If you’re heading to the Big Island, you’re going to have so much fun because there’s sooooo much to do! In fact, the island is so big that it’s usually broken up into “Kona side” and “Hilo side.” Kona side is pretty dry and sunny and home to most of the island’s beaches. It’s also got great snorkeling, water activities, cultural sites, and so much more. Here’s a list of 25 things to do in Kona (or at least the Kona side) of the Big Island:
1.Snorkel Kealakekua Bay. This is the spot that Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii and it’s widely recognized as the best snorkeling spot in all of the islands. While you can reach the bay via a challenging hike, most people come on a snorkel tour or kayak tour. Bonus: if you’re visiting during whale season (November through April), this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone!
2.Night scuba (or snorkel) with the manta rays. Manta rays are unique to the Big Island and they LOVE to come out at night. If you’re scuba certified, this is a must do, but it’s amazing to go even on a snorkel tour.
3.Visit the summit of Mauna Kea. At 14,000 feet, Mauna Kea is one of the most impressive sights in Hawaii. You’ll need 4WD to reach the summit (sunset is beautiful) or book a tour that includes sunset at the summit and then star gazing at the visitor’s center.
4.Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. If you’ve ever dreamed of wrapping a seahorse around your little pinky, you won’t want to miss this hour-long tour!
5.Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The National Park Service has preserved this ancient settlement and fishponds. If you’re interested in learning more about Hawaiian culture, plan to stop by this site.
6.Tour a coffee plantation. If you want to see how that famous Kona coffee is made (and even pick up a package), take a complimentary tour at Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.
7.See historic Kona town. This charming seaside town dates back to the early 1800s. Tour the Hulihe’e Palace (a former royal vacation home) and Mokuaikaua Church (the oldest Christian church in Hawaii), and have a sunset dinner.
8.Tour Kona Brewing Co. Tour the brewery of just stop in for lunch and a flight.
9.Visit the world’s first octopus farm. While Kanaluoa Octopus Farm isn’t technically a farm (they aren’t breeding YET), it’s an amazing place to learn about these mysterious creatures and the research that’s currently being done to assist in their conservation efforts.
10.Swim with dolphins. Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikoloa Village allows you to get up close and personal with dolphins on a variety of different tours.