There are a lot of great things about taking a trip to Hawaii, the biggest island in the Hawaiian chain. One of the best things about its size is that it offers a broad range of different things to do; there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes. Here is a sample of what we think are the best things to do on the Big Island.


It’s hard to believe the variety of sea life in the warm waters off of the sandy beaches until you get in yourself. Reef fish of all varieties swim around incredible coral formations. You’ll see puffer fish, pencil fish, rainbows and many more. You’ll also see turtles, anemones and, if you’re really lucky, a dolphin or two. Make sure you buy cheap snorkelling gear at a chain store, otherwise you might get taken for an extra buck or two.


Hawaii is the avid angler’s dream. There are no regulations in the waters of the Pacific off of the Big Island’s coast, and you can catch dozens of different fish. Barracuda, shark, and marlin are among the most exciting. If you do hook a big marlin though, make sure you cancel your plans for the next three days. It might take a whole day just to land it … and two more to recover!


It’s Hawaii and that, of course, means surfing. Banyans, Ke’ei, and Kahalu’s are three of the best spots. Here you are less likely to find any of the territorial surfers who can make hitting the waves in some of Hawaii’s best spots a real downer.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

This is definitely a don’t-miss. We’ve touched on it lightly in another article and will go into more detail in a shorter one, but the most popular destination in the state can’t be left off of a “top things to do” list!

World Botanical Gardens

These botanical gardens are perfect for the person who loves natural flora and fauna.  They feature a long hiking trail through various cultivated gardens, containing hundreds of species of native and non native tropical plants. You’ll also see dozens of varieties of tropical birds and butterflies. It’s a good idea to have a bird guide book with you so you can match names to your photographs later!

Pacific Tsunami Museum

Dedicated to the two tsunamis which have ravaged the east coast of the Island in the last 100 years, this is a great place for those who love science and also like to feel a little rush of fear. It might be best to save this visit for the last days of your vacation!

Black Sand Beaches

These are common, cool, and even a little bit creepy. It’s hard to believe that anything that color could actually feel like sand, but it does!

Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

If you wanted to escape a death sentence  a century ago, this is the place you would flee to. Today, it’s a historic monument off of one of the best snorkeling areas to be found on the Big Island.