Big Island Activities







There are numerous big island activities and most of the water activities are found on the Kona side of the island. Most of the lush vegetation as well as most of the waterfalls are on the Hilo side of the island. The following list of activities are mostly but not all located in Kona.

1. Fly over an active volcano in a helicopter

Besides Kauai, The big island is the best place to take a helicopter ride. I can’t explain what a thrill it is to fly over an active volcano, see the hardened lava flows and see the live red hot lava flowing into the ocean with large plumes of white smoke and steam billowing from the water. How many people can say they have done that. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience. For more information on one of the best big island activities, prices and times, see the link below


Helicopter Tours on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

2. Take a glass bottom boat

This is one of the awesome big island activities available in both Hilo and Kona. Imagine viewing thousands of colorful, playful tropical fish in the ocean without getting wet. This is a great price and a great activity for the whole family.

Kailua Bay Glass bottom Boat Cruise - CLICK HERE!


Waikoloa Glass bottom Boat Cruise - CLICK HERE!

3. Go for a bike ride in paradise

There are a few different bike tours, but none are as exciting as riding around the very active Kilauea Volcano. You will take a narrated scenic ride to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to pick up your 21 speed mountain bike. After you ride around the rim of the active volcano, you will hike through the rainforest to the Thurston Lava Tube. Then you can enjoy the sights of the Volcano park at your leisure. Halema’uma’u Crater, Jagger museum, etc. You will also be served a big lunch as well as fresh fruit and snacks. To find out more about these great big island activities as well as other bike tours in Hawaii, see the link below.

Kilauea Volcano Bike Adventure - CLICK HERE!


Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone & Active Lava Flow Bike Adventure - CLICK HERE!

4. Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the big island activities that can be done in Hilo or Kona. The snorkeling on the big island is great because the large mountains protect the beaches and bays from wind. In Hilo there are plenty of great areas around Hilo Bay to snorkel and in Kona you can snorkel in the bright sun among the black lava rock. Great snorkeling beaches are Kealakekua Bay, the beaches close to Keauhou Resort area. These areas are where the green sea turtles, manta rays and spinner dolphins are often spotted. If you would like to take advantage of an expert that knows the best spots, see the link below

Fair Wind Kealakekua Bay Snorkel - CLICK HERE!


Big Island Hawaii Black Sand Snorkeling Excursion - CLICK HERE!

5. Encounter a giant Manta Ray

This is one of the big island activities that The travel channel acknowleges. The say that swimming with the manta rays near the Kona coast as one of the top ten things to do in you lifetime. Hawaii’s giant manta rays have a “wingspan” of up to 20 feet or more. The Kona coast is the best place in the world to see the gentle giants. The rays have no stinging tails and no teeth, so this adventure is quite safe. The experts at these companies now where the manta rays frequent. They call this area, “Manta Ray Village. After an evening of swimming and snorkeling with these creatures in your wetsuit, you will board the boat once more for snacks and drinks while your boar takes you back to shore. There are a few companies that offer this adventure during the day or night. Sometimes the viewing is better at night, because the boats shine bright lights in the ocean to attract the rays. To find out more about this big island activity, see the link below.

Big Island Water sports Manta Ray Night Snorkel Tour - CLICK HERE!

6. Take a submarine ride

The Atlantis state of the art submarines have been featured on many National Geographic Nature Specials. Kailua-Kona’s clear waters are filled with a myriad of sea life. After a 15 minute scenic boat ride, you will board the 48 passenger submarine for an unforgettable 35 minute dive. The expert narrator will tell you about the formation of the islands as well as the names of the sea life you are viewing. As you reach the depths of 100 feet, you will be at a 25 acre, 18.000 year old reef where you may spot reef fish, moray eels, lobsters, green sea turtles and even reef sharks. Each dive is totally different. This is one of the great big island activities and an adventure for the whole family. For more information, see the link below

Submarine Tours on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

7. Go on a zipline adventure

This is one of the most thrilling of all of the big island activities. There are three different zipline companies on the big island. I think the Kohala zipline is one of the best courses. This Big island activity is located in the lush green Halawa area of the island, near Kohala. This course has five suspension bridges, soaring Ariel platforms and five ziplines that reach as high as 140 feet. The last zipline is a very long tandem line. The feeling of sailing through the treetops is amazing. To read more about these adventures and choose your zipline course, see the link below.

Zipline Adventures on the Big Island - CLICK HERE!

8. Take a surfing lesson

Big island activities would not be complete without exploring surfing. Where else on earth is a better place to learn the ancient Hawaiian skill of surfing. Hawaii lifeguard surf instructors will teach you to surf. These professional lifeguards guarantee you will be up and surfing in no time. There are also instructors that teach you the art of stand up paddle surfing, which has become very popular in the islands. To find out more about this big Island activitiy, see the link below.

Hawaii Lifeguard Surf Instructors - CLICK HERE!
Big Island Hulakai Stand Up Paddle - CLICK HERE!

9. Go Deep Sea Fishing For Marlin

One of the best known big island activities is Marling fishing. Kona is known as one of the best bill fishing spots in the world. Kona is home to the international billfish tournament. On these fishing boats you will fish for Blue Marlin, Stripped Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and Rainbow Runner. You will leave Honokohau Harbor and head for the best fishing spot in Kona, Grander Alley. The boat is a top of the line 40 foot Uniflite, powered by twin diesel engines. The capacity is only six passengers. There is a cabin, top deck, comfortable shaded seating, leather reclining couches, bathroom, shower and vcr. This company has won numerous fishing awards. This big island activity is great for any sport fishermen. I highly suggest that if you visit Kona, you try your luck at Marlin fishing. See the link below for different companies and prices.

Sportfishing Tours on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

10. Go Kayaking

One of the best places to kayak in Hawaii is Kealakekua Bay. The bay is peaceful and is frequented by spinner dolphins. Beside hiking, kayaking is on of the only other ways to reach Captain Cooks Monument which is located in this bay. This is also a marine life conservation area which offers terrific snorkeling in coral gardens full of colorful tropical reef fish. The bay is also home to a number of green sea turtles. This bay is also a great location to view a number of different tropical birds. There are a lot of great places to kayak in Hawaii, but Kealakekua Bay is about the best. To find out more information on this big island activity, see the link below.

Kayaking Tours on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

11. Ride a horse like the Paniolo

There are a few places on the big island to go horseback riding, but none as exciting as the historical Parker Ranch. Explore 175,000 lush acres full of rich Hawaiian history. You will ride to many historical sites within the ranch. You will see the blacksmith shop, original stone corrals where the original Hereford cattle were kept and also see where the Parker Thoroughbreds were trained. This is a great ride for beginners. To view all of the big island horseback adventures, click the link below.

Horseback Riding on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

12. Encounter dolphins in the wild

This is one of the big island activities that is an adventure like no other. You will not be in a pool with dolphins, you will actually be swimming and snorkeling in the ocean with wild spinner dolphins. The dolphin pods are located at Kealakekua bay on the Kona coast. This is one of the best places in the world to watch these playful dolphins up close. The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins feed at night and return close to the shore every morning to rest and nurture their young. It is fantastic to see these pods ranging in number from dozens to hundreds in the natural environment. The expert guides know where to find the dolphin pods which are quite active and playful in the early morning. As the day does o, the dolphins are more of a rest or sleep state and can still be viewed but not disturbed. To find out more about this big island activity, see the link below.

Dolphin Encounters on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

13. Go Snuba Diving.

Discover the merging of Snorkeling and Scuba Diving (Snuba Diving). Instead of snorkeling with a tube, or scuba diving with a tank on your back, Snuba allows you to dive 20 feet with a diving mask, but the air tanks are on a pontoon raft close to where you are diving. There is an ideal Snuba spot in the waters just off King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona. There is a fantastic reef at this location that is filled with tons of colorful tropical reef fish and marine life. Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) like this area as well and can often be spotted in this area. For more information on snuba diving and any of the other big island activities in the Kamakahonu Bay area, see the link below.

Snuba Diving on the Big Island - CLICK HERE!

14. Hike to a fantastic waterfall

A great hiking experience is one of best ways to enjoy big island activities. Hike to Kohala waterfalls and learn Kohala’s story of water. Hike with experts through the lush green Kohala countryside (The Birthplace of King Kamehameha ). You will be taken for a ride along the coast headed for Kohala. You will pass lava flows from Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kohala Mountain. You will be taken through the quaint plantation towns of Hawi and Kapaau. Your driver will stop for panoramic coastal views along the way. Then it is on to the private ranchland on a n off-road drive in a 6 wheel drive Pinzgauer to the trailhead. You will walk along a 1.5 mile loop trail where you will see the Historic Kohala Ditch irrigation system that was dug by hand in the early 1900’s to bring water to the sugar cane fields. Along the trail, you will see tunnels that were carved from solid rock and walk over the aqueduct on two separate bridges. You will learn the history of how much time and effort it took to build this 22 mile waterway. You will see an old taro farming site along with seven beautiful waterfalls along the trail. You will even get the chance to swim in the last waterfall.
Another great hike is incredible for birdwatchers. This hike was featured in National Geographic Traveler. You will take a scenic drive to two very different trails. You will hike in a very small group with an expert guide and avid bird lover. You will see birds which are endemic to the area as well as birds that were introduced to the area. The trails you will take on this adventure are a dry forest trail on the slopes of Mauna Kea and a rainforest trail called the Pu’u O’o Trail in the northern part of the island. This is a great way to see two very different aspects of the Big Island. To find out more about these big island activities as well as other guided hikes, see the link below and click on the hike you are interested in for more information on that particular hike.

Hiking / Eco Tours on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

15. Enjoy a great show Luau style

There are a number of Luau’s in the Kona area and each one offers a nice dinner and traditional Hawaiian show. Some people think that a Luau is very touristy, but as we learn from history, Hawaiians have had Luau’s to celebrate many occasions. Today Hawaiians still have Luau’s for Birthdays, weddings and family reunions. Forget the touristy aspect and become a part of a Hawaiian tradition and see a great show with Polynesian music and Dancers along with a great meal. To learn more about these big island activities and all of the luaus offered on the Big Island, click the link below to find the luau that suits you.

Luaus on the island of Hawai'i - CLICK HERE!

While visiting the Hawaii, get out and try one of the big island activities listed above. At the very least, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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