Hawai’i's Big Island is one gigantic playing ground! You can indulge in many activities set against stunning surroundings all over the island that can easily fill your whole month. Some of the reasons for the Big Island’s outdoor fame are the following:
- There are hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline for swimmers, snorkelers and surfers
- The five volcanoes offer stunning and ever changing landscapes for the stargazers, hikers and bikers
- The Kona (west) side of the island is known for its world-class golf-courses and whale watching
- The Hilo (east) side boasts lush rainforest hikes, cascading waterfalls, hot springs and easily accessible red-hot flowing lava.
List of outdoor activities on Hawaii’s Big Island
But those activities only scratch the surface! Whichever side of the Big Island you find yourself, the island will present you with one adventure after another. Select any of the Big Island Activities listed below and find your own adventure.
The Beaches are one of the main attractions of the Big Island, and are great for being lazy, snorkeling, surfing or what not! Here you can find world-class white sand beaches, but also black sand beaches and even a green sand beach! Read more about the Beaches on the Big Island.
If you like to bike, you can rent a bike to explore the island on your own leisure. Biking is a low-key and relaxing (except if you are biking up the volcano) way to explore Hawaii. Read more about Biking on the Big Island.
There are campsites and beach parks around the whole Big Island where you can pitch your tent and “really” be outdoors. Read more about Camping on the Big Island.
Farmers markets are one of the little known gems of the Big Island of Hawaii. They are spread over the whole island and with only a little planning you can stop by one for breakfast, lunch or souvenir shopping on your itinerary around the island. Read more about Farmers Markets on the Big Island.
The Big Island is known as the golf capital of the state, and Kona is in the heart of it. Some of the biggest names in course design have carved championship golf courses into the island that will call you back to the green – again and again. Read more about Golfing on the Big Island.
The Big Island hides many of its awe-inspiring wonders behind obstacles that are impassable and are impossible to see – except through the air! Think about the hidden waterfalls or fresh lava flows, and what about the lava lakes in the Halema’uma’u and Pu’u O’o craters the Kilauea volcano? Read more about taking a helicopter tour on the Big Island.
The Big Island hosts some GREAT hikes through barren lava fields, lush rainforests or to secluded beaches. Or do you feel like hiking through a crates that was filled with lava only 50 years ago? That is also possible! Read more about Hiking on the Big Island.
Several ranches around Waimea offer the opportunity to explore their (often very large) range as part of a guided tour of the pastures with spectacular views of the coastline and peaks. It is also possible to make it of the range and explore other spectacular parts of the island, such as Waipi’o valley. Learn more about horseback riding on the Big Island.
There are several hot springs / hot ponds in the Puna district on the east coast of the Big Island. Most are publicly accessible and especially if you are staying more than 7 days on the Big Island, these make a great addition to your itinerary!. Learn more about hot ponds on the Big Island.
Both Hilo and Volcano Village are well suited to use as a base when you want to go and see the lava. Hilo is closer to the lava flows in Kalapana, while Volcano village is literally around the corner of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Read more about lava viewing on the Big Island.
Manta-Ray Night Dive
The famous Kona Manta Ray Night Dive is one of the most memorable dives around the planet, and is one of the activities on Hawaii that you shouldn’t miss. Read more about the Manta Ray night dive.
Picnicking is fun, and can add much value to your vacation on the Big Island. With a little preparation, such as packing a cooler with cold drinks and pū-pū’s, a picnic fits perfectly between the activities you plan in the morning and the afternoon. Read more about picnicking on the Big Island.
Scuba diving on Hawaii is a great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the Big Island underwater paradise on your own. The underwater world around all Hawaiian Islands is a #1 destination for Scuba divers world wide. Read more about Big Island Scuba Diving.
Hawaii is famous for its warm tropical waters and extremely diverse marine life. The waters around the Big Island are teeming with tropical fish of every size and color, and snorkeling is the perfect way to explore this beautiful underwater world. Read more about Snorkeling on the Big Isand.
Hawaii is one of the world’s best places for stargazing, and there are many stargazing options that fit in your itinerary on the Big Island; from a (free) nighttime picnic to an adventurous visit to the world class telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea (were you can also find daily free stargazing tours). Read more about Stargazing on the Big Island
Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP)
Stand up paddle surfing (SUP), or in the Hawaiian language Hoe he’e nalu, is an emerging global sport with a Hawaiian heritage. Kona is a great place to try it out. Read more about SUP.
Swim with Dolphins
Swimming with the dolphins on the Big Island can be done by people of all ages and swimming skills. Those that have done it describe it as an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime. Do not forget to take your (waterproof) camera. Read more about swimming with dolphins on the Big Island.
Hawaii is literally the birth-place of surfing and the Big Island offers surfing for all levels. If you have never experienced the thrill of riding a wave, why not sign up for a surfing class at a local surf school? Read more about surfing on the Big Island.
One way to have fun AND do good at the same time, is to become an volunteer on Hawaii! Giving something back to mother nature is guaranteed to be a memorable experience and, besides, it will take you to wilderness that few other visitors (and locals for that matter) will ever experience! Read more about the volunteering opportunities on the Big Island.
Hawaii is a great place to go whale watching during in the period between December and May, and the Big Island is one of the most popular Hawaiian Islands for Whale watching. Read more about whale watching on the Big Island.
Ziplining is an activity where you are attached with a harness to a rope that is strung between a high and a low point. The ziplines are built high above scenic areas and features such ravines, jungles, meadows, and forests, and there are plenty of those on the Big Island. Read more about Ziplining on the Big Island.