Hawaii Island in 2023: A Complete Guide to the Big Island

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Hawaii Island, usually the Big Island, is the largest and most diversified island in the Hawaiian Islands. Home to lush rainforests, majestic volcanoes, black and white sand beaches, and rich cultural heritage, this tropical paradise offers something for everyone. This detailed guide will show you the best places and things to do on the Big Island. It also has reviews, answers to frequently asked questions, and much other information to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Hawaii.

Hawaii Island on Google Map


Top Destinations and Experiences on Hawaii Island

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the most active volcanoes in the world. Witness the power of nature as you hike through volcanic craters, steam vents, and hardened lava flows. Visit the Jaggar Museum and the Kilauea Visitor Center to learn about the park’s geology, history, and cultural significance.


“Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is simply incredible. The unique landscape and fascinating history make it a must-visit destination on the Big Island.”

Emma J., TripAdvisor Review, January 2022


Discover Hilo, a charming town on the Big Island’s east coast. Rich in culture and history, Hilo boasts a variety of attractions, including the Pacific Tsunami Museum, Imiloa Astronomy Center, and the lush Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens. In addition, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the nearby Akaka Falls State Park, where a short hike leads to the breathtaking 442-foot Akaka Falls.

Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Hawaii Island
Rainbow Falls, Hilo, Hawaii Island


“Hilo is a hidden gem on the Big Island. The town’s laid-back atmosphere, beautiful gardens, and fascinating museums made our visit truly memorable.”

Daniel M., Yelp Review, February 2022


Kona, located on the sunny west coast of the Big Island, is famous for its world-renowned Kona coffee, vibrant coral reefs, and stunning sunsets. Stroll through the historic Kailua Village, visit a coffee plantation, or enjoy a snorkelling excursion to Kealakekua Bay, where you can spot dolphins, turtles, and colourful tropical fish.

Kona Hawaii Island
Kona, Hawaii Island


“Kona is the perfect destination for relaxation and adventure. The coffee tours, snorkelling, and beautiful beaches made our vacation unforgettable.”

Jennifer T., Google Review, March 2022

See more: Discover Long Beach in 2023: Attractions, Activities, and Dining

Waipio Valley

Journey into the heart of Waipio Valley, a lush, secluded paradise steeped in Hawaiian history and culture. The valley is a hiker’s dream with its dramatic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and black sand beaches. Experience the breathtaking beauty of the valley on a guided tour or an adventurous horseback ride.

Waipio Valley, Hawaii, USA
Waipio Valley, Hawaii, USA


“Waipio Valley is a must-see destination on the Big Island. The natural beauty and tranquillity of the valley left us in awe.”

Brian S., TripAdvisor Review, April 2022

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii and a dormant volcano, offers tourists the rare opportunity to observe the night sky at one of the world’s top astronomical sites. Join a guided tour to the Mauna Kea Observatories, where you can learn about cutting-edge research and marvel at the stunning night sky.

Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA


“The stargazing experience on Mauna Kea is truly out of this world. The clarity of the sky and the knowledgeable guides made it an unforgettable night.”

Laura P., Google Review, May 2022

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

On the Big Island, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is one of the most well-known and distinctive beaches. The striking black sand, resulting from volcanic activity, stands out sharply against the clear waters. As a result, visitors often spot green sea turtles basking in the sun along the shoreline. Just remember to keep a respectful distance from these protected creatures.

Punalu'u Black Sand beach, Pahoa, United States
Punalu’u Black Sand beach, Pahoa, United States


“Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is a must-visit on the Big Island. The stunning black sand and the chance to see sea turtles up close made it a truly unforgettable experience.”

Gary R., Yelp Review, June 2022

Hamakua Coast

The Hamakua Coast, stretching from Hilo to Waipio Valley, offers breathtaking ocean views, lush rainforests, and a variety of scenic stops. Explore the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, take a thrilling zipline adventure through the tree canopy, or visit Laupahoehoe Point for a picturesque picnic spot.


“The Hamakua Coast is a stunning destination with so much to see and do. The lush landscapes, beautiful waterfalls, and ocean views were truly awe-inspiring.”

Nicole H., TripAdvisor Review, July 2022


Hawaii Island, with its diverse landscapes, rich culture, and unforgettable experiences, is a must-visit destination for travellers seeking adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty. From the awe-inspiring Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and the stunning Hamakua Coast to the vibrant towns of Hilo and Kona, the Big Island offers many opportunities for exploration and discovery. With its unique attractions, delicious cuisine, and warm Aloha spirit, Hawaii Island promises to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Experience the majesty of Mauna Kea, the serene beauty of Waipio Valley, and the striking black sands of Punalu’u Beach. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and marvel at the diverse marine life, or immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Hawaiian people. Whether looking for adventure or solace in nature, Hawaii Island has something to offer every traveller.

By going to the best places on the Big Island, taking part in different activities, and trying the island’s unique foods, you will make memories that will make you want to come back again and again. So take advantage of the opportunity to experience the magic of Hawaii Island and discover why it truly is a tropical paradise unlike any other.

See more: 10 Best Places to Visit in the United States (USA)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best time to visit Hawaii Island?

The Big Island has a tropical climate with pleasant temperatures year-round. However, the best time to visit is typical during the dry season, which runs from April to October.

What is the main airport on Hawaii Island?

There are two main airports on the Big Island: Hilo International Airport (ITO) on the east side and Kona International Airport (KOA) on the west side.

What language is spoken on Hawaii Island?

English is the primary language spoken on Hawaii Island, though you may also hear Hawaiian and other languages spoken by the diverse local population.

What currency is used on Hawaii Island?

As part of the United States, Hawaii Island uses the US Dollar (USD) as its currency.

What is the food like on Hawaii Island?

Hawaii Island offers a diverse range of culinary experiences, from traditional Hawaiian dishes such as poke and kalua pork to fresh seafood, Asian-inspired cuisine, and farm-to-table fare.

What are some popular activities on Hawaii Island?

Popular activities on Hawaii Island include hiking, snorkelling, stargazing, visiting coffee plantations, exploring volcanic landscapes, and experiencing traditional Hawaiian culture.

Do I need a rental car on Hawaii Island?

A rental car is recommended for exploring the Big Island, as public transportation is limited and many attractions are spread across the island.

What is the time zone on Hawaii Island?

Hawaii Island is in the Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) zone, 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-10).

Are there any dangerous animals on Hawaii Island?

While Hawaii Island is home to various wildlife, most animals are not dangerous to humans. However, respecting local wildlife and following safety guidelines is essential, especially when swimming or snorkelling in the ocean.

What should I pack for a trip to Hawaii Island?

When packing for Hawaii Island, bring lightweight clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable shoes for hiking, a hat, and a reusable water bottle.

Hi there! My name is Sushanta Das, and I'm a passionate traveler and explorer. I've always had a deep curiosity and thirst for adventure, which led me to start my travel blog.

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