10 Best Big Island tours & excursions take you from the mountains to the ocean

Natural beauty is what the Big Island is about, and we're here to guide you to the best excursions and tours on the island. Our local expert grew up on the Big Island, and knows the best trips into nature, which beaches and trails are the best, and which sites and landmarks are the most exciting with the deepest history. From deep hidden valleys with waterfalls and beaches, to historical and cultural sites and long sandy beaches, we've got it covered.

If you're into panoramic vistas, tall secluded waterfalls and black sand beaches, make the trip out to Waipio Valley on the Hamakua Coast. Lush and far off the beaten bath, Waipio offers long rivers, multiple waterfalls, and secluded beach time. You can enjoy the view from the top or make the four wheel drive trip down into the valley.

For some beach time on a crescent shaped beach with snorkeling, surfing and wonderful sunset views, Anaeho`omalu Bay and Waikoloa Beach are sure to please. A favorite with locals for all types of water sports, this is the ideal place for family time at the beach or couples surfing.

History buffs will love Pu`ukohola National Historic Site where a sacred temple tells the story of the island's past through its kings. So look no farther than this list because we have you covered from the mountains to the ocean for the best Big Island tours and excursions.

Nani Mau Gardens
Photo courtesy of Mark McElroy


Makato Nitahara, owner and masterful green thumb behind this exquisite garden, began planting tropical flowers in this former papaya patch more than two decades ago. Today, he estimates that his 2000-plus species of plants and flowers represent...  Read More



Just a short drive outside of downtown Hilo, the Wailuku River penetrates dense tropical undergrowth and cascades more than 80 feet into a picturesque gorge. The emerald green pool at the base of the falls used to be a popular swimming hole,...  Read More



The Maku`u Farmers market is huge. Seriously. Here you can find everything from clothing (new and used), home decor, house wares, garage sale like things, fresh plants for the yard, kid's toys, fresh produce, and a huge amount of ready to eat...  Read More

Mo'okini Heiau


This three-story stone temple, erected more than 1500 years ago, stands as one of the oldest structures in the state. Built to honor Ku (the Hawaiian god of war), it was the setting for countless rituals and observances, including human...  Read More

Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site


Constructed in the late 18th century, this coastal temple was intended as an offering to the war god Kukai'ilimoku from King Kamehameha the Great. The entire island community took part in the building process, as recorded by British sailor John...  Read More

Mauna Kea State Recreation Area


From the ocean floor to Mauna Kea's 14,000 foot summit, this majestic mountain is the world's tallest. Its elevation, combined with its relative isolation from air pollution, also makes it one of the world's foremost locations for stargazing, a...  Read More



One of the Big Island's top beaches, A-Bay is known for metallic, yellow-hued sands that earn it the nickname "Gold Coast." The bay's crystal blue waters are ideal for snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, surfing, and wind surfing. Several popular...  Read More



Make it to the end of scenic Highway 270 and experience the majesty of the Big Island's dramatic Kohala coastline. High above waves that crash onto jagged rocks are several lookout areas that offer sweeping vistas of verdant cliffs and...  Read More

Volcano National Park
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Encompassing 520 square miles, this national park is one of the most photographed locales in the Hawaiian chain. For more than 70 million years, volcanic heat and pressure from inside the earth have molded the dramatic landscape, which includes...  Read More

Hamakua Coast
Waipi'o Valley


The Big Island version of the Valley of the Kings, Waipi'o has long maintained a special place in the hearts of locals. Steeped in legend, the deep, narrow valley stretches some 5-plus miles, flanked on either side by towering rock walls. The...  Read More


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade