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Best Things To Do in Hawaii - The Big Island

Whether you're looking to come face to face with molten lava or kaleidoscopic sand, you won't have trouble finding ways to pass the time on the Big Island. Frommer's writes, "This is the land of fiery volcanoes, sparkling waterfalls, black-lava deserts, snowcapped mountains, tropical rainforests, alpine meadows, glacial lakes, and miles of golden, black, and even green-sand beaches." In addition to the Big Island's hiking spots and popular beaches, there's also shopping: Swing by the Hilo Farmers Market for an eclectic mix of Hawaiian treats and crafts.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Akaka Falls State Park
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: Hilo's Akaka Falls State Park is a short, low-intensity hike in northeastern Hawai'i. Its payoff comes in the ... read more»

#2
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: You can expect to hear one question above all others if you tell people you're planning a visit to ... read more»

#3
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Hiking, Parks and Gardens | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Up until the early 19th century on Big Island, Hawaiians who broke the law could avoid a punishment of death ... read more»

#4
Waipio Valley
Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Tours | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Waipio Valley is historically significant to the Hawaiian people. It was once one of the most fertile valleys on the ... read more»

#5
Kaunaoa Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Come early to Kaunaoa (parking spaces are few) and plan on staying most of the day. This eggshell-colored sand beach ... read more»

#6
Hilo Farmers Market Free attraction
Shopping | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: More than 100 vendors congregate on a weekly basis to hawk produce, seafood, crafts, clothing and more in downtown Hilo ... read more»

#7
Anaehoomalu Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: One of the Kohala Coast's premiere beaches, Anaehoomalu Beach is a favorite haunt for frequent Big Island visitors. Do ... read more»

#8
Hapuna Beach State Park Free attraction
Beaches, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: The deliberately named waters of Hapuna Beach — Hapuna means "spring" or "pool" in Hawaiian — are probably the most loved on ... read more»

#9
Papakolea Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: Of Papakolea Beach, Frommer's writes, "The place has its problems: It's difficult to reach; the open bay is ... read more»

#10
Punalu'u Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.0

Why go: Some say the waters here are too rough and rocky to really enjoy swimming, but that's not the real ... read more»

#11
Kealakekua Bay Free attraction
Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.0

Why go: Snorkelers like to visit this remote bay on Hawai'i's west coast for the tropical fish, sea turtles and ... read more»

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