Where to Go

Add These 8 Big Island Activities to Your Short List for Big fun

Hilton Grand Vacations' best of Hawaii list

The Vacationeer

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands, the island of Hawaii, simply known as the Big Island, is home to one of the world's most unique landscapes. The island's awe-inspiring biodiversity includes climate zones ranging from wet tropical to polar tundra and allows for a range of activities just as varied. 

With five Hilton Grand Vacations properties on the Big Island and our passion for helping Owners and guests experience the unforgettable, we're unofficial experts on the best things to do in Hawaii. 

Here are some of our favorite things to do on the Big Island.


Hawaii Island is a living, breathing piece of history. Etched into its centuries-old lava fields are a series of carvings made by Native Hawaiians hundreds of years ago. Find them within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (the Puuloa Petroglyphs), in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park just north of Kailua Village, and along the King's Trail on the Kohala Coast (just a short walk from our Hawaii vacation ownership resorts).

Mauna Kea Summit

Adventure to the summit of Mauna Kea, the highest point on the Big Island of Hawaii with its peak reaching more than 4,000 feet above sea level. Take advantage of your proximity to the skies above and trek up early to watch the sunrise. If you're more of a night owl, plan for an evening of stargazing, complete with access to the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy's state-of-the-art telescopes.

Akaka Falls

Discover two gorgeous waterfalls on one short hike within Akaka Falls State Park on the Hilo Coast. The pleasant 0.4-mile uphill trek will take you through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns to the 100-foot Kahuna Falls first, then around the bend to the towering 442-foot Akaka Falls plummeting into a gorge below.

Papakolea Green Sand Beach

The Big Island abounds with picturesque beaches and is home to one of only four green-sand beaches in the world. Make the 2-mile hike or rent a 4×4 vehicle to reach Papakolea, a beach carved from the cinder cone of Mauna Loa, whose crystals give it its unique green hue.

Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

This 180-acre national historic park is home to sacred royal grounds that once provided refuge to Hawaiian warriors in times of battle. Follow the map to immerse yourself in ancient Hawaiian history by exploring the well-preserved carvings and temples set against the area's black lava rock. Round out your time in the park by exploring the rocky terrain of the Kalapana Lava Flow on the Big Island.

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Take a self-guided tour through this lush, tropical oasis considered a natural greenhouse and comprised of more than 2,500 species of plants and flowers. You'll want to ready your camera for this adventure too, especially for the ocean views at the end of the garden's central pathway.

Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay is one of the most sought-out places on the Big Island to experience the underwater world. Bring your snorkel gear to swim with colorful fish, green sea turtles and even the occasional spinner dolphin. To get here, you can hike in, take a boat tour or kayak.

Hilton Grand Vacations travel pro-tip: go early to avoid the crowds.  

Kona Coffee Plantations

The Big Island of Hawaii's 10 climate zones, rich volcanic soils and ample cloud coverage makes it perfect for growing, arguably, some of the best coffee on the planet. Pay a visit to any of the many coffee farms in the Kona area, where you can learn about the cultivation and production of your favorite caffeinated beverage (and sample plenty along the way).

Location is Everything 

Vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations, gives you access to our five Big Island properties, and the ideal launchpad to experience this Pacific paradise. Most importantly, you'll have best in class accommodations to rest your head and award-winning service that'll make your time in Hawaii unforgettable. 

Read Travel Bucket List Ideas: 14 Must-See Photo Spots in Hawaii to make sure you come home with Instagram-worthy travel photos


The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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