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There are so many fun things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii. Families visiting the Big Island with kids can choose their own adventure. Visit farms, ranches, and saddle up to the cowboy culture. Exploring black sand beaches full of colorful fish and wildlife, hiking through rain forests or dried lava flows. See the stars at observatories or sit with drinks in hand while watching manta rays climb to the water’s surface. Big Island activities can be as adventurous or as relaxing as your family prefers.
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Big Island activities are varied as the island itself. Diversity reigns on the island of Hawaii, known to most mainlanders as “The Big Island.” The youngest of the Hawaiian islands, Hawaii boasts 8 of the world’s 13 climate zones including arid deserts, tropical rainforests, and even polar tundra on the tops of its mountain peaks. The island is a geological and ecological wonderland bursting with unique flora and fauna, active volcanoes that add to the island’s landmass each day, and even the highest mountain peak in the world when measured from the sea floor.
FUN Things to do on the Big Island with Kids
1. Hit the Beach
Best Big Island Beaches for Powdery Sand
Finding soft, powdery sand on the Big Island of Hawaii can be a bit tricky. Explore the Best Kid-Friendly Sandy Beaches on the Big Island (including finding white, black, and even green sand).
Best Big Island Beaches for Kid-Friendly Snorkeling
Best Big Island Beaches for Tide Pool Exploration
Best Big Island Beaches for Sunset Views
Thanks to the western facing Kailua-Kona coast, there are plenty of opportunities for amazing sunset views while visiting Hawaii. Trekaroo families recommend seeing the views via hammock at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, or hiking to a striking mountain top view at Mauna Kea (or the Visitor Information Center halfway up the summit). Numerous ocean-front restaurants and hotels along the western shore offer tables with stunning views. The Kona Inn (Restaurant) and Lava Lava Beach Club are among the favorites.
2. Explore Hawaii on Foot (or mule)
The island of Hawaii boasts miles of trails that lead you into the back-country of this stunning island. Since roads that traverse the island are fairly limited, be mindful of trail distances before setting out, and be sure you have packed enough water for your adventure. To explore the amazingly beautiful and secluded Waipi’o Valley, you might want to take a mule, horse, or ATV guided tour as the climb back up the canyon is incredibly difficult.
3.Take a Boat Tour
4. Tour a Local Farm
5. Make Friends with the Local Animals
6. Ooh and Aah at the Waterfalls
7. Saddle up to the Cowboy Culture
8. See the Stars
9. Explore Historic Hawaii
10. See the Lava
Where to Stay on the Big Island
Most of the major resorts are located on the west side of the island (hello, gorgeous sunsets!), although you will find a scattering of bed and breakfasts, and smaller, independent hotels on the Hilo (eastern) side. On the western side, families can fly directly into the Kona International Airport (KOA) for easy access to most hotels and resorts within 30 minutes of drive time via hotel shuttle or rental car.
Trekaroo families can explore the best-reviewed, parent-approved hotels with this Guide to the Best Family-Friendly Hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii.
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