How to Get Off the Beaten Path on the Big Island of Hawaii
Read MoreShow Less
Most visitors to the Big Island explore Volcano National Park and Mauna Kea and spend time on the Kona beaches. To escape the crowds—and see a different side of the island—go off the beaten path. Here are our picks of the top alternative attractions and things to do on the Big Island.
Green Sand Beach and South Point
There are plenty of white sand and black sand beaches on the Big Island, but there's only one green sand beach. Papakolea, located near South Point, is known for its olive-colored sand, formed from olivine from a nearby volcanic cinder cone. Reach the beach via a 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) hike from the end of South Point Road. Not far away from Papakolea is South Point, the southernmost point of the United States.
Farmers markets are a hidden gem on the Big Island and a great way to sample local favorites and pick up handmade souvenirs. There are farmers markets across the island. Popular options include the Hilo Farmers Market, Maku’u Farmers Market, Uncles Kaimu Farmers Market and Wednesday Night Market, Volcano Farmers Market, and the Kona Farmers Market.
There are two painted churches on the Big Island. The first, St. Benedict’s Painted Church, is on the Kona side, overlooking Kealakekua Bay. This small church has lavishly painted murals on the inside of the church walls, altar, and ceiling. The other church is Star of the Sea Painted Church in Kalapana, which has its own brightly painted interior.
The Big Island is well known for its coffee and macadamia nuts, but what’s less well known is that it's also a major producer of chocolate. Visit a cacao farm to learn more about how cacao is grown, harvested, and processed, and sample several types of chocolate in the process. Options include the Hamakua Chocolate Farm, the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, and Lavaloha Chocolate Farm.
7 Tours and Activities | All Big Island of Hawaii Tours
Create your ideal, private tour with a deluxe Mercedes van charter. Choose from a number of existing itineraries, or work with your guide to craft your perfect custom tour. Arrange to see the Big Island’s volcanoes, beaches, waterfalls, hiking trails and more. Or depending on your tastes, book to visit local macadamia nut farms, learn about native Hawaiian wildlife, or visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s up to you on this fully customizable, full-day, private tour.
Explore the Big Island without the stress of planning on a half–day tour with convenient, round–trip transport from your accommodation. In addition to navigating for you, your guide ensures you learn more than you could from a guidebook at highly–rated landmarks, from a hidden gem farmers’ market to a black sand beach. A small group size ensures the full attention of your guide and a personal experience.
Explore the fascinating world of active volcanism, biological diversity and past and present Hawaiian culture at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visit Kalapana, a village destroyed by advancing lava, and the black sand beach on the island. Learn about everything from active volcanic craters and steam vents to the historic Jagger Museum. Enjoy dinner at Volcano Winery, featuring a private tour with wine tasting, then watch for current activity at Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii. Hotel pickup and drop-off provide for a seamless experience.
Kailua-Kona is the capital of Hawaii’s Big Island and home to many historic and cultural sites. Take in some of the highlights on this tour, visiting three popular attractions. Enjoy a guided tour of the Greenwell Coffee Plantation including coffee tasting, visit the magnificent St Benedict’s Painted Church, and admire the scenery at the Place of Refuge (Pu'uhonua O Honaunau) National park.
- How to Get Off the Beaten Path on the Big Island of Hawaii
- How to Spend 3 Days on the Big Island
- How to Spend 1 Day on the Big Island
- Where to Stay on the Big Island of Hawaii
- Don't Miss These Must-Do Activities on the Big Island of Hawaii
- First-Timers Guide to the Big Island of Hawaii
- Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii This Summer