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

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Akaka Falls State Park

  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

A paved, 10-minute loop trail (approximately ½ mile) takes you to the best spots to see the spectacular cascades of Akaka. The majestic...

Anaehoomalu Bay

  • Beach–Sight

Also known as "A-Bay," this expansive stretch of white sand, classically fringed with coco palms, fronts the Waikoloa Beach Marriott...

Anna Ranch Heritage Center

  • Building/Architectural Site

This stunning heritage property, on the National Register of Historic Places, belonged to the "first lady" of Hawaii ranching, Anna Lindsey...

Captain Cook Monument

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

On February 14, 1779, famed English explorer Captain James Cook was killed here during an apparent misunderstanding with local residents.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

  • Beach–Sight

One of Hawaii's finest beaches, Hapuna is a ½-mile-long stretch of white perfection. The turquoise water is calm in summer with just...

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

Kilauea Volcano has been spewing lava rather dramatically since its current eruption began in 1984, and it shows no signs of abating.

Hulihee Palace

  • Castle/Palace/Chateau

A lovely two-story oceanfront home surrounded by jewel-green grass and elegant coco palms and fronted by an elaborate wrought-iron gate,...

Imiloa Astronomy Center

  • Observatory/Planetarium

Part Hawaiian cultural center, part astronomy museum, this center provides an educational and cultural complement to the research being...

Kamakahonu and Ahuena Heiau

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

In the early 1800s, King Kamehameha the Great built a royal compound at Kamakahonu, the bay fronting what is now the Courtyard King Kamehameha...

Kapoho Tide Pools

  • Beach–Sight

Snorkelers will find abundant coral reefs and the fish that live within them in this large network of tide pools at the end of Kapoho-Kai...


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