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Big Island, Hawaii

Vivid emerald cliffs, active volcanoes, and black-sand beaches make this island a fascinating natural wonder.

Our most recommended things to do in Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island: Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet

1. Big Island: Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet

Visit the Royal Kona Resort to experience an interactive luau show celebrating the rich cultural history of Hawaii with seating on the glimmering shores of Kailua Bay. Start the evening with an aloha shell lei greeting, and craft demonstrations. Soon after, feast on a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet with traditional Hawaiian dishes made with local ingredients. Savor authentic island entrees such as honey soy braised beef, and fresh-catch fish. Be treated to Big Island flavors with sides like Hawaiian sweet potatoes, coconut rolls, macaroni, and Lomi Lomi salmon salad. Enjoy stir friend vegetables and kalua style pork and cabbage. Finish off your culinary experiences with tasty favorites like Hawaiian haupia pudding and coconut cake. Sip Mai Tais, wine, beer, and soft drinks as you embrace the local culture and radiant sunset. Then, as drumbeats build, the sensational Voyagers of the Pacific Luau show unfolds on stage. Be captivated by a dramatic show inspired by Polynesian stories told through live music, song, and dance, culminating in the exciting Samoan fire knife dance finale.

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

2. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Twilight Manta Ray Adventure

Experience an exciting 75-minute nighttime snorkeling expedition. Get up close and personal with stunning manta rays as they gracefully soar through the water. Your underwater adventure will take place in clear warm waters near protected reefs abundant with marine life.   After the sun sets, head off into the nighttime waters to see a fascinating "manta ray ballet" along the Kona coast near the mouth of Keauhou Bay. This point of departure is one of the island’s most successful and consistent manta ray viewing locations. Your snorkeling guide will outfit you with all the necessary gear needed to embark on your experience including snorkel gear, wetsuits, and flotation devices. After a quick safety briefing, plunge into the dark waters and be captivated by these graceful creatures as they feast on plankton. Grip onto the flotation swim ring with high-illumination blue water lights that attract the plankton on which the mantas feed. Soon afterward, rays will glide through the water almost at arm's length opening their enormous mouths to feast. After your remarkable underwater adventure, return to your boat and warm up with a nighttime snack of hot chocolate and cookies

Mauna Kea Summit: Sunset Stargazing Adventure w Free Photo

3. Mauna Kea Summit: Sunset Stargazing Adventure w Free Photo

Get your photos taken by the stars during this sunset and stargazing adventure on the summit of Mauna Kea. Learn about the area from your guide as you sip on hot chocolate and eat snacks. Choose from pickup and drop-off options at several locations.  Delight in the awe-inspiring sunset at the top of Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Pacific. Get cozy with a parka, gloves, and hot drink as you learn historic accounts of Hawaii, the Big Island, from your guide. Stand amidst the world’s largest collection of research telescopes and see two of the eight telescopes which took the first photo of a black hole. Enjoy your very own private star show with a Celestron telescope. Capture your experience forever with photos taken by your guide on a DSLR camera. Get emailed these photos after your experience. After your unforgettable evening with the stars, depart back to your pickup location for drop-off.

Hilo: Fly over Volcano National Park and Waterfalls

4. Hilo: Fly over Volcano National Park and Waterfalls

Take a helicopter ride over ever-changing scenery at Volcano National Park with this tour from Hilo. Journey over black sand beaches where lava once flowed into the sea. Take off from Hilo and fly directly to Volcano National Park. See the caldera of the Kilauea volcano. Admire the Pu'uo'o' volcanic cone. Snap pictures of the massive volcanos Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Discover new lava fields that are forming and go over old lava fields. View how waterfalls create a deep blue pools amid jungle greenery.

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Experience and BBQ

5. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Experience and BBQ

You will need to arrive at 7:30 AM for your 8 AM departure and cruise through protected marine sanctuaries. Cruise ten miles down the Kona Coast to the snorkel destination, a protected marine sanctuary. Relax, you will have over two hours of water time to enjoy the marine life, underwater topography, and coral reef. Cruise in comfort! The boat’s main lower deck features a large shaded cabin with cushioned seating, tables, a premium bar, three restrooms, and freshwater showers. You won’t go hungry. Enjoy a light breakfast of tropical fruits, assorted pastries, bagels, juices, teas, and Kona coffee. While you're taking in the fun, the crew prepares lunch. After snorkeling, belly up to a full-service premium cash bar, featuring a large selection of liquors, mixes, and local brews. This boat hosts one of the only blenders on the Kona Coast. Your mask, fins, snorkel, and prescription masks will be provided to you. For beginners, a friendly “Snorkel 101 Class” is available from the lifeguard-trained crew. A host of flotation toys, including noodles, vests, inner tubes, and even “Sea View Boards” for those who don’t want to get their face wet. They even include the use of stand-up paddleboards and an array of other flotation devices at no additional cost. Kids of all ages love the 20’ waterslide and high dive platform. If you want to kick back and do nothing, check out the floating “relaxation station”, the crew will swim you out refreshments. Wetsuits are available for rent on board.

Big Island: Captain Cook Historical Dinner Cruise

6. Big Island: Captain Cook Historical Dinner Cruise

Step aboard and step back in time… Join for an enchanting Hawaiian history lesson from the experts on Kona’s one and only Historical Sunset Dinner Cruise. This 3-hour family adventure departing from the Kailua Pier is narrated by a local historian tour guide, who will reveal secrets, tell stories, and share legends related to the numerous landmarks along the 12 miles of magnificent Kona coastline. Unwind to Captain Cook’s Monument at Historical Kealakekua Bay (only accessible by boat or hiking) with a complimentary cocktail from a fully stocked, premium bar. Begin your delicious dinner starting with Mauna Loa Big Island Macadamia Nuts (Vegan/GF) appetizer. Enjoy a salad starter of Kealaola Farm mixed salad greens, Waimea grape tomatoes, Japanese cucumber, and red onion (Vegan/GF), served with house-made Maui Onion vinaigrette dressing (Vegan/GF). Choose your main course from a selection of Thai coconut curry with Hamakua sweet potatoes, Hawaiian breadfruit, carrots, and bell peppers (Vegan/GF), or steamed jasmine rice (Vegan/GF) with Kiawe mango barbecue pork short ribs served with a papaya salsa (GF) and island baked coconut dinner rolls served with butter (Vegetarian). Your dessert is a cheesecake with a local Lilikoi glaze (Vegetarian). Keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and seasonal humpback whales throughout the evening. Enjoy live music from some of the Big Island's best entertainers performing slack key Hawaiian Style music. Catch the sunset on the water and make sure to look for the famous Green Flash, a fleeting glimmer of intense emerald light that appears on the horizon just after sunset. Other highlights include the Ahu’ena Heiau, the Holua Slide, and the famous Kuamo’o Battlefield, just to name a few.

Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

7. Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

There is a saying in Hawaii that "you never forget your first wave," and this surf lesson in Kahaluu Bay brings that saying to life, providing quality surf instruction to people of all ages and skill levels. The 2-hour surf lessons are designed to teach people how to surf safely and effectively from the best surfing and snorkeling beach in Kona, Hawaii. Upon arrival at the surf shop, you will be outfitted with reef booties and rashguards. Then, before entering the water, learn how to paddle and pop up on land, as well as important surfing etiquette and how to wipe out properly. Once you are comfortable, it’s off to the water to practice your skills on the long rolling waves of Kahaluu Bay. Your surf instructor will help you catch the waves, letting you know where you need to be, when to paddle, and when to pop up. They will even give you a little push to ensure that you catch every wave you paddle for. For more advanced surfers, instructors offer advice on how to turn and catch larger waves. Instructors work in small groups, with no more that 3 participants per teacher to ensure maximum attention and a highly personalized experience.

Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

8. Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

Set sail along the beautiful Kona coast on a 3-hour snorkeling trip. At historic Kealakekua Bay, you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument. Snorkel in pristine waters along the reef in the marine sanctuary. With your marine camera, take photos of the colorful fish, pods of spinner dolphins, and the landscaped ledges of ancient lava flows. Enjoy site briefings and snorkeling tips from the crew members. Life jackets, floatation noodles, viewfinder boards, masks, fins, and snorkels are all provided. The crew will help you enter and exit the water if needed and will provide fish identification cards. They will even take you on a guided snorkeling tour.

Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

9. Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

Discover Hawaii's Big Island on an ATV tour. Learn about the cultures of Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, and Tonga, drive through a Rainbow Eucalyptus tree grove, and taste coconut water. Upon arrival at the meeting point and getting geared up, listen to a quick safety briefing before setting off on your adventure. If you do not feel comfortable driving an ATV or are under 16, enjoy a ride as a passenger in a 6-seater UTV driven by the tour guide.  Kick-off your tour with a drive through an award-winning coffee farm and transition into a grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees before entering the jungle. Drive your fully automatic ATV on trails to reach Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. At each stop, play games to learn about each island's culture. Finally, make your way to the last island of Samoa. Learn about traditional culture, watch a coconut demonstration and taste the coconut water. Afterward, travel back down the mountain and admire beautiful views of Kailua-Kona and the Kona coast.

Big Island: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Sail from Waikoloa

10. Big Island: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Sail from Waikoloa

Explore the Waikoloa and Kohala Kona coastline aboard a 54-foot sailing catamaran. Catch the moment the sun slips below the horizon while you enjoy the cruise with a loved one. You may even see the green flash.  Board from Anaehoomalu Bay to snorkel, sail, and relax. The custom-designed sunset-orange and maile lei sail is a stunning contrast to the azure Pacific as it sails along the blue Pacific ocean. Bask in the romance and relaxation of a stunning Kona-Kohala sunset cruise.  While you are on board, benefit from snacks and beverages served to you. Enjoy unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, two free bar drink tickets per adult, or purchase extra alcoholic beverages to feel at ease all night.

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What people are saying about Big Island, Hawaii

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 2,089 reviews

This was a great experience. We went out to a snorkeling spot that was just beautiful. The captain and crew were so nice and knowledgeable about all things found in the beautiful Hawaiian waters. The sail back was relaxing as it was beautiful. I would definitely do this tour again while in Kona

Such an amazing experience!! I had not expected to have so many manta rays and they got so close. Unbelievable feeling to see something that big in the wild. The crew took very good care of everyone and were very informative and friendly too.

Beyond description, absolutely amazing and thrilling. The amount of interaction with these beautiful creatures was incredible. The staff put us in the best opportunity and was wonderful in warning us about them coming up.

Our tour was amazing. Our guide is extremely knowledgeable and made us feel very comfortable through the entire trip. He is great!

Very entertaining! Food was good! Open bar until 7pm.