Big Island Sights

Nicknamed "The Big Island," Hawaii Island is a microcosm of Hawaii the state. From long white-sand beaches and crystal-clear bays to rain forests, waterfalls, valleys, exotic flowers, and birds, all things quintessentially Hawaii are well represented here.

An assortment of happy surprises also distinguishes the Big Island from the rest of Hawaii—an active volcano (Kilauea) oozing red lava

and creating new earth every day, the clearest place in the world to view stars in the night sky (Mauna Kea), and some seriously good coffee from the famous Kona district, and also from neighboring Kau.

Home to 8 of the world’s 13 sub-climate zones, this is the land of fire (thanks to active Kilauea volcano) and ice (compliments of not-so-active Mauna Kea, topped with snow and expensive telescopes). At just under a million years old, Hawaii is the youngest of the main Hawaiian Islands. Three of its five volcanoes are considered active: Mauna Loa, Hualalai, and Kilauea. The Southeast Rift Zone of Kilauea has been spewing lava regularly since January 3, 1983; another eruption began at Kilauea's summit caldera in March 2008, the first since 1982. Back in 1984, Mauna Loa's eruptions crept almost to Hilo, and it could fire up again any minute—or not for years. Hualalai last erupted in 1801, and geologists say it will definitely do so again within 100 years. Mauna Kea is currently considered dormant but may very well erupt again. Kohala, which last erupted some 120,000 years ago, is inactive, but on volatile Hawaii Island, you can never be sure.

Most of the more than 2,200 plant species found in the Hawaiian Islands are not native to Hawaii. The red-and-green lobster claw is originally from South America.

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Hilo 26

The Kona Coast 22


North Kona 3

South Kona and Kealakekua Bay 19

The Kohala Coast 16

Kailua-Kona 14

The Hamakua Coast 13

Puna 9

Kau and Ka Lae 8

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Vicinity 6

Waimea 5

Mauna Kea 3

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 6

Bath/ Hot Spring 1

Beach–Sight 32

Body Of Water/ Waterfall 5

Building/ Architectural Site 1

Castle/ Palace/ Chateau 1

Cave 2

Cemetery 1

Farm/ Ranch 7

Forest 1

Garden/ Arboretum 7

Historic District/ Site 7

Hotel–Sight 1

Industrial Site/ Mill/ Factory 2

Information Center 2

Island 1

Local Interest–Sight 2

Marina/ Pier/ Dock 2

Market/ Bazaar 1

Memorial/ Monument/ Tomb 4

Military Site 1

Mountain–Sight 1

Museum/ Gallery 9

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 1

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 1

Neighborhood/ Street 2

Observatory/ Planetarium 3

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 20

Park/ Playground 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 8

Scenic Drive/ Tour 1

Sports Venue 1

Store/ Shop/ Mall 2

Tour–Sight 6

Town/ Village 7

Trail/ Path 2

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 2

Volcano 1

Winery/ Brewery/ Distillery 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 2

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Family 21

Historical 3

Big Island Sights

Showing 106 out of 106 Results

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Umauma Falls & Zip Line Experience

  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

The only place to see the triple-tier Umauma Falls, this kid-friendly 200-acre park has 14 waterfalls and a classy visitor center. Like...

Volcano Farmers' Market

  • Market/Bazaar

Local produce, flowers, crafts, and food products, including fresh-baked breads, pastries, coffee, and homemade Thai specialties, are...

Volcano Garden Arts

  • Museum/Gallery

This delightful gallery and garden lend credence to Volcano's reputation as an artists' haven. Located on beautifully landscaped grounds...

Volcano Winery

  • Winery/Brewery/Distillery

Volcanic soil may not seem ideal for the cultivation of grapes, but that hasn't stopped this winery from producing some interesting vintages...

W. M. Keck Observatory Headquarters Visitor Center

  • Observatory/Planetarium

Visit the Waimea-based headquarters of the twin Keck Observatory 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes (the largest and most scientifically...

Wailoa Center

  • Museum/Gallery

In Wailoa State Recreation Area, a beautiful park setting in downtown Hilo, this circular exhibition center mounts monthly shows featuring...

Wailuku River State Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

After a hard rain, these impressive falls thunder into the Wailuku River gorge, often creating magical rainbows in the mist. Rainbow...

Waiolena and Wailua Beach Parks and Richardson Ocean Center

  • Beach–Sight

Just east of Hilo, almost at the end of the road, three adjacent parks make up one beautiful spot with a series of bays, protected inlets,...

Waipio Valley

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Bounded by 2,000-foot cliffs, the "Valley of the Kings" was once a favorite retreat of Hawaiian royalty. Waterfalls drop 1,200 feet from...

World Botanical Gardens & Zip Line

  • Tour–Sight

Just off the highway, this garden park is on more than 300 acres of former sugarcane land. With wide views of the countryside and the...


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