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Big Island Travel Guide

15 Things to Do Under $15 on Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Hawaii can get pretty pricey, between airfare, hotel rooms, food, and activities once you’re on the islands. Luckily, if you know where to look you can fill your days with excursions that won’t break your budget. All beaches in the state are public, so you can enjoy free swimming, walking, and sunbathing on any sandy strip. But for a unique Big Island experience, here are our favorite activities for under $15.

You’ll need a car for most of these (rentals start at $22 a day)—the Big Island has its name for a reason. This list starts on the Hilo side and travels north and west to the Kona side. For a full experience, we recommend visiting both sides of the island.

Other suggestions? Add your budget Big Island ideas in the comments. By Jess Moss

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
1 of 15

Watch volcanoes in action at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Location: Puna">and Kau

Cost: $10 per vehicle, $5 per individual on foot/bicycle

Learn more: Hawaii">

Jess Moss
2 of 15

Soak or swim in a thermally heated natural pool in Puna

Location: Puna

Cost: Free

Learn more: Ahalanui"> and Kapoho">

Jess Moss
3 of 15

Shop for local crafts, produce, and food at the Hilo Farmers’ Market

Location: Hilo

Cost: Free entry

Learn more: Hilo">

Tony Cataldo / iStockPhoto
4 of 15

Take in the views on a scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast

Location: Hamakua">

Cost: Free

Learn more: Hamakua">

Sunny Takeishi/BIVB
5 of 15

Gaze at the sunrise, sunset, or stars from the summit of Mauna Kea

Location: Mauna">

Cost: Free

Learn more: Mauna">

Jess Moss
6 of 15

Learn the paniolo (cowboy) way at Anna Ranch in Waimea

Location: Waimea

Cost: $10

Learn more: Anna">

Kirk Lee Aeder/Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority
7 of 15

Go snorkeling from the shore to see colorful coral and sea life

Location: Whole island

Cost: Free plus around $7 for daily gear rental

Learn more: Big">

Courtesy National Park Service
8 of 15

Learn about King Kamehameha at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site

Location: Kohala">

Cost: Free

Learn more: Puukohola">

James L. Wing
9 of 15

Join a nightly manta ray talk and viewing at Sheraton Keauhou

Location: Kailua-Kona

Cost: Free (and open to non-hotel guests)

Learn more: Sheraton">

Jess Moss
10 of 15

Sip a local brew and listen to live music at Kona Brewing Co.

Location: Kailua-Kona

Cost: $4.25-$5.25 per glass, $9 for a sampler of 4 beers

Learn more: Kona">

Jess Moss
11 of 15

Spot birds and sea turtles on a coastal walk at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

Location: Kailua-Kona

Cost: Free

Learn more: Kaloko-Honokohau">

Tor Johnson/Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority
12 of 15

Tour a Kona coffee farm and see how coffee is harvested and produced

Location: Kona">

Cost: Free for most tours

Learn more: Kona">

Jess Moss
13 of 15

Explore a safe haven for ancient law-breakers at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Location: Kona">

Cost: $5 per vehicle, $3 per individual on foot/bicycle

Learn more:

Tor Johnson/Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority
14 of 15

Fuel up like a local by ordering an ono (delicious) plate lunch

Location: Whole island

Cost: Around $7 to $10

Learn more: Plate">

Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ)
15 of 15

Have a picnic lunch on a black (or green) sand beach

Location: Kau

Cost: Free

Learn more: Punaluu"> and Papakolea">