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Things to do on the Big Island

bigislandAs the biggest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, you would imagine that there are plenty of great things to do on the Big Island. This is not an inaccurate assumption. Home to spewing active volcanoes, plenty of gorgeous beaches, beautiful waterfalls, black sand galore the Big Island is full of great things to do.

While many people would be perfectly content kicking back on a nice beach somewhere and working on a tan, those looking to get out and explore a little more, there is a huge variety of different kinds of things to do on the Big Island, whether it be going for a hike, checking out lava tubes, camping or sipping on a Kona Brewing company beer.

>>Need a place to stay on the Big Island? Check out Hotels near Volcanoes National Park and Hotels near Kona

Visit Volcanoes National Park

volcanoesThe Big Island is home to the world’s most active volcano, and Volcanoes National Park is a must-see for visitors headed to the Big Island. With moon-like landscapes, lava tubes and even oozing magma, Volcanoes National Park is certain to pique everyone’s interest. There are plenty of fantastic hiking trails in the park and for those wanting to get adventures and spend a few days checking out Hawaii’s active volcanoes and red-hot lava, you can also go camping in Volcanoes National Park—just make sure you don’t bring home a lava rock. It’s bad luck.

>>Not sure you’re interested in pitching a tent, but want to stay close to the park? Check out Hotels near Volcanoes National Park

Take in the spectacular beauty of the Waipio Valley

waipo-valleyLocated on the windward side of the Big Island in the Hamakua Coast Area, which is nicknamed “Valley of the Kings” and was once the stomping grounds for Hawaiian royalty. Once you see this beautiful valley, you’ll easily see why the Kings choose to hang out here. While the valley is difficult to access, those who can brave the conditions can hike to one of the highest single waterfalls in the islands, hang out on the black sand beach or go horseback riding.

>>Read more about visiting Waipio Valley

Get rid of your tan lines at one of the Nude Beaches on the Big Island

nude-beachWhile sunbathing in the buff certainly isn’t for everyone, there are plenty of folks who like to strip out of that swimsuit and work on getting rid of those tan lines. For those who want to find a spot where they can ditch the suit and let it all hang out, the Big Island is home to a few nude friendly beaches.

>>Read more about Nude Beaches on the Big Island

Sip on a Castaway IPA at the Kona Brewing Company

konabeerMoving from craft beer Mecca Oregon, father and son Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa established the Kona Brewing Company on the Big Island in 1998. Today you can visit their original Brew Pub, sample their Hawaiian inspired beers and chow down on a menu of pizzas, salads and pub fare.

>>Read more about the Kona Brewing Company

Hike the to the bottom of Pololu Valley

pololuvalleyWhile thousand of tourists flock to Hawaii each year and never leave the comforts of their resort, there are also plenty of people who come to Hawaii in search for adventure and an off-the-beaten path experience. For those looking for the later, than a visit to the Pololu Valley on the Big Island is definitely a worthwhile trip. This valley is the northernmost of a series of majestic valleys that form the east coast of Kohala Mountain. There is a great hike to the valley floor and a beautiful black sand beach.

>>Read more about Pololu Valley

Stand on the Southernmost point in the USA at Ka Lae

ka-laeEven though you don’t really feel like you are in the U.S. anymore when you are vacationing in Hawaii, the Big Island is home to the southern most point in the country. Ka Lea, which means “the point” in Hawaiian, the rocky cliffs at this point make it a popular fishing spot and was once home to some of the earliest known Hawaiian settlements.

>>Read more about the Southernmost Point in the USA at Ka Lae

Stock up on Macadamia Nuts

macadamianutsHawaii produces 90% of the world’s supply of these delicious nuts and most of those are grown just outside of Kona. The same conditions that make for great coffee in this region of the Big Island, also are good for macadamia nuts. No trip to Hawaii would be complete without snacking on Macadamias, and you can make your friends hate you less when you come home with a rocking tan if you are armed with these delicious nuts.

>>Read more about Macadamia Nuts

Be awed by Akaka Falls

akaka-fallsWhen I think about Hawaii as I sit here at my desk, my head is immediately filled with images of sparkling blue waters, green velvet coated mountains and staggeringly tall waterfalls. Akaka Falls fits right into the imagery of Hawaii as a beautiful, unique and totally remarkable place.

>>Read more about Akaka Falls

Sip on a cup of freshly brewed Kona Coffee

konacoffeeeSometimes referred to as the champagne of coffee, the coffee that grows near Kona is known by coffee lovers the world around for its deliciously smooth, rich aroma and taste. Grown on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa, it would be a shame to visit the Big Island and not drink any of this magic elixir.

>>Read more about Kona Coffee. Staying near Kona? Check out Hotels near Kona.

Have a picnic or bring your kids to Spencer Beach Park

spencerbeachSpencer beach is a medium-to-small sized, crescent-shaped, white-sand beach. Large trees on the beach provide plenty of shade on both ends of the beach and along the back. There are picnic tables, showers, bathrooms, some barbecue grills, a basketball court, and a pavilion. Camping is also allowed here, for those interested in pitching a tent while on the Big Island. With calm surf and gentle waters, this beach is ideal for families and a relaxing day at the beach.

>>Read more about Spencer Beach Park

Check out the Pacific Tsunami Museum on a rainy afternoon

tsunamiEver since the huge tsunami wrecked havoc on SE Asia a few years ago, a lot of people have been interested in learning a lot more about tsunamis. At the tsunami museum in Hilo, you can learn more about the two tsunamis that damaged the Big Island in 1946 and 1960 and find out find out where the most recently recorded tsunami struck.

>>Read more about the Pacific Tsunami Museum

Get up close to Bengal tigers at the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo

zooWhile there is plenty of wildlife out in the world to see on the Big Island, those wanting to check out exotic and rare animals like a white Bengal tiger should head to the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo. The Hilo zoo is the only zoo in the country that makes its home in a tropical rain forest, and features more than 60 species of animals. Visitors can see monkeys, parrots, pygmy hippos, water buffalos, iguanas, sloths, butterflies, lemurs and giant tortoises. You can even see the Nene goose, Hawaii’s state bird, up close and personal. The highlight, however, remains the big white tiger.

>>Read more about the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo

Watch a sunset at Kaunaoa Beach

kaunaoa-beachKaunaoa beach (aka Mauna Kea Beach) is a large, perfect, crescent-shaped, powdery-white-sand beach fringed with palm trees. When you imagine the quintessential Hawaiian beach, this is the beach you would picture. The beach itself is sheltered and the waves are calm, making it a great place not only to catch a gorgeous sunset, but also go swimming.

>>Read more about Kaunaoa Beach

photos by ohdearbarab , heather’n’guy, hawaii dot com flickr