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The Big Island packs a big punch in terms of things to see, and the dry, sunny climate of Kona makes it a popular base for exploring the island. From volcanic peaks and lush valleys to island circumnavigations, here are the best day trips from Kailua-Kona.

Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii’s youngest island still has three active volcanoes, and one of the best places to learn about volcanic activity—and witness it firsthand—is at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On a guided tour to this popular Big Island attraction, visitors might find themselves strolling with sea turtles on a black sand beach, standing inside a lava tube, or watching the glow of lava inside Halemaumau Crater from the Jaggar Museum observation area.

Waipio Valley
The famously steep Waipio Valley boasts spectacular lookouts, cliffs a thousand feet high, plummeting waterfalls, and a rich history. To experience this magical place on the northern Hamakua Coast, ride an ATV through the Valley of Kings to see Hawaii’s tallest single-fall waterfall and the longest black sand beach in the state. Or opt to see the valley from above on a helicopter tour of the island.

Mauna Kea
If you want to throw snowballs in the morning and build a sandcastle at sunset, plan a day trip to the summit of Mauna Kea. Topping out at 13,796 feet (4,205 meters), the peak is Hawaii’s highest point and home to an observatory offering some of the best stargazing in the archipelago. Day trippers can choose between morning or evening tours, which include transportation in a (required) four-wheel drive vehicle. 

Circle Island Tours
For time-crunched travelers, it’s possible to see all of the Big Island’s highlights in one long day on a circle-island tour from Kona. Stops along the way might include Volcanoes National Park, Akaka and Rainbow Falls, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, and one of the coffee farms in the cool uplands of the Kona coffee belt.

Pearl Harbor on Oahu
Travelers based on the Big Island shouldn’t miss out on one of Hawaii’s top attractions, Pearl Harbor. On a day trip to Oahu from Kona, visit the site of the Japanese attack that thrust the country into World War II. Stand above the sunken remains of the USS Arizona and climb aboard the USS Missouri. See other notable Honolulu attractions, like Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, and Punchbowl National Cemetery before returning to the Kona coast.
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

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The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$220.32
From
$220.32

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

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The 13,803-foot (4,207.3-meter) peak of Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point, and a popular spot for star-gazing. With this tour, travel up to the volcano summit with your guide, stop for dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, then arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunset. As dark sets in, enjoy a guided stargazing experience and marvel at the stars and planets using a refractor telescope and razor pointer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$266.67
From
$266.67

Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
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Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour

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Pack in some of Hawaii’s most mesmerizing sights during this Big Island twilight volcano tour. Sample Kona-grown coffee from a local coffee farm, keep an eye out for sea turtles at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, and taste Hawaiian sweet bread at Punalu’u Bakery. Then, explore Volcanoes National Park before ending your experience by stargazing in a secluded location—perfect for taking in views of the night sky.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$249.10
From
$249.10

Mauna Kea Summit Sunset and Stars Free Astro Photos Hilo Kona Waikoloa Pick Up

Mauna Kea Summit Sunset and Stars Free Astro Photos Hilo Kona Waikoloa Pick Up

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Enjoy a sunset and stargazing experience like no other on this small-group trip to Mauna Kea—the highest point in the Hawaiian islands. Following afternoon pickup, travel in a 4x4 van to the summit—you can change into a warm jacket and pair of gloves, and sip a hot beverage, as the sun starts to set. Then, learn why so many research telescopes are located here during a brilliant celestial show.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.00
From
$239.00

Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm
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Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm

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On this tour from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experience some of the Big Island’s best sights in a small group capped at 14 people. In addition to stopping at Punalu’u Beach Park to walk down a black-sand beach, you have the chance to sip Kona coffee on the plantation right where it’s grown, as well as hike through a lava tube that was formed by Kilauea volcano. What’s more, receive an iPad to use on the tour. Use it for photos, videos, and info, as well as playing games or watching movies while traveling between the sites.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$209.00
From
$209.00

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii

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1995
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay

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793
There are few places in all of Hawaii more historic than Kealakekua Bay, as it's the spot where Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians, and the Hawaiian monarch, King Kamehameha III was born just a few miles away. The history aside, it's also one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and you'll have the chance to experience the beauty on this snorkeling tour from Kona. Search for dolphins on the way to the bay while admiring the volcanic coast, and after scouring the red for coral and fish, climb aboard for a lunch that's served by the friendly crew.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$105.00
From
$105.00

Admission to Voyagers of the Pacific Luau

Admission to Voyagers of the Pacific Luau

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262
Spend an evening immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture with this excursion to the Royal Kona Resort Luau. Choose your ideal time for the outing — the luau occurs four nights a week⁠ — then enjoy a shell lei greeting, a lei workshop, and an Imu ceremony with a delicious roasted pig. Sip Mai-Tais while admiring beautiful views of Kailua Bay.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$130.89
From
$130.89

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

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455
Journey back in time — when ancient, powerful Kings ruled the rugged, fertile land of the Hawaiian Islands — on this 3-hour dinner cruise to Kealakekua Bay. Travel 12 miles down the Kona Coast to the Captain Cook monument. Learn the many secrets of the Big Island as a local historian points out more than 50 points of interest along the way.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$170.81
From
$170.81

Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
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Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

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Sail up the scenic Kona coastline, getting views of ancient lava flows and verdant cliffs, and stopping at the Captain Cook Monument, on this afternoon sail in Kealakekua Bay. Slip into the water using the provided snorkeling gear to see vibrant schools of fish, living coral, and even pods of spinner dolphins. Learn about the area's underwater flora, fauna, and ecosystem through guided commentary.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$82.73
From
$82.73

Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island
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Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island

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260
On this exciting Kona submarine tour, dive deep below the cobalt waters just off the Kona coast, where an entire world of fish and marine creatures is waiting just below the surface. As the submarine descends towards the colorful reef, peer through the portholes at fish that swim to within inches of the submarine windows, and experience the sense of peace and calm in this world beneath the waves. This is a great way to explore underwater without even getting your hair wet, and, if you’re very lucky, there’s even the chance you could see a passing shark.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$164.39
From
$164.39

Volcano National Park Adventure From Kona
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Volcano National Park Adventure From Kona

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Many tours can take you to Volcanoes National Park, but only this one lets you spend your day with a geologist who can provide information that others can't. This small-group geologist-led tour offers a far richer experience of the world's most active volcano than you'd get anywhere else. You'll also visit a coffee farm, waterfall, and Punaluu Black Sand Beach.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$219.00
From
$219.00

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI
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Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI

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Have the opportunity to admire wild manta rays in their natural habitat on this evening cruise. Set sail after dark, when the manta rays come out to feed on plankton, and use a custom-made lightboard that attracts the rays. Float through the warm waters for up to 40 minutes, use your snorkel to watch as the rays swim and feed, and learn more about the majestic creatures from your guide.
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  • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$93.00
From
$93.00

Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
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Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights

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Sample a cross-section of outdoor sights on the Big Island during this shore excursion exploring Volcanoes National Park, waterfall, black sand beach and more. Discover the postcard-perfect Rainbow Falls before visiting the amazing volcanic steam vents and unique geology around Kilauea Volcano. Before your day is done, check out an ornamental Japanese garden, snack on macadamia nut treats at a local farm, and visit a gorgeous black sand beach. A guide, park entrance fees, and round-trip port transport are included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$153.34
From
$153.34

Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group

Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group

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93
The Big Island is one of the most diverse places on earth. For visitors, it can be difficult to comprehend the vastness of the island's diversity but this tour offers the chance to immerse yourself in it. You'll explore the rainforests and waterfalls along Mauna Kea's Hamakua Coast and the summit of the active volcano Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, before watching Kilauea's lava lake glowing after sunset.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$202.65
From
$202.65

Manta Magic - Night Manta Ray Snorkel At Manta Village, Kona, Hawaii
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Manta Magic - Night Manta Ray Snorkel At Manta Village, Kona, Hawaii

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742
Get up close with Hawaii’s graceful manta rays during this nighttime snorkel experience along the Kona coast with a small group. Watch these gentle giants as they swoop and dive for plankton just below the surface during their evening feeding. An on-board manta ray specialist, along with a certified swim guide, ensure an informative and safe experience.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$145.00
From
$145.00

Deluxe Snorkel & Dolphin Watch Aboard a Luxury Catamaran from Kailua-Kona

Deluxe Snorkel & Dolphin Watch Aboard a Luxury Catamaran from Kailua-Kona

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472
Discover Kona’s underwater paradise on this snorkeling cruise and dolphin watch. Cruise through the protected marine sanctuaries of Red Hill, home to more than 600 species of enchanting ocean wildlife. After a safety briefing and some basic instruction from the lifeguard-trained crew, jump in the water for a snorkel. While you're enjoying the crystal clear snorkeling the crew will be grilling a delicious BBQ burger lunch. Then relax with a cocktail from the premium cash bar and enjoy the timeless beauty of the Kona coastline on the return trip. Bring a towel. Everything else is included.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$170.81
From
$170.81

Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo
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Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo

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67
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is famous for its ever-flowing lava and the planet’s most massive active volcano. This tour journeys to top natural landmarks in and around the park. Visit Rainbow Falls, Richardson black sand beach, Historic Banyan Drive, Liliuokalani Gardens, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, Akatsuka Orchid Nursery, and the active volcano of Kilauea. You also get the opportunity to walk through a lava tube.
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  • 6 hours
From
$195.99
From
$195.99

Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

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423
See three of the Big Island's most famous waterfalls in a single day on this guided tour. Travel along the Hamakua Coast to Akaka Falls, Hi’ilawe Falls, and Rainbow Falls, and swim at a private waterfall. Learn about the history and legends of the island from a guide. Lunch, snacks and hotel transport are included.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$249.10
From
$249.10

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, a tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and climb to the rim of Kilauea volcano. On this small group tour, your guide will customize the pace and number of sights.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens
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Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens

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85
Experience some of the Big Island’s top attractions during this day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the sights around Hilo. Learn all about volcanoes as you marvel at Halema'uma'u crater and explore the massive Kilauea Volcano. Immerse your sense in the beauty of Hilo including a visit to Rainbow Falls and stops to indulge in local chocolates and orchids.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

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53
Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana lava caves, then explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$218.84
From
$218.84

Kona Shore Excursion: Hawaiian Sea Turtles , Historic Kona & Coffee
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Kona Shore Excursion: Hawaiian Sea Turtles , Historic Kona & Coffee

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27
Spend a full day exploring Kona. See green sea turtles, learn how Kona coffee is made, and visit archeological sites. Make the most of your time with a varied tour encapsulating Hawaii’s history, natural beauty, wildlife and culinary culture. Stop at white sand beaches, sample locally crafted world-famous coffee and then choose from a variety activities depending your tastes. You have the choice to snorkel, go souvenir shopping, or relax at the local brewery before returning the port.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$139.00
From
$139.00

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

star-4
63
Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit different destinations and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.79
From
$239.79

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