The Island of Hawai‘i
The Big Island of Hawai‘i proves that size does, indeed, matter. This youngest of the Hawaiian Islands also is the largest, thanks in large part to its most-active volcano, Kilauea, which continues to add to the Big Island’s land mass through steady lava flows that travel from the crater to the sea.
Visitors can witness Madam Pele, the fiery volcano goddess, in all her glory through a magnitude of ways, be it on a highflying helicopter ride over red-hot lava fields at night or on a heart-pumping bike ride that visits the rim of the caldera before descending into a tropical rainforest.
Though far less showy, the Big Island’s other volcanoes also provide an awe-inspiring experience for those ambitious enough to make the trip. At the snow-topped summit of Mauna Kea lies the largest astronomical observatory in the world, while a labyrinth of caves, canyons and coral reefs can be found in the ocean waters under Mauna Loa (which happens to be the largest volcanic mountain in the world!).
The Big Island also is home to a few other “big-ticket” adventures. Go ziplining past waterfalls and mountain cliffs; hunt 200-pound deer or Polynesian boars on a working cattle ranch; explore the island from the back of a horse or ATV; or get up close with colorful marine life, including exotic fish, dolphins and manta rays.
Those who like things a little tamer can opt to take a scenic tour of a local farm, walk along a black-sand beach, escape to a seaside yoga retreat, soak in a natural hot spring or get a oneon-one golf lesson at one of the best golf schools in the U.S.
This time of year also is prime whale-watching season, when thousands of humpback whales make the long journey from Alaska to Hawaiian waters, along the way displaying some amazing behaviors visible from shoreline lookouts or the safety of a chartered cruise.
And for those who are big on culture and food, don’t worry— between local farmers’ markets, fine-dining establishments, mom-and-pop stores, coffee plantations, historic homes and miles upon miles of coastal highway, there’s no shortage of things to do and see.
That’s where this guide comes in. To help make this very big island a little more manageable, we’ve sorted through all there is to do and compiled a list of the top 101 activities, destinations and attractions.
If your stay with us is just too short to jam everything in this time around, don’t worry—you can always return for another super-sized adventure! We’ll be eagerly waiting to welcome you back with 101 Things to Do.