The Big Island of Hawaii: Top Attractions and Things to Do


If you think you know everything about the wonders of Hawaii, think again. The Island of Hawaii, more commonly referred to as the Big Island, is extremely popular as a travel destination. Every year, numerous tourists visit this iconic location and leave it lasting impact in their minds. The island has everything that a traveler would ever wish to witness, ranging from raging volcanoes to soothing beaches. The greatexcellent dynamics of the landscape, coupled with the sensational greenery, make the entire archipelago a truly striking place to visit. In this article, we have listed some of the most breathtaking features of the Big Island that will surely entice you to plan a trip there right away!

The ‘Akaka and Kahuna Falls

Among the many emblematic Big Island waterfalls, the ‘Akaka and Kahuna Falls reign supreme. Both are situated in the ‘Akaka Falls State Park, so a single visit to the location will lead you to the most iconic waterfalls in the entire region. What’s more fascinating is that a trail leads to the falls, which will allow you to get a trekking experience in the process. The trail begins at a dedicated parking lot (another plus point), is paved in most places, and is only about half a mile long.

As you gradually reach the end of the trail, you will begin to see glimpses of the mighty ‘Akaka. It is a free-falling waterfall that has a drop height of 442 feet, which is remarkable for any body of water in that region of the world. The trail ends at a place from where you will be able to get a wide, panoramic view of the falls – something which you must not miss by any means.

Many tourists who visit the ‘Akaka Falls State Park do not make the effort of seeing the Kahuna Falls due to time constraints. However, we suggest you make the visit, as the Kahuna is unique in its way. The water does not fall directly but goes through several rocky breaks before ending at the Kolekole stream underneath.

The Mauna Kea – Hawaii’s Tallest Mountain

If you have any idea about astronomy and stargazing, chances are, you have already heard of the Mauna Kea Observatory. This scientific research facility is located at the summit of the highest mountain of Hawaii: the Mauna Kea.

A Visitor Information Station is situated at 9,200 feet, while the summit is at 13,800 feet. Paying a visit there would require a four-wheel-drive vehicle as the path is quite steep and long. In addition, the temperatures at the top are very cold in contrast to the conditions at the bottom. However, the view of the sky from the very top is nothing less than a surreal experience, which drives massive numbers of tourists to the top every day.

The Hilo Farmers Market

If you want a traditional experience of Hawaii, the best option is to visit the Hilo Farmers Market. It is a local bazaar, situated in the famed downtown of Hilo, that hosts over 200 local vendors. These people sell local produce, flowers, handicrafts, and various Hawaiian souvenirs. In addition, special events are arranged annually, monthly, and even weekly. Do a little research on the Hilo Hula Tuesdays and see what amazing things the locals come up with during such events.

The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Many history experts travel to the Big Island to visit the legendary Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. It, arguably, is the best place to learn about the deep traditions of the island. The temple site located at the park is a replica of the original one, which was restored and remodeled by the national park authorities back in the 18th century.

There is a gigantic wall at the temple, which was needed to keep refugees safe back in the day. In the past century, repairs were performed twice on the wall. The damaged and missing portions were filled with replica koa wood carvings that are still proudly sustaining the structure’s integrity to this day.

On top of that, the estate contains a dock for the royal canoes. This place has stones that age back to when the royal families used to spend time playing Konane (a traditional game in Hawaii) on them. The legendary incident where the Queen got discovered by her enemies due to her dog barking out loud also took place in that exact location. For all these reasons, historians regard the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park as one of the biggest attractions on the Big Island.

The Waipio Valley Overlook

Situated around 50 miles north of Hilo, the Waipio Valley Overlook is a dazzling landscape that promises to amaze you with its astonishing natural beauty and elegance. The valley runs through the Kohala Mountains – making it difficult to approach from either land or sea. Yet, it is one of the most magical parts of the Hawaiian islands.

The Waipio is filled with fruits and vegetables like papayas, bananas, avocados, mangoes, and so much more. The landscape is quite colorful when witnessed from the overlook as the valley floor is teeming with plants like hibiscus, orchid, and ginger.

Visitors can go down into the valley via a steep, winding road, although most rental companies do not allow the vehicle to go to the very bottom. If that is the case, you can leave your vehicle at the last point and hike the rest of the way. However, make sure that you know what you will be getting into. The way up is not as easy as the way down.

Final Words

Planning a vacation in Hawaii is one of the best travel decisions you will ever make. The Big Island has everything that a travel enthusiast would desire, as briefly described in this article. However, there are more. Unless you pay a visit on your own, you would not be able to fully grasp the true essence of spending a vacation on the Big Island. Therefore, we suggest you devise a plan and just head out!