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Top Big Island of Hawaii Day Trips

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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
$204.19
From
$204.19

Night Manta Ray Adventure
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Night Manta Ray Adventure

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1410
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
$70.00
From
$70.00

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
$225.13
From
$225.13

Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay

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591
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
$95.00
From
$95.00

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

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683
Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Join no more than 28 guests for a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$246.07
From
$246.07

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

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345
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
$160.00
From
$160.00

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

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63
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

Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island

Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island

star-4.5
203
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
$152.12
From
$152.12

Morning Reef Snorkel

Morning Reef Snorkel

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95
Enjoy two Hawaiian underwater adventures for the price of one with this 4-hour combination dolphin-swimming encounter and snorkeling trip. Start by exploring the 600+ species of marine life like sea turtles, coral and tropical fish that call the reefs of Kealakekua Bay home. Then meet up with a local pod of wild spinner dolphins for an optional swimming session. A trip choice without the dolphin swimming portion is also available.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.01
From
$70.01

Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast
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Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast

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Spend a full day exploring the Big Island with visits to waterfalls, beaches, tropical valleys, stunning viewpoints, and so much more. Learn about Kona’s coffee culture with visit to Kona Joe’s coffee farm, where you go behind the scenes and taste award-winning locally gown coffee. See Hawaii’s natural beauty at Punalu’u Black Sands Beach and lookout for Hawaiian green sea turtles. Enjoy lunch, then explore stunning waterfalls and a panoramic view of Hilo from Waipio Valley.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$229.32
From
$229.32

Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

Afternoon Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument

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232
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

Whale Watching On The Big Island

Whale Watching On The Big Island

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126
Hawaii’s Big Island is home to migrating pods of humpback whales, which often breach as they build up energy for their northward migration. This narrated tour brings you to some of the best viewing grounds via 24-person catamaran. You’re able to hear the whales singing through the provided hydrophones. The tour provider guarantees whale sightings or the next trip is free.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.90
From
$85.90

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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144
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
$186.99
From
$186.99

Big Island - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour

Big Island - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour

star-5
18
Explore Hawaii's active volcano with our GPS driving tour app! Shaka Guide is your perfect companion with turn-by-turn directions, information on what to look for, places to explore, and a truckload of interesting stories and Hawaiian legends of this powerful volcano. Skip the tour bus & explore Big Island at your own pace for a fraction of the cost with the best self-guided audio GPS tours for Hawaii! Rated the #1 best GPS tour app for Hawaii with over 6,000+ raving reviews and 200,000+ downloads. Why you need it: âś… You don't need service because you can download the tours & use them offline âś… Much cheaper than a tour bus at only $4.99 for lifetime access âś… Save time planning your trip because we have the best stops lined up âś… Freedom to stop and go as you please, unlike a tour bus where you are confined to the pre-determined route (no fun!) âś… Hear fun stories & great local music along the way
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  • 2 days
From
$14.99
per group
From
$14.99
per group

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI

Keauhou Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kailua-Kona, HI

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458
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 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$79.00
From
$79.00

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

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

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189
On this Mauna Kea sunset tour, you’ll get to see amazing views from above the clouds on the summit of Mauna Kea! Our guides will also take professional-quality photos of you with the sunset and stars for FREE ! !
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$230.00
From
$230.00

Afternoon Kealakekua Snorkel Tour

Afternoon Kealakekua Snorkel Tour

star-5
185
Take a Kealakekua Bay snorkeling cruise, and depart from the waters of Keauhou Bay to scour the Kona coastline for dolphins, turtles or, even, whales in the winter months. Upon arrival in Kealakekua Bay, peer overboard at the crystal clear waters that teem with colorful reef fish. After receiving expert instruction and snorkeling equipment onboard, you'll jump in the water to experience some of the best snorkeling on the Big Island.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$127.32
From
$127.32

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

star-4.5
150
Sample a cross-section of outdoor sights on the Big Island during this shore excursion exploring Volcanoes National Park, waterfalls, orchids 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 a botanical garden filled with rare orchids, snack on macadamia nut treats at a local farm, and visit a gorgeous black sand beach. A guide, park entrance fees, snacks, and round-trip port transport are included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$153.34
From
$153.34

Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure
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Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

star-5
372
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
$218.85
From
$218.85

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

star-5
53
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
$167.82
From
$167.82

Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group
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Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group

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81
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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  • 9 to 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$202.65
From
$202.65

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

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

star-5
48
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
$167.82
From
$167.82

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

star-4.5
47
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

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

star-4.5
23
Spend a full day exploring Kona. See greens turtles, learn how Kona coffee is made, and visit archeological sights. Make the most of animated amount of time with a varied tour encapsulating Hawaii’s history, natural beauty, wildlife and culinary culture. Stop at white sand beaches, walk through lava tube, sample locally frozen coffee and hand made sweets, then choose from a variety activities depending your tastes. Opt to snorkel, go souvenir shipping, or relaxant local brewery, before returning the port.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$139.00
From
$139.00

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