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Don’t Like the Beach? What Else Can You Do on the Big Island?


If you’re just not a beach person yet you love the beautiful surroundings that Hawaii has to offer, you may want a solid list of things to do while you’re here that don’t involve sand and water. There’s still plenty here to do, so check out these ideas:

Hit the Summit of Mauna Kea

Do this at night so you can get some serious star gazing in. Got a rental car with four-wheel-drive? Head up to the top yourself, park and watch the stars. You can start at the Visitor Information Station (VIS) at 9,300 feet to take part in the nightly stargazing program from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Get ready to see Saturn and Jupiter in all their glory! At 14,000 feet above sea level, the view is quite impressive. It’s one of five major mountains on the Big Island, most famous for the greatest concentration of telescopes on the planet. The nightly program is sponsored by the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, offering an astronomy video, a discussion and views of the planets from the state-of-the-art telescopes.

Take a Hike Along the K?lauea Iki Trail

You’ll find this stunning tribute to nature within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, weaving through lush rain forest with a stop at the K?lauea Iki Crater lava lake. This is a vent that last erupted in 1959, leaking lava 1900 feet from below the Pu‘u Pua‘i cinder cone. An additional treat to this hike: native birds – lots of them. Hike along the dry lava lake peppered with steam vents and spatter cones for a great way to spend the day.

City of Refuge and Painted Church

For a beautiful site, head to the City of Refuge. This peaceful place offered a place of refuge in old Hawaii. Back then, if you broke a law, you could face death. Many people sought solace at the City of Refuge at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, considered a sacred site to this day. St. Benedict’s Painted Church, nestled in historic Kealakekua Bay, sits in the famous Kona coffee growing region in Honaunau. This revered historical site is still an active parish, featuring outreach programs that take care of the needy. You will be drawn in by the picturesque paintings decorating the interior walls of this old Catholic church.

Tour Parker Ranch in Waimea

Although it’s dubbed cowboy country in Waimea, it’s anything but a barren desert. Instead, this ranch is located in a part of the Big Island that sees mild temps in the 70s with frequent sprinkles that give this area its lush green look. Parker Ranch is one of the country’s oldest and largest ranches. Take a self-guided tour to spend a couple of hours.

Take in the Beauty of Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Just off Highway 19 along the scenic Hamakua Coast lies a virtual living testament to the many plants that call Hawaii home. In fact, there are 2,000 species, 125 families and 750 genera nestled in this 40-acre valley shielded from the harsh tradewinds and teeming with fertile volcanic soil. Take a walk along one of many nature trails through tropical rainforests, along sweet streams and by impressive waterfalls.

If your visit to Hawaii takes you to Oahu, come see us at Hoku Hawaii Tours. We can set you up on an enlightening Circle Island Tours that will show you the highlights of our beautiful island.