If you’ve chosen to spend your vacation on Hawaii’s Big Island, you’ve made a great choice! With the same lush natural setting as more popular spots in Hawaii, but quieter and less busy, you’ll have a relaxing time and still have plenty to do in Big Island. Here are some fun activities to experience the uniqueness of Big Island firsthand.
See the Stars:
What could be a better way to spend a summer night than gazing up at the stars? On Big Island, away from the big city lights, a hike up to the summit of Maunakea offers a perfect view of the stars at one of its 13 astronomical observatories. For a guided view of the night sky, star tours are also available starting from the Visitor Information Station. July and August are good times to Venus and Jupiter as they rise in the east, but you’ll have to be up early (or stay up late) as the best time to see them is at 3 a.m.!
The next day after your hike, a visit to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii can give you more information on the stars you’ve seen through the 3-D planetarium shows, museum exhibits and educational resources. You’ll also learn about the special significance of the stars in culture of Hawaii. And this summer on Friday’s nights there’s even a 3-D planetarium Rock Show featuring the music of Led Zeppelin.
Visit a Volcano:
If as a child you were ever obsessed with volcanoes, or if you have a little one who is, now’s your chance to actually see one up close. A visit to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will allow you to smell the smoke and feel the heat at Big Island’s Kïlauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Lava Ocean Adventures offers tours to see the lava by boat or by hike.
Learn About (and taste!) Big Island’s Local Produce:
If you love coffee as much as I do then Big Island is a good place to be; it is known around the world for its coffee production. Visit the coffee fields of Big Island to see how your morning cup of coffee starts out. In the village of Pähala, at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill learn about the process of growing and producing coffee beans and life on the coffee farm. After you can take home some coffee of your own. In November, Big Island celebrates the annual Kona coffee harvest with music, cupping and barista competitions, and tastings of the best coffees straight from the farms. You can also tour local farms and see artwork inspired by the harvest and growing of the coffee.
This summer a new beekeeping museum is opening on Big Island. Explore the techniques, skills, and equipment beekeepers use to produce honey. You can watch the bees work in an observation hive, try on a beekeeping suit, and see how a bee hive is put together. Next visit the tasting room to taste samples of the honey, and view apisculptures, by artist and beekeeper, Garnett Puett.
Experience Big Island like a beach boy at the Kona Boys Beach Shack at Kamakahonu Bay.
They’ll outfit with everything you need and guide you through a morning of play on the beach, including a kayak tour, snorkeling adventure, and stand-up paddleboarding. In between acvities relax on the beach with the comfy beach chairs and umbrellas set up by the water, and enjoy the included lunch and drinks.
View the scenery of Big Island in an extreme way with a Skyline Eco-Adventures zipline tour. You’ll see tropical forests, the river valley, and even soar over a 250-foot waterfall, and other views as you navigate the seven-zipline course.
Enjoy your trip to Big Island!
Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Lee Aeder