Where to start? Living on the Big Island of Hawaii puts all those incredible attractions in daily reach. How about Taking a helicopter tour and see a bird a bird’s-eye view of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park? You'll get a bird's eye view of the island’s hidden waterfalls, lush valleys and balmy beaches-- and that’s just for starters.
With surroundings ranging from lava-strewn deserts to tropical plantations and gardens, you can immerse yourself in every imaginable outdoor activity here. Snorkel or scuba with manta rays off the KonaCoast. Horseback ride in the grassy plains of paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country in Waimea. Discover the 442-foot AkakaFalls and the 80-foot RainbowFalls in Wailuku River State Park. Hike along the 150 miles of volcanic desert and tropical trails at HawaiiVolcanoesNational Park.
It’s easy to see why the Big Island is known as “Hawaii’s Island of Adventure”.
The Merrie Monarch Festival is the world’s premier hula event held annually in Hilo. This weeklong celebration of the native art of the hula happens every Easter with halau (hula schools) from every island and the mainland practicing year-round for the event. This moving expression of music, dance and storytelling is part of how the people of Hawaii’s Big Island continue to perpetuate and interpret the Hawaiian culture and its uniquely affirmative spirit of aloha.
Hilo town is also home to an array of museums, galleries, and performance venues where you can admire the work of local painters, sculptors, musicians, storytellers, and crafts people.
The Merrie Monarch Festival is just one example of how the people of Hawaii’s Big Island locals live comfortably in the present but with great respect for the past. The mana (spiritual power) is still strong at important historical places like Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Puukohola Heiau Historic Site and Mookini Heiau State Monument. Today, with an active volcano still forming the land at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the people of Hawaii’s Big Island continue to produce their own history.
There are plenty of family activities to do on the Big Island. Visit the Liliuokalani Gardens and you can watch your kids run over several picturesque Japanese bridges. Discover the ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks at sites along the Kohala Coast. Stargaze through telescopes at the Ellison S. Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, 9,300 feet atop Maunakea (note that the high altitude may not be suitable for younger children). Explore the planetarium and interactive exhibits in the amazing Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii.
For outdoor adventures, check out family friendly parks and beaches with lifeguards and full picnic and restroom facilities. Build a sandcastle, explore tide pools, or snorkel with your kids to catch a glimpse of the Big Island’s rich marine life. And always remember to avoid walking on coral and keep an eye on your children at all times in the water. Observe all posted signs and check with lifeguards for current conditions and to find the best spots for kids.
Learn about real-life paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) and take a wagon ride at the Kahua Ranch in Waimea. Exploring the volcano tubes and lava fields from an active volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is another 'Only In Hawaii' experience. Whether it’s learning about astronomy, volcanology or oceanography, it’s all family fun time on the Big Island.
Keep your eye on that ball. Focus on your swing and, if you can, not on the pristine, black lava-lined fairways and palm tree-speckled greens. Block out the crystal blue waters and the rhythmic crash of waves just beyond the bunker. Try your best to forget that you’re playing on one of the most beautiful golf courses you’ve ever seen. It may take a few holes, but you’ll get used to it.
Hawaii’s BigIsland is known as the“Golf Capital of Hawaii”.The Big Island has some of the most magnificent courses to choose from, crafted by the biggest names in course design. Discover courses along the Kohala Coast, such as the Hualalai Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, the championship Francis H. Ii Brown courses of the Mauna Lani Resort and the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed courses at Mauna Kea Resort.
Not to be outdone, play the two courses of the Waikoloa Beach Resort designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and the Ocean Course and Alii Mountain Course of the Kona Country Club. Uncover a variety of other hidden gems throughout Hawaii’s Big Island and play amongst the striking contrasts of lush green fairways, pure white bunkers, jet-black lava flows and turquoise Pacific waters. Hit a bad shot and you can always blame it on the Big Island.
List of Big Island golf courses: http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island/experiences/golf
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