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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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Hilo 26

The Kona Coast 22

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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

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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 17 out of 17 Results

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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...

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.

Ka Lae (South Point)

  • Historic District/Site

It's thought that the first Polynesians came ashore at this southernmost point of land in the United States, also a National Historic...

Kaloko–Honokohau National Historical Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

The trails at this sheltered 1,160-acre coastal park near Honokohau Harbor, just north of Kailua-Kona, are popular with walkers and hikers.

Kalopa State Recreation Area

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

North of the old plantation town of Paauilo, at a cool elevation of 2,000 feet, lies this sweet 100-acre state park. There's a lush forested...

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

  • Beach–Sight

This underwater marine reserve is one of the most beautiful spots in the state. Dramatic cliffs surround super-deep, crystal-clear, turquoise...

Keokea Beach Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

A newly renovated pavilion (damaged in the 2006 quake) welcomes visitors to this seven-acre beach park fronting the rugged shore in North...

Kiholo State Park Reserve

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

One of the state park system's newest treasures, Kiholo Bay is still in the planning stage, so facilities are not yet complete. The brilliant...

Lapakahi State Historical Park

  • Historic District/Site

A self-guided, 1-mile walking tour leads through the ruins of the once-prosperous fishing village Koaie, which dates as far back as the...

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