Best Places to Visit on the Big Island

Best Places to Visit on the Big Island

Some of Hawai‘i’s most beautiful natural wonders and historical treasures can be found on Hawai‘i Island. Commonly known as “Big Island,” it is the largest and youngest island in the Hawaiian chain. Home to majestic volcanoes, a black-sand beach and lush valleys, there are many ways to explore this expansive island.

For more suggestions on best restaurants on the Big Island, the best things to do on the Big Island, and the best places to stay on the Big Island, click here.


Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Drive, up Waianuenue Ave.

Accordingly to Hawaiian legend, the lava cave behind Rainbow Falls was once home to the ancient goddess Hina, the mother of the demigod Maui. This famous 80-foot waterfall is named Rainbow Falls because of how the mist surrounding the falls often cast a rainbow, this gorgeous waterfall is easily accessible with free parking, restrooms and a water fountain. Tip: if you’re looking for the best rainbows, plan to arrive early morning on a sunny day. 

More info: Rainbow Falls Website

Lyman House Memorial Museum

Listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, the Lyman Mission House is the oldest wood structure standing on the island of Hawaii. There are guided tours available. Next door is the Lyman Museum building, where you can see a special collection of artifacts and natural history exhibits as well as immersive exhibitions, archives and a gift shop.  

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Hulihe‘e Palace

What was once a vacation for Hawaiian royalty built in 1838 is now a museum for visitors showcasing Victorian artifacts from the days of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. You’ll be transported back to the days of old as you view antique koa wood furniture, ornaments and artifacts that once belonged to Hawaii’s royal past.

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Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

One of Hawaii’s most sacred historic places, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau is a 180-acre national park that was once a refuge to lawbreakers, defeated warriors and civilians during time of battle. Embark on a self-guided walking tour and see the Great Wall, which stands 12-feet high and 18-feet thick. Explore the nearby Royal Grounds, which were the sacred home of aliʻi and check out Keoneʻele Cove, the royal canoe landing and many more. 

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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Established in 1916, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park spans 335,259 acres and climbs from sea level to more than 13,000-feet. Here, you’ll find the two famous volcanoes – Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Maunaloa, the world’s largest active subaerial volcano. See Halema‘uma‘u Crater, hike the Devastation Trail or see Pu‘uloa Petroglyph Field’s Hawaiian lava etchings. The park is open 24-hours all year round, but be sure to check the website first for relevant updates and closures.

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Volcano Winery

Fancy a glass of wine in paradise? Volcano Winery’s picturesque wintery tasting room, tea garden and vineyards are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Taste grape wines, top-selling fruit blends and honey meads. The winery also offers a unique tea presentation that takes place in their tea field and includes samples of their estate white, black tea and infusion tea wines.

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Parker Ranch

Catch a local rodeo, go on a wagon ride or embark on a horseback tour at Parker Ranch. Self-guided tours of the ranch’s historic homes, Pu‘uopelu and Mana Hale, are available by appointment, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There, you can learn about the Parker family through historic heirlooms, everyday items, works of art, family portraits, antiques, and treasures from world travels. Stop at the Parker Ranch Shopping Center for ranch souvenirs and memorabilia and check out the Paniolo Heritage Center that honors the history of the pa‘u riders and paniolo heritage. 

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Kahilu Theatre

There’s always something going on at this non-profit community arts and education center. Check out a concert, watch a movie, attend a festival or visit the theatre’s two galleries that showcase talented local artists. You can visit their website to see what shows are currently available and purchase tickets.

More info:

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