Big Island Tours: Top 10 Places on the Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is actually the largest island because it is the youngest island, and has not been eroded by the Pacific Ocean as much as other islands like Maui or Oahu.

Top 10 things to see on the Big Island

1. Liliuokalani Gardens

The Liliuokalani Gardens on the Big Island overlook Hilo Bay. The land for the gardens were given to Hawaii by Queen Liliuokalani, who was the last monarch and only Queen Regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii, is the largest Japanese style garden outside of Japan. The gardens consist of Waihonu Pond as well as bridges, carp ponds, pagodas, statues, torii, and a Japanese teahouse.

2. Banyan Drive

Banyan Drive is named after the graceful and stately banyan trees that line the road. Each tree is named after the person who planted it. Familiar names who have planted trees include Emilia Earhart, King George V, Babe Ruth, Franklin D Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon.

3. Historic Hilo Town

Hilo Town is the largest town on the Big Island of Hawaii, it overlooks the Hilo Bay and is situated between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Volcanoes. Hilo is also know for its great farmer’s market and the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation.

4. Wailuku River State Park & Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls, at the Wailuku River State Park, is one of the largest waterfalls in Hawaii at 80 feet. The stream and pool are surrounded by lush, dense tropical foliage. To reach Rainbow Falls you must hike down a slippery path made of stone which ends at the lookout.

5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916, it includes over 500 square miles of land. The area climate ranges from lush tropical rain forests to arid and barren Desert. Active eruptive sites include the main caldera of Kīlauea, which last erupted on March 19, 2008. The small explosion, the first since 1924, sent debris from the over an area of 74 acres.
Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides amazing hiking and picture taking opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments – ranging from sea level to the summit of the earth’s most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. The Big Island of Hawaii features active volcanoes that still erupt today. The island is actually formed by 5 overlapping volcanoes: Kohala (extinct), Mauna Kea (dormant), Hualalai (dormant), Mauna Loa (active and part of our Big Island of Hawaii Volcano Tour) and Kilauea (the most active).

6. Thurston Lava Tube

The entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube, pictured below, is the largest Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will be able to walk into long caves that lava has carved out of the rock. Be sure to bring a flashlight and some sturdy sneakers.

7. Halemaumau Crater

The Halemaumau Crater is actually located on the larger Kilauea Crater, check out the amazing video of lava and smoke flowing during the March 2008 eruption:

8. Kilauea Crater

Kilauea Crater is the most stunning volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii:

9. Black Sand Beaches

As the volcanoes erupt down to the ocean, the lava rocks (pictured below) actually get pounded into sand over time.

10. Tropical Rain Forests

The Big Island of Hawaii has such a diverse amount of climates and environments. In addition to the volcanoes you will be able to experience lush tropical rain forests – where Kona coffee grows wild:

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