Big Island, Hawaii
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Big Island, Hawaii Day Trips

Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

1. Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

Discover Hawaii's Big Island on an ATV tour. Learn about the cultures of Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, and Tonga, drive through a Rainbow Eucalyptus tree grove, and taste coconut water. Upon arrival at the meeting point and getting geared up, listen to a quick safety briefing before setting off on your adventure. If you do not feel comfortable driving an ATV or are under 16, enjoy a ride as a passenger in a 6-seater UTV driven by the tour guide.  Kick-off your tour with a drive through an award-winning coffee farm and transition into a grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees before entering the jungle. Drive your fully automatic ATV on trails to reach Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. At each stop, play games to learn about each island's culture. Finally, make your way to the last island of Samoa. Learn about traditional culture, watch a coconut demonstration and taste the coconut water. Afterward, travel back down the mountain and admire beautiful views of Kailua-Kona and the Kona coast.

Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

2. Hawaii: Afternoon Snorkeling Sail to Captain Cook's Monument

Set sail along the beautiful Kona coast on a 3-hour snorkeling trip. At historic Kealakekua Bay, you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument. Snorkel in pristine waters along the reef in the marine sanctuary. With your marine camera, take photos of the colorful fish, pods of spinner dolphins, and the landscaped ledges of ancient lava flows. Enjoy site briefings and snorkeling tips from the crew members. Life jackets, floatation noodles, viewfinder boards, masks, fins, and snorkels are all provided. The crew will help you enter and exit the water if needed and will provide fish identification cards. They will even take you on a guided snorkeling tour.

Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

3. Big Island: 3 Hour Waikoloa Snorkeling & Sailing Adventure

The iconic Spirit of Aloha provides the ultimate in sailing comfort and snorkeling fun. Choose from morning or afternoon excursions, where you are likely to see dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life unique to the warm waters of Hawaii. Explore parts of the Big Island Kona coast on the Waikoloa and Kohala-Kona coastline aboard a 54-foot sailing catamaran. Dolphins, green sea turtles and seasonal whales are some of the creatures that can be seen. Board from Anaehoomalu Bay to snorkel, sail, enjoy and relax. The custom-designed sunset-orange and maile lei sail is a stunning contrast to the azure Pacific as it sails along the blue Pacific ocean. Itineraries include morning and afternoon snorkel sails, and sunset cruises. The beautiful 53-foot (16-m), custom-built catamaran offers a smooth, comfortable, and relaxing ride. There is onboard bar, plenty of shade, 2 restrooms, ample seating both indoors and outside, fresh-water shower rinse, and a sound system. Lifeguard-certified, in-water guides are there for your service and comfort. During whale season December through April, majestic humpbacks are likely to be spotted. Snacks and beverages served aboard.

Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

4. Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

There is a saying in Hawaii that "you never forget your first wave," and this surf lesson in Kahaluu Bay brings that saying to life, providing quality surf instruction to people of all ages and skill levels. The 2-hour surf lessons are designed to teach people how to surf safely and effectively from the best surfing and snorkeling beach in Kona, Hawaii. Upon arrival at the surf shop, you will be outfitted with reef booties and rashguards. Then, before entering the water, learn how to paddle and pop up on land, as well as important surfing etiquette and how to wipe out properly. Once you are comfortable, it’s off to the water to practice your skills on the long rolling waves of Kahaluu Bay. Your surf instructor will help you catch the waves, letting you know where you need to be, when to paddle, and when to pop up. They will even give you a little push to ensure that you catch every wave you paddle for. For more advanced surfers, instructors offer advice on how to turn and catch larger waves. Instructors work in small groups, with no more that 3 participants per teacher to ensure maximum attention and a highly personalized experience.

Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

5. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Prepare for a thrilling day exploring 3 unique snorkeling locations in South Kona with time to take a break from swimming for lunch with breathtaking views. Begin your snorkeling adventure by heading to the turquoise waters and vibrant reef of the 315-acre marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay, with your crew members highlighting interesting sights along the way. Once there, experience a vibrant reef filled with coral and schools of tropical fish. On occasion, even catch glimpses of spinner dolphins swimming nearby. After snorkeling, savor a gourmet deli lunch in the shade of the canopy with the monument to Captain Cook as a backdrop and the cliffs of the bay soaring above you. Next, jet off to a new location with visually spectacular snorkeling opportunities and cultural significance, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, the “Place of Refuge.” Beautiful Honaunau Bay is fronted by large, smooth, and lava rock flats and fascinating gardens of coral.  For your third snorkeling stop, let your expert captain transport you a location that even island locals have yet to see. At this remote location, snorkel at a remote black sand beach, marvel at a stone arch, or maybe admire a spectacular lava rock formation created thousands of years ago. Explore sea caves and lava tubes in a safe, exciting, and maneuverable vessel designed to get you up close and personal with the coast. Rest assured that the local operator is proudly part of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association and seeks to create a culture protecting and promoting healthy oceans through many sustainability efforts.

Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

6. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Discover the natural beauty and history of Kealakekua Bay on this eco-friendly snorkeling adventure. This stunning 315-acre marine sanctuary boasts protected waters, making it the best place in Hawaii for snorkelers of all levels of experience. Jump in the turquoise waters and marvel at the tropical fish, colorful coral, and marine life. Keep your eyes peeled—you might even catch a glimpse of playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins. After a full hour of snorkeling, let your friendly captain and crew transport you and your small group to the historic Captain Cook's Monument. Hear about the dramatic history of this location as you gaze toward the cove where the white stone monument stands.  On your way back, enjoy snacks and beverages while you ride up the coast learning about local legends and history.   Maneuver into the sea caves at the base of Hualalai, hugging the coast and detailing the culturally significant and geologically fascinating features along the way. Watch for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even herds of thousands of goats. Afterwards, you’ll head back to the dock, having seen some of the most stunning natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer.

Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

7. Big Island: Eco-Friendly Snorkeling Expereince and BBQ

You will need to arrive at 7:30 AM for your 8 AM departure and cruise through protected marine sanctuaries. Cruise ten miles down the Kona Coast to the snorkel destination, a protected marine sanctuary. Relax, you will have over two hours of water time to enjoy the marine life, underwater topography, and coral reef. Cruise in comfort! The boat’s main lower deck features a large shaded cabin with cushioned seating, tables, a premium bar, three restrooms, and freshwater showers. You won’t go hungry. Enjoy a light breakfast of tropical fruits, assorted pastries, bagels, juices, teas, and Kona coffee. While you're taking in the fun, the crew prepares lunch. After snorkeling, belly up to a full-service premium cash bar, featuring a large selection of liquors, mixes, and local brews. This boat hosts one of the only blenders on the Kona Coast. Your mask, fins, snorkel, and prescription masks will be provided to you. For beginners, a friendly “Snorkel 101 Class” is available from the lifeguard-trained crew. A host of flotation toys, including noodles, vests, inner tubes, and even “Sea View Boards” for those who don’t want to get their face wet. They even include the use of stand-up paddleboards and an array of other flotation devices at no additional cost. Kids of all ages love the 20’ waterslide and high dive platform. If you want to kick back and do nothing, check out the floating “relaxation station”, the crew will swim you out refreshments. More adventurous guests can rent a GoPro or wetsuit.

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

8. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

This is your opportunity to swim in a lagoon full of abundant sea life. Join your hosts on a fully guided and narrated beach snorkel tour along the pristine Hilo coastline. Make 2 snorkeling stops and also enjoy island snacks and juices. The volcanic beaches are renowned for their abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water bays and lagoons are home to a wealth of sea life including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, corals, and tropical reef fish. Your experienced snorkel guide will teach you about the beautiful and lush surroundings, how the beaches and volcanic islands are made, and about the abundant marine world which lies below. Newcomers to snorkeling and children are welcome. Your trained guide will teach you the basics and be with you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Children will be introduced to nature in a spectacular way.

From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

9. From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

Begin your adventure with a scenic drive over the stark and beautiful saddle road to set the stage for the day overlooking mesmerizing views including a stop to view the famous Rainbow Falls. If the Twilight option is selected, you will stay in the Park past sunset to view the eruption's glow. From there your first stop will be the Hawaii Volcanoes, National Park. Discover all the “must-see” spots within the Park including the dramatically changed Halemaumau Crater. After immersing yourself in the magnanimous history and culture of Volcanoes National Park and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will be driven to Hawaii Forest and Trail's private lava tube, Kauhi Cavern. Explore this unique cave with ceilings as high as 35 feet, expansive rooms, bright golden walls, and an “upside-down” forest of roots hanging from the cave ceiling. Upon returning to the surface from the lava tube exploration, enjoy a light afternoon snack with your fellow travelers and guide while reflecting on your in-depth volcano experience.

Big Island: 3-Hour Kohala Canopy Zipline Adventure

10. Big Island: 3-Hour Kohala Canopy Zipline Adventure

Start your adventure in Hawi, and get geared up and ready to jump into the Pinzgauer for your oceanfront trek up the zipline. The 8 lines, 6 sky bridges, and a rappel make this the only full canopy tour on Hawaii Island. This significant forest reserve is part of the Halawa Lands of King Kamehameha.  Certified canopy guides will inspire you with stories and legends of Kohala while you zip from tree to tree in a completely natural setting. Rely on unique interpretive elements, innovative course design, expert guides, and compliance with the highest level of safety standards to make this adventure extremely safe, accessible and engaging. Stop for a re-energizing snack and drink break. Watch your fellow zippers fly through the trees as you catch your breath and prepare for round two! Finally, repel back down to land! Jump back into the Pinzgauer along the coastline back to the meeting point.

Frequently asked questions about Big Island, Hawaii Day Trips

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Other Sightseeing Options in Big Island, Hawaii

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What people are saying about Big Island, Hawaii

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 38 reviews

The volcano tour with Hawaii Forest & Trail Kona is something we had been looking forward to for a long time, and our high expectations were even exceeded. Three absolute highlights were the Kauhi Cavern lava tube with gold shining bacteria covering the walls (we even found a cave dwelling transparent insect), the epic bubbling lava lake at night time, and our tour guide Rob, who was a) extremely knowledgeable on volcanoes, animal and plant life, as well as the importance of Hawaii to astronaut training and preparing humanity for the long trip to Mars, b) very enthusiastic about being there with us and exploring the wonders of the island, and finally c) very kind and caring. We fully recommend this tour!

The activity was so much fun! The boat was fast, making it fun to ride. Our guide was fantastic (Lauren, I believe). She was extremely knowledgeable about the history about the island and her enthusiasm was great! We weren’t able to snorkel at Captain Cook due to low visibility but it ended up being great because we went to an area without anyone else and were able to see plenty of fish and coral. We saw a ton of the island’s natural beauty and even saw manta rays on the ride back. Snacks were fruit, chips/cookies, and juice or water. I highly recommend this tour—you won’t regret it!

This was one of the highlights of our trip to the Big Island. Great crew, so friendly and helpful, and the boat was spacious and comfortable. The captain gave us some interesting history as we cruised along the coast. We saw dolphins, flying fish and had a great time snorkeling. They provided breakfast and a BBQ lunch, both were great! We would do it again in a heartbeat, and wish they had an all-day trip, 1/2 day was too short!

Great experience. From the quality of the van to the professionalism of our guide, Guinevere, everything was top notch. The private lava tube, the lunch, dinner, and snacks, and, of course, the nightlife me lava lake viewing made for a day that was memorable and highly enjoyable. Good quality rain jackets and umbrellas were provided. Good walking shoes and long pants are recommended.

We had such a wonderful time! Marcus was so knowledgeable, patient, respectful, and showed us quite a few places. He answered all of our questions, and we had many. Would recommend this tour and Marcus specifically!