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Plan Your Trip to Island of Hawaii: Best of Island of Hawaii Tourism

Island of Hawaii
Life on Hawaii’s Big Island is laid-back—and locals like it that way. Its natural beauty is a draw for nature lovers and outdoorsy types. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the longest volcanic eruption in recorded history, or climb to the summit of Mauna Kea. After a long day, there’s nothing better than a plate of fresh local poke, followed by the Island’s signature fruity shaved ice.

Travel Advice

Essential Island of Hawaii

A first-timer's guide to the Island of Hawaii

Lava fields, palm-shaded beaches, and how to get the most from both coasts
Read on

6 outdoor adventures on the Island of Hawaii

Although I live in Oahu, when I want an adventure in untouched nature, I often hop over to the Island of Hawaii. The stunning landscapes—volcanoes, waterfalls, rugged hiking trails, multi-hued beaches—combined with only-here outdoor experiences, make it a welcome escape. These are a few of my favourite ways to explore the outdoors on the Island of Hawaii.
Charlene Fang, Florida Keys, FL
  • Papakolea Green Sand Beach
    Yes, you read that right: Papakolea is a rare green-sand beach (it’s one of only four in the world). Formed by a volcanic eruption 50,000 years ago, unique olivine crystals combined with black lava and white sand give this special spot a verdant glow. Accessing the beach is challenging—a 2.5-mile hike down steep terrain—but it’s worth the effort. (Note: The waters can be turbulent, so stick to wading and sun bathing.)
  • Mauna Kea Summit
    Known as the "white mountain," this nearly 14,000-foot peak gives you a completely different perspective of the island (there’s even snow here!). Although you can rent a 4x4 and self-drive, I prefer to leave the driving to Hawaii Forest & Trail. This company’s tours include day trips, but I prefer the evening ones with sunset viewing against snowy peaks and stargazing through a Stellina digital telescope, all while a knowledgeable local guide “talks story” about Hawaiian history and shares fun facts about Mauna Kea’s endangered dry forest.
  • Night Manta Ray Experience
    I’ve spotted manta rays in the wild before, but actually swimming with massive reef manta rays at night as they gracefully feed on plankton? Now that’s a truly mesmerising experience. I can guarantee you that suiting up in wetsuits and swimming in the dark in Keauhou Bay with fish that have a wingspan of 18 feet is a holiday memory for the ages.
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    I could spend days exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Home to two active volcanoes—Kilauea and Mauna Loa—the park also has 150 miles of trails that lead through diverse landscapes including rainforests, active lava flows, volcanic craters, and steam vents, and even down a lava tube formed by a 2,000-degree lava flow. Don’t go without stopping by the Kilauea Caldera: Though there’s no active lava flow, the deep crater is a must-see.
  • Kulaniapia Falls
    There are more waterfalls on this island than you can see in one visit, but if I had to choose just one, it’s Kulaniapia Falls. Located within the private grounds of the Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, visitors can access the 120-foot waterfall with a day pass that allows swimming, walking through the lush property, and views of three other smaller falls. The pass also offers discounts for other experiences like waterfall abseiling and farm tours.

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