Free or almost activities on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is BIG, hence the name, but along with it’s smaller sister islands, it has tons of things to see and do and experience for not a lot of money.

Here are some of the things that you can do on the Big Island without taking a bite out of your wallet:

Hapuna Beach State Park

Parks – With over a dozen state parks in the Big Island, you can drive all over the Big Island and never be too far from a state park.  Some of our favorites are

  • ‘Akaka Falls State Park – at $5 per car entrance fee, you can take a pleasant walk to vistas overlooking both the Kahuna falls and the ‘Akaka Falls.
  • Hapuna Beach State Park– on the Kohala Coast, this beach park leads to one of the best beaches in the Big Island. Again $5 per car for parking
  • Kalopa State Recreation Area- this one is completely free and you can head here for a family hike in the cool highlands 2,000 feet above sea level. The easy nature trail winds through a grove of native ohia trees. Additional lures: picnic areas and an arboretum with rare palms, hibiscus and other island plants.
  • check out more of the Big Island’s State Parks at www.hawaiistateparks.org

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park- You can’t go to the Big Island and not check out Volcanoes National Park.  At $10 per car entrance, this is the best value in the Big Island.   Check out all of the things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

Made in the Big Island

Coffee Plantations- there are hundreds of coffee farms in the big island and many offer tours to the public.  Don’t miss the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival held in November in Kailua-Kona.  We stopped in at one on our Circle Island Tour and ended up buying lots of coffee (so I’m not sure if this would constitute a free thing to do in the Big Island 🙂 )

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company- The free samples alone are worth a visit to this Kawaihae-based factory.  Take a self-guided tour showing the growing, shelling and roasting processes.  www.hawnnut.com

Big Island Candies – in Hilo, take the self guided tour of the cookie and candy manufacturing and check out some of the delicious samples.  http://www.bigislandcandies.com

Traditional Portuguese Bread Making- every Thursday, Kona Historical Society presents free demonstrations of traditional Portuguese bread making. Visitors get to help roll and pan the dough for baking in communal wood-fired stone ovens. Of course, you won’t be able to leave without buying one and  finished product is sold for $7 per loaf.  www.konahistorical.org

Also check out:

South Point-  this southernmost spot in the U.S. is where the first Polynesians landed in Hawaii. The sea cliffs provide a unique vantage for gazing out to sea.  http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island/regions-neighborhoods/kau/ka-lae-south-point

Puako Petroglyph Preserve- This was on our list to do when we stayed at the Fairmont Orchid.  Just a short hike leads to one of Hawaii’s largest fields of ancient lava rock carvings with over 3,000 images of human and animal forms representing  everyday life.  You can access the trail at Holoholokai Beach Park and if you stay at the resort, they have staff led hikes on a scheduled basis.   www.gohawaii.com/big-island

Mokupapapa Discovery Center- in Hilo, the discovery center explores the unique science, culture and history of the northwestern Hawaiian islands and surrounding marine environment. It offers hands-on exhibits, maps, murals, a saltwater aquarium and life-size models of sea life designed to educate and entertain.
www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/education/center

Sea Turtle resting on Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

Punaluu Black Sand Beach- located on the southeastern tip of the Big Island, this beach is probably the most famous blank sand beach in Hawaii.  Also a home for the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, this is not really a swimmable beach but is definitely one to check out.  PLEASE do not touch the turtles.

My Vacation Lady is a Hawaii Destination Specialist and we strive to make your vacation or honeymoon to Hawaii one that you will remember for a very long time.  Let us help you get the most out of your vacation or Hawaiian honeymoon with lots of cost saving tips.

 

About the Author:

Mindy Gilbert of My Vacation Lady has been helping clients, just like you, plan their dream vacations, cruises and honeymoons since 1994.