So it’s your first trip to the Island of Hawaii, and you’re trying to figure out the best way to maximize your stay. The Big Island boasts a plethora of activities and sightseeing opportunities to take in. Narrowing down your itinerary will be a task.
- Visit an Active Volcano- Hot, molten lava has been continually spewing out of Kilauea Volcano for more than 20 consecutive years, much of the time flowing directly into the sea on the Puna side of the Big Island. Visitors are allowed to hike near the flows to witness incredible displays of red, molten lava spilling into the ocean, often fountaining, spattering and oozing within yards of the viewing site. Conditions change daily, so check with park rangers for current eruptions updates and directions to the flow.
- Take a Kayak Tour of Kealakekua Bay- Pods of spinner dolphins frolic in this protected and historical bay located in South Kona. At the north end of the gulf, the Captain Cook monument area offers stellar snorkeling opportunities that can only be reached by kayak or by booking a snorkel cruise such as Fair Wind. Many places along the highway rent kayaks; Kona Boys in Kealakekua is a reputable surf/dive/kayak shop. Kayakers usually launch from Napoopoo Wharf, which can be tricky to maneuver depending on the tide level. A simple option is to rent kayaks from Ehu & Kai located in a private cove south of the wharf. Here you don’t have to load a kayak onto your car. Access to the water is safe and straightforward.
- Enjoy a Picnic at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau – An ancient place of refuge dating back to the 15th century, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is considered one the most sacred sites in the state of Hawaii. This national park presents unmatched scenery on the shores of Honaunau Bay. The original temple overlooking the bay, which has since been restored, once housed the bones of 23 chefs. The best-kept secret of the park, the picnic grounds to the south offer tables and barbecue areas adjacent to the rocky coastline. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a splendid sunset in an exquisite setting.
- Go Snorkeling at Kahaluu Beach Park Located in Keauhou near Kailua-Kona, Kahaluu Beach Park is known for its easy access and abundant sea life. Snorkel gear can be rented at the surf shop across the street. Gear comes in many types and sizes, so make sure you have a good fit. The store’s experts will help visitors accurately fit their mask and snorkel while providing insider tips about the bay.
- Watch the Manta Rays in the Surf-Manta rays come nightly to feed on plankton just below the Crystal Blue lounge at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. To attract the mantas, the resort shines the lights on the water from above. Visitors can enjoy a cocktail while viewing the mantras from the lanai.
- Go Coffee Tasting in the Kona Coffee BeltSeveral working coffee farms offer tours and tastings featuring 100-percent Kona coffee. Roadside kiosks and coffee shops are scattered along the upper highway from Holualoa Village to Honaunau. So