Big Island Travel | Things To Do

Hawaii’s Big Island is one of my favorite islands to visit. It is the largest and most diverse of the Hawaiian Islands. It is home to four of the five major climate zones, making each day of your visit as diverse and exciting as the next. There is no shortage of activities from pristine beaches to rugged hikes, there are things to do for everyone. Here are some of my favorite things to do!

Black, green, or white, there is no shortage of colorful, one of a kind beaches to explore on the Big Island. For a quintessential Hawaiian beach, Hapuna Beach on the northern part of the island is beautiful. Its pristine white sand and crystal clear water is truly paradise. It is easy to get to and has plenty of parking.

One of only a few green sand beaches in the world, Papakolea Green Sand Beach is a definite must to check off the bucket list. It is a bit more difficult to get to than Hapuna Beach. You either need a sturdy four wheel drive car or there are locals at the parking area that will take you to the beach in their trucks for a $15 round trip charge (I highly recommend paying the fee, there is no way our rental car would have made that rocky off road trail).

You can't visit the Big Island without going to a black sand beach. Punalu'u Beach is the most popular and is easy to access. It offers great snorkeling and there are always sea turtles basking on the beach along side you or swimming in the water.
Top- Hapuna Beach / Middle- Sea Turtle at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach / Bottom- Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

There is no better place to souvenir shop or check out the local produce than the numerous farmer’s markets around the island. The Hilo Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to try tropical produce and tasty prepared foods (pai thai, spring rolls, etc). They also have a large selection of local craft vendors that make great souvenirs to bring back home.

As large and vast as the Big Island is, most of it still remains untouched and undeveloped. It is the perfect place to explore the outdoors and appreciate nature. There are a number of different hikes that lead you to the most amazing hidden gems. Pololu Valley is a short steep hike (30 minutes) that takes you to a valley straight out of Jurassic Park on one side and a gorgeous black sand beach on the opposite side.

You can't visit the Big Island without viewing the active volcanoes. Volcanoes National Park offers terrific easy trails that shows you all aspects of the volcano. It's very informative and surreal.
Top- Pololu Valley / Middle- Sulfur Banks at Volcanoes National Park / Bottom- Volcanoes National Park

To me, the best part of any vacation is trying the local cuisine. Hawaii is a melting pot of a ton of different cultures and it shows in its food. Poke is a must when you visit Hawaii. There is no place to get fresher seafood. If you love sushi, you will love poke. Umeke’s in Kona has a great fresh selection with large portions. 

Malasadas are a staple in Hawaii. These Portuguese donuts are light and delicious. Punalu’u Bakery is the southernmost bakery in the US. It is the perfect stop on your way to one of the colored sand beaches.

The original Big Island Shave Ice Co has the best shave ice on the island. I know what you are thinking, how can once shave ice be better than another, it’s ice. I don’t know how they do it but the consistency is  far superior and the flavors are not sugary or artificial like some of the other places I’ve tried . 

What are your favorite things to do on the Big Island? Please share!

Thanks for reading!
xo, Jen

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