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Hawaii Vacation Secrets: 5 Must-Dos on the Big Island

By: Volcano Ohana | November 4th, 2023

The Big Island of Hawaii is a mesmerizing destination that offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. From stunning beaches and lush rainforests to volcanic landscapes and cultural sites, there’s something for everyone. While the island is known for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures, one highlight stands out: Volcanoes National Park. In this blog, we’ll explore the top five things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, with Volcanoes National Park taking a well-deserved place in the list.

For a truly personalized and unforgettable adventure, consider Volcano Ohana’s Private customizable van tours. These tours allow you to explore any of the top spots on the Big Island that you’d like, tailored to your preferences and interests. All you need to do is reach out via phone call ‭+1 (808) 940-9611‬ or book online, and you can customize your Big Island adventure prior to the tour. It’s the perfect way to ensure that your visit to this diverse and captivating island is tailored to your desires and expectations. Whether you’re interested in exploring the volcanic wonders of the National Park, snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay, hiking to Akaka Falls, or stargazing at Mauna Kea, Volcano Ohana’s customizable van tours can make it happen, ensuring a memorable and personalized experience.

1. Explore Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park, situated on the southeastern side of the Big Island, is an absolute must-visit. This park is home to two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, and offers a unique opportunity to witness the raw power of nature in action.

As fellow visitors of Volcanoes National park we recommend starting your adventure at the Kīlauea Visitor Center, where you can learn about the park’s geology, history, and safety guidelines. Then, set out to explore the Crater Rim Drive, a 10.6-mile scenic route that takes you past numerous volcanic wonders. You can hike to viewpoints overlooking the Kīlauea Caldera, visit the Thurston Lava Tube, and explore the fascinating Chain of Craters Road.

However for an eco-friendly and more immersive way to explore the park, consider joining Volcano Ohana’s e-bike tours or renting e-bikes. These electric bikes provide a convenient and eco-conscious way to traverse the park’s beautiful landscapes. The e-bikes can help you cover more ground with less effort, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the volcanic wonders around you. Volcano Ohana’s e-bike tour of the National Park includes knowledgeable guides who are not only well-versed in the park’s geology and history but are also passionate about sharing their insights with you. They’ll ensure that your journey through the park is not only informative but also an engaging and memorable experience.

The park is ever-changing, with eruptions and lava flows creating new landscapes. Be sure to check with the visitor center for the latest information and safety precautions before embarking on your journey!

2. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay, located on the western coast of the Big Island, is a haven for marine life and a paradise for snorkelers. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, and even the occasional dolphin or sea turtle. If you’re planning to visit this stunning location, you can find more information about Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on the official Hawaii government website.

A popular way to explore the bay is by taking a guided snorkeling tour. Knowledgeable guides can lead you to the best spots, provide equipment, and offer insights into the underwater world. Alternatively, you can rent snorkel gear and explore at your own pace.

In addition to snorkeling, the area is rich in history. Captain James Cook made his first contact with Hawaiians in Kealakekua Bay in 1779, and a white obelisk on the shore marks the location of his monument. Take a moment to appreciate the history and natural beauty of this stunning bay.

3. Hike to Akaka Falls

For a taste of Hawaii’s lush, tropical beauty, head to Akaka Falls State Park on the northeastern side of the Big Island. The park is famous for its scenic waterfall, Akaka Falls, which plummets 442 feet into a gorge surrounded by lush rainforest.

A short half-mile loop trail takes you through the rainforest, allowing you to view both Akaka Falls and Kahūnā Falls, another picturesque waterfall in the park. The trail is well-maintained and provides opportunities for wildlife spotting and enjoying the serene sounds of the rainforest.

The lush surroundings make this hike a serene and refreshing experience, and it’s a wonderful contrast to the volcanic landscapes found in other parts of the island.

4. Visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, also known as the Place of Refuge, is a sacred site that offers a glimpse into ancient Hawaiian culture and history. Located on the western coast of the island, this park was a place of sanctuary for those who had broken Hawaiian laws, providing a chance for redemption and protection from punishment.

The park is beautifully preserved and features reconstructed traditional Hawaiian structures, including heiau (temples) and ki’i (wooden statues). Explore the royal grounds, picnic areas, and enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters of Honaunau Bay. The calm waters are excellent for observing marine life and coral formations.

As you wander through this historic site, take a moment to connect with Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage and the importance of preserving its traditions. If you’re preparing to explore this magnificent spot, you’ll discover further details visit the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park website. 

5. Experience the Magic of Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island, is not only the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base on the ocean floor, but it’s also an astronomical wonder. Located at over 13,000 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea is home to some of the world’s most advanced observatories.

Stargazing at Mauna Kea is an otherworldly experience, with the thin, dry air and lack of light pollution providing excellent conditions for viewing the night sky. Many visitors opt to join guided stargazing tours led by knowledgeable astronomers who can point out constellations, planets, and distant galaxies through powerful telescopes.

Keep in mind that the altitude can be challenging, so it’s important to acclimate properly, hydrate, and take it easy while visiting the summit. Dress warmly, as temperatures can drop significantly after dark.


The Big Island of Hawaii offers an incredible range of activities, from exploring active volcanoes to snorkeling in pristine waters, and immersing in its rich history and culture. While these are just a few of the many experiences the island has to offer, they provide a great starting point for any traveler looking to make the most of their visit. In conclusion, remember to plan ahead and check local conditions and regulations, especially when visiting Volcanoes National Park, as volcanic activity can impact accessibility and safety. Embrace the unique and diverse beauty of the Big Island, ensuring you create lasting memories on this remarkable island paradise. And for those seeking an even more personalized and memorable adventure, don’t forget to consider Volcano Ohana’s Private customizable van tours, offering tailor-made experiences. If you’re in need of comfortable accommodations while exploring the Big Island, check out Volcano Ohana’s vacation rental. This 2-bedroom, 1-bath rental comfortably accommodates up to six guests and includes WiFi, ensuring a convenient and cozy stay for all travelers. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

Volcano Ohana Vacation Rental
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  • Primary Bedroom: Queen Bed, Pack & Play Crib
  • Secondary Bedroom Queen Bed, Twin Bunk Bed
  • Kitchenette: Refrigerator, Microwave Oven, & Air Fryer
  • Full Bathroom: Tub/Shower Unit
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