So little vacation time, so much to see and do. The Big Island draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year to our black sand beaches, picturesque coves, and tropical sunshine. Many people come for the umbrella drinks and end up staying for the laid-back, active lifestyle our island can provide. But if you’re on vacation and only have a few days to pack in lots of fun, here are the activities you really can’t miss.

1) Kayak and snorkel in  Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay boasts some of the most beautiful views on the island as well as one of the most pristine underwater ecosystems in the world. It is an absolute must see for visitors and residents alike. We suggest you make a day of it and check on the trip packages with the Kona Boys. Their local experts will take you on a guided Kayak tour across the bay to the reef where you’ll hop in a snorkel among over 200 species of fish, turtles, eels, and rays. You may even see a few spinner dolphins during your trip.

2) Summit and stargaze on Mauna Kea

Hawaii’s rich culture and history is deeply rooted in the nearby volcano, Mauna Kea. Take a trip to the visitor center and find out why one of the world’s largest telescopes is located here and why the night sky and stars were so important to native Hawaiians. We love the day trip offered by Mauna Kea Summit Adventures. The tour picks up in a convenient location in Kona and the guides are very knowledgeable. After a trip up the mountain and a delicious pasta dinner, you’ll enjoy learning about stars in constellations in one of the best viewing locations in the world.

3) Horseback ride in Waipi’o Valley 

The Waipi’o valley is a tropical jungle and was once the location of an ancient grass palace of Hawaiian kings. The lush green valley is surrounded by steep cliffs and opens onto a gorgeous black sand beach. It’s very popular with hikers but, even more beautiful on horseback. We suggest a trip with the friendly guides (both two and four legged) over at Waipi’o on Horseback. They’ll take you on an adventure under the tropical canopies while giving you a detailed background of the historical significance of the area.

4) Enjoy dinner and show

A trip to Hawaiian wouldn’t be complete without tasting the delicious Polynesian cuisine and experiencing an authentic Hawaiian lu’au. We suggest checking out the Island Breeze Productions’ show at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. You’ll sit ocean side and enjoy a display of hula, torch throwing, and so much more. You can even take a hula lesson yourself and learn the proper way to open a coconut. In addition to the show, the food is truly amazing. The Pua’a (roasted pig cooked in an underground oven) is a must-try.

These four items really only scratch the surface of everything there is to see and do on our beautiful island. But they’re family-friendly activities that are sure to please and these vendors boast the best reviews on the island. We hope you have a wonderful stay here in Hawaii and if you happen to fall in love and decide you’re ready to make a home in paradise, please contact us! We’d love to share our wealth of local knowledge and help you find a community that fits with your lifestyle.

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