubs form when ground water moves through magmahot rocks on its way to the sea… Continue »

Swim with a Manta Ray

They may look fearsome, but MANTA RAYS, known in Hawaiian as hahalua, are really quite tame. Though related to sharks, these amazing sea creatures have no teeth and no tail stingers, making them harmless to humans but no less intriguing to watch. Noted for its resident manta ray population, the KONA COAST is one of… Continue »

Find Eden in Waipi‘o Valley

Located north of Honoka‘a on the Hamakua Coast, WAIPI‘O VALLEY is the largest and southernmost of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. Measuring a mile wide at the coast and almost 6 miles deep, the EDEN-LIKE VALLEY is sheltered by cliffs reaching almost 2,000 feet. WATERFALLS and flowers cascade from… Continue »

Look Through the Eyes of Mauna Kea

The LARGEST ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY IN THE WORLD is located at the 13,796-foot summit of Mauna Kea. Here, international scientists work with a sophisticated array of telescopes to gather data about the vast celestial universe. The mountain currently houses 13 WORKING TELESCOPES, and plans are underway to build another, slated to be the largest on Earth…. Continue »

Go to a Lu‘au

Loosely translated, a lu‘au is a BIG FEAST with a lot of singing, dancing and fun. Lu‘au often feature homegrown ENTERTAINMENT, complete with traditional HULA and POLYNESIAN FESTIVITIES. Served with a main course of kalua pig—tender, shredded pork cooked in an imu (underground oven)—and typical Hawaiian sides of poi, Okinawan sweet potatoes, lomi lomi salmon… Continue »

Visit Akaka Falls & Honomu Town

While the hike to AKAKA FALLS takes less than half an hour, the view—which attracts an estimated one million visitors a year—and fun along the way make this destination a worthwhile excursion. Start your exploration at the village of HONOMU, 11 miles north of Hilo on the Hamakua Coast, now known as the GATEWAY TO… Continue »

Pick a Beach

WHITE-, BLACK- and even GREEN-SAND BEACHES abound along Hawai‘i Island’s 266-MILE COASTLINE. Check out some of the most popular spots below: KAUNA‘OA BEACH: At the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. HAPUNA BEACH: Just outside Kamuela town and popular for walking and body boarding, recently ranked No. 3 by Travel + Leisure readers on a list of… Continue »

Paddle to the Capt. Cook Monument

British CAPTAIN JAMES COOK, thought to be the first Westerner to set sight on the Hawaiian Islands, spotted the islands of O‘ahu and Kaua‘i on January 18, 1778. Almost a year later, on January 17, 1779, the explorer found his way to Hawai‘i Island. He anchored his ships in KEALAKEKUA BAY, where the annual MAKAHIKI… Continue »