Big Island of Hawaii Activities

The Big Island of Hawaii is larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined and is best known for its active volcano. And while the Big Island has more than 80 beautiful beaches with varied colored sand, many of these beaches are hidden and off the beaten path. Big Island tours can take you through all but two of the world’s climate regions (Arctic and Saharan), from cactus and mesquite landscapes to the often snow capped Mauna Kea.

Land Activities

Land tours and activities such as horseback riding or ATV tours are popular in Waipio Valley (Valley of the Kings), where you will see many waterfalls, incredible views, as well as a black sand beach. Another great location for horseback riding is at Parker Ranch. Both of these areas feature fantastic views of the ocean. Biking down the mountains of the Big Island is a great way to see the natural beauty, as well as an exhilarating experience. If you are a hiking enthusiast you may want to hike to the top of Mauna Kea with a guide or explore the many hidden waterfalls on the Big Island.

Big Island Luaus

If you are looking for a Hawaiian Luau on the Big Island there are several to choose from. Most luaus have only select nights that they operate and all Big Island Luaus are either located along the Kohala Coast or the southern area of Kailua-Kona.

Top 10 Hawaii Attractions provide discounts on Hawaii luaus, allowing you to book reservations in advance so you know you will not miss your choice of the best Hawaiian luaus. Below you will find information on each Hawaiian luau on the Big Island and the select nights that the luau operates.

Kilauea Volcano Adventure

Presented by Hawaii Forest and Trail, the Kilauea Volcano Adventure allows you to see much of the Big Island and lets you explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This volcano adventure leaves from the Kailua-Kona area and travels North through the black lava fields before traversing between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Your Volcano Tour stops for a continental style breakfast then heads through Hilo towards the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you will witness Mother Nature’s handywork. Discover volcanic formations such as craters, cinder cones and lava tubes. Through a series of short hikes you will learn more about the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as receive a picnic lunch. On the way back the volcano tour travels up the Hamakua Coast, through Waimea and back to Kailua-Kona.

Air Tours

Air tours have become one of Hawaii’s signature activities due to the Big Island’s rugged interior, which is mostly inaccessible by auto. The most popular helicopter tours originate in Hilo and explore the active Kilauea Volcano. Helicopter tours can take you over active flows where you can witness lava fountains, vents and river beds of lava, as well as breathtaking views of the island, including world famous Akaka Falls. Waipio Valley is another spectacular site on the Hamakua Coast, which is featured in many Hawaii helicopter tours that will allow great views of cascading waterfalls and black sand beaches.

Big Island Helicopter Tours

Big Island helicopter tours allow you to see sights you that you otherwise might miss from the ground. With a Big Island helicopter tour you can witness and experience the most geologically active place on Earth, Kilauea Volcano, and see beautiful beaches and waterfalls. Kilauea has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. While the volcano is the island’s biggest attraction, the lava is no longer pouring into the ocean where you could once view it on foot. In 2007, new fissures opened so that now the lava is flowing in a remote area where due to extremely hazardous conditions, the only way to view the lava flow is from the air.

Some Big Island helicopter tour offer a “no doors” flight so that you can actually feel the heat from the lava – now there’s a thrill! On the cooler side of things Hawaii helicopter tours provide fantastic panoramic views of the Big Island’s beautiful coastline, from its black sand beaches (created by the volcano) to the green cliffs and valleys of the north shore’s coast line.

While on your Big Island helicopter tour and in the comfort comfort of your airconditioned helicopter you may also see amazing waterfalls, lush tropical rainforests, the snow capped (in winter) peak of Mauna Kea, and the white sand coastline and turquoise reefs of Kona and Kohala.

Hawaii helicopter tours on the Big Island offer a variety of sightseeing adventures, none of which you’ll ever forget.

Water Activities

The Big Island of Hawaii is a mecca for the sports enthusiast because of the myriad of beach and water sports found on the Island. Whether on one of the many Big Island tours or striking out on your own, a beach vacation here can include a submarine excursion, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins in Kealakekua Bay on a sailboat, catamaran, or snorkel cruise, whale watching, or deep sea fishing off the Kona coast. The Big Island’s Kona Coast is one of the best marlin and big-game fishing destinations in the world due to the climate, generally calm seas, sunny skies, geology and the close proximity to the deep waters where these big-game fish live.

Big Island Sportfishing

Kona, the sport fishing capital of the Pacific, has calm seas and a steep sloped ocean bottom that creates a depth of 6,000 feet at only three miles out. Inhabiting these waters are six species of billfish, including the granddaddy of them all, blue marlin. Then there’s tuna, mahi mahi, ono, shark, and a huge variety of big-game bottom fish.

Top 10 Hawaii Attractions provides you with a good selection of Big Island sport fishing charters to choose from. Kona sportfishing charters allow you to either select from shared Big Island sport fishing charters for individuals or charter the boat for you and your friends (up to 6 anglers).

Some of the advantages of Big Island fishing is tag and release upon requests, blue marlin can be caught year-round, no license is required and of course, if you book with us, you can save on Big Island sportfishing charters.

If you don’t believe the legends about Kona sport fishing, check out the “wall of fame” at the Kailua Harbor! Who knows, maybe you’ll be landing the “Big One”…and maybe even setting a record for Hawaii sport fishing!

Big Island Snorkeling

The Big Island offers many wonderful snorkeling spots – choose from a variety of Hawaii snorkeling tours, all with exceptional snorkeling opportunities. Both Kona and Hilo sides of the island offer opportunities to view a large variety of Hawaii’s fish, sea turtles (honu) and colorful coral. The snorkeling tours are mostly found in Kailua-Kona. Sailing with Body Glove, a very popular Hawaii snorkeling tour to the secluded Pawai Bay, offers great snorkeling excitement for the whole family. The snorkeling boats have waterslides and include equipment, food and beverages.

You can take a Fair Wind, Hawaii snorkeling tour to a marine sanctuary in Kealakekua Bay. Spinner dolphins like to surf in the wake of these boats, and you may also see them when snorkeling if you go early.

Below are two great snorkeling spots if you plan to snorkel from land but keep in mind you experience a much greater diversity of fish and reefs, plus the adventure, when you take a snorkel tour.

  • Kahalu`u near Kailua-Kona is a marine preserve so the fish are very tame here and may even try to search your pockets for fish food. You’ll see many turtles also while snorkeling in the area.
  • About 5 miles from downtown Hilo, you’ll find a very pretty coral reef with colorful fish at Richardson’s Beach. This spot has more colorful coral than Kahalu`u, and when the ocean’s calm and it’s sunny, excellent visibility. However, if you’ll see more fish at Kahalu’u.

If you are planning to snorkel in Hawaii, an excellent choice is taking a snorkeling tour that leaves from Kona. That way you’re almost guaranteed excellent visibility and you’ll see a larger array of marine life, coral and dolphins.

Big Island Whale Watching

There is no doubt that Hawaii is the best place in the world to view humpbacks on their winter migratory route. While you can often view whales from shore with a pair of binoculars, there’s no comparison to the joy and thrill of seeing one of these magnificent marine mammals up close. Kona on the Big Island is great for whale watching tours and a highly recommended and fun tour to go on is the Body Glove whale watching tour.

More than 1,000 of these gentle and playful giants (most adults are around the size of a bus) winter in Hawaii to give birth and mate. Calves are born in January and February, and whale watching trips are traditionally offered January through April.

The best whale watching trips are eco friendly and provide knowledgeable guides, as well as whale watching trips such as these practice responsible whale watching procedures to ensure the safety of these endangered species.

When visiting the Big Island of Hawaii during the winter months a whale watching tour will complement your vacation, allowing you to view how impressive these creatures are. And remember it is advisable to book in advance, as these whale watching tours sell out fast.

Kona Manta Ray Night Dives

The Kona area of the Big Island is known for its Kona Manta Ray night dives. Note that the manta rays are not stingrays so there should be no worry of getting stung or stuck by a barb. These Manta Rays are gentle giants that feed on plankton, with wingspans up to 15 feet wide. It’s hard to believe that they are so harmless, especially when you get so close to them and realize how big they really are.

Manta Ray Night dives are popular because the rays are attracted to the flood lights simply because the plankton is attracted to the light. So the plankton is what’s for dinner, not you. As you are in the water snorkeling on these manta Ray night dives, you will be amazed at the underwater display of the manta rays as they glide, twirl and put on an acrobatic show for you. And Kona holds claim for one of the best places on earth for manta Ray night dives.

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