The Big Island of Hawaii might be the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands, but did you also know it is the youngest? Those two things alone should make you want to visit this gorgeous island! Of course, most people already know they want to visit Hawaii at some point in their life. Yet, everyone has no idea which Hawaiian Island is best for their family vacations. Sometimes, it comes down to the activities, attractions, and adventures that a specific Hawaiian Island has for a person to say this is the Hawaiian Island that is perfect for their next family vacation!
There are so many things to see and do when you visit the Big Island of Hawaii. I couldn’t possibly share them all with you in a single post, so I am sharing only the best things to do on this fabulous island. I know many of these things will make it onto your Hawaiian itinerary. However, as I am planning your next Hawaiian vacation, you can guarantee I will find a few other gems that you will want to add to your list of things to do in Hawaii.
One of the biggest attractions on the island of Hawaii is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are two active volcanoes within this national park, but Kilauea is the one that has been oozing lava since 1983. The other popular volcano within this national park is Mauna Kea. It is best to visit the summit of Mauna Kea at the end of the day, because it is perfect for stargazing. A stop at the Visitor Center is a must, so you can get used to the higher elevation. By the time you reach the summit, you will be fourteen thousand feet above sea level. Yet, the height of this volcano makes it an incredible location to view the stars without any other distractions. There are numerous trails to hike along inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park during your visit. Some may lead you to lava flows, while many others will not.
There are thousands of beaches around the world and dozens on the Big Island of Hawaii. However, not too many of them have the black basalt sand that is found on the shoreline of Punaluu Black Sand Beach in Hawaii. This unique sand was created from volcanic lava that flowed into the ocean. As you are walking along this coarse black sand, you will have the opportunity to see green sea turtles sunning themselves along the beach. You can swim and snorkel at this beach, but the currents can be strong, so be quite cautious if you choose to enter the water.
Oh, and if you want to check out a green sand beach, head over to Papakōlea Green Sand Beach. The small particles of green sand were created by the cinder cone located next to the beach.
One of the best places to learn about, and drink, authentic Hawaiian Kona coffee is Mountain Thunder. This coffee plantation is located approximately 3,200 feet above sea level. During your visit, you will see magnificent views of much of the Kona coastline below. It is best to take a tour of the plantation before taking your very first sip of freshly roasted Kona coffee. It’s a Hawaiian specialty you won’t want to miss!
Hiking to the waterfalls on any of the Hawaiian Islands normally means long, arduous hikes. However, on the Big Island of Hawaii, you can take a short hike to two waterfalls within Akaka Falls State Park. Kahuna Falls has water cascading down the cliffs, while the water at Akaka Falls basically does a free-fall. You can tackle this hike in about a half hour, but only if you don’t spend too much time gazing at the waterfalls. I usually recommend allowing for at least an hour to truly enjoy this piece of paradise.
History is everywhere within this national park in Hawaii. As you wander around, you will find yourself discovering temples, wood carvings, and even Hawaiian green sea turtles that live inside the park. This is an excellent way to learn about the past of this island, but midday visits can be rather hot and sunny. So, it is best to be prepared with a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water.
One of the more unique activities when vacationing in Hawaii is swimming with the wild dolphins. Up along the Kona Coast, there are plenty of options for swimming with the spinner dolphins that are native to Hawaii.
One of the best places to find locally sourced foods on the Big Island of Hawaii is over at the Hilo Farmers Market. It is best to visit this farmer’s market on either Wednesday or Saturday, because that is when the most vendors are there. While you can find some amazing poke, shave ice, pineapples, and bananas at this market, it will be the bongo drums and jaboticaba fruit that will pique your interest the most. This is not the best place to grab quality souvenirs though, so we will need to make sure we schedule souvenir shopping for another time.
Snorkeling is one of the favorite activities at Kealakekua Bay, because you can see an array of sea turtles, spinner dolphins, and tropical fish. However, there is an abundance of history within this area as well. The Captain Cook Monument located across the bay is an excellent place to begin your historical journey. From there, you can wander around the park for a unique history lesson in a gorgeous natural setting.
Waipio Valley is a wonderful spot to relax and immerse yourself in nature. This valley is one mile wide and five miles deep, creating a beautiful setting amongst the massive cliffs that surround it. Over on the southern side of the valley, there is an overlook point you must visit. From there, you can see panoramic views of the entire area. One of the best ways to experience Waipio Valley is via horseback riding. However, you can also choose to do a strenuous hike or take a tour in a van instead.
These are the best things to do in Hawaii during your next family vacation. As I mentioned above, there are so many other things that will pique your interest when you are vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii. I would love to customize a Hawaiian vacation for you and your family, so you can see and do exactly what you want to when you are visiting this fabulous Hawaiian Island.
If you are, then I would like to invite you to schedule a planning session with me here. When you click this link, you will be taken directly to my digital calendar. You will easily be able to schedule a time that is most convenient for you.
And if you have not yet decided that the Big Island of Hawaii is the perfect spot for your next family vacation, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I would love to keep in touch, as I keep you updated with all things travel related in the future.
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