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May 16, 2017updated Dec 20, 2023

Things to do in Hawaii

By Olivia Cuccaro

Often called the “Big Island,” the island of Hawaii is part of the 1,500-mile-long archipelago of the same name – at nearly twice the size of the other islands combined. The Big Island is home to breathtaking geography including mountains, beaches and one of earth’s most active volcanoes as well as a vast array of climates. Outdoor adventures are all around, as are luxurious opportunities to sit back and relax. These are our picks of the best things to do during your next visit to the Big Island of Hawaii.

Island Adventures

Along the northeastern Hamakua coast, Akaka Falls State Park winds through lush rainforest to reveal stunning waterfalls. Hike half a mile uphill to see Kahuna Falls and the famous Akaka Falls, 442 ft above the stream below. Venture to a different kind of natural phenomenon at Volcanoes National Park, home to Kilauea – one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The park encompasses 333,000 acres, including 150 miles of walking trails and Maunaloa volcano. The Crater Rim Drive circles Kilauea Caldera for easy access to the park’s museums and attractions.

Inland, Waimea is the place for valley views of Waipio and Pololu. Take a horseback ride across acres of private land and interact with animals at Kahua Ranch.

Coastal Culture

The Big Island is the birthplace of Kona coffee, a coveted Arabica Typica varietal grown on the slopes of Hualalai. Arrive with Paradise Helicopters for a tour of the estate and participate in a curated coffee sampling. To get your fill of local snacks and crafts, head to Hilo Farmers Market for speciality food, fresh flowers, produce and handmade items from area vendors.

Hawaiian history is prevalent in the lively village of Kailua in Kona. The seaside town offers shopping, dining and landmarks like Hulihee Palace, Mokuaikaua Church and Ahuena Heiau.

Hawaii Hotels

Four Seasons Hualalai

Relax with signature treatments at the property’s 28,000 sq ft Hualalai Spa beside the stream and garden. The hotel also features an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course with stunning seascapes. Book the Hawaii Loa Presidential Villa for an exclusive experience. The villa features three bedrooms, each with a full granite bathroom, ocean views, dedicated Suite Concierge, private classes and tours, welcome lei and round-trip airport transfer.

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Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Hawaiian-inspired treatments like the indulgent Ali’I Experience are on offer at the Spa Without Walls, which includes eight private outdoor waterfall hale and six oceanside hale as well as indoor treatment rooms. The hotel also offers daily hikes, snorkeling, fishing, canoeing, yoga and various sports. Fairmont Gold includes private check-in and a private lounge, with the top accommodation being the 4,258 sq ft Fairmont Gold Presidential Suite. The suite features ocean views, king-size bed, formal dining room, baby grand piano, marble bathroom with Jacuzzi and shower and connecting Oceanview Room.

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