9 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do On The Big Island (Hawaii) - Updated 2024

non touristy things to do on the big island
| 5 min read

Hawaii is the biggest island in the Central Pacific of the United States. It is a popular vacation spot due to its amazing sandy beaches and lush green coastal forest. It is also among a handful of islands with active volcanos. Apart from the beautiful beaches and charming resorts, you can also take time and visit the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and see the Nāhuku - Thurston Lava Tube and the popular Kilauea volcano, the Waipio Valley hiking trails and scenic ocean views, the Mauna Kea which is Hawaii’s highest peak and a dormant volcano. Come and take a look at the best non-touristy things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.

1. Play golf at Volcano Golf & Country Club

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is home to some of nature's most awe-inspiring wonders. In partnership with @troon, we...

Posted by Volcano Golf Course on Saturday, August 20, 2022

One of the most exciting activities a golfer can do is enjoy an amazing game of gold on a one-of-a-kind volcano golf course. Located on the outer edge of Kilauea volcanic crater. Mind you, this volcanic golf course is still active, thus giving you that exciting edge as you enjoy a nice game. The golf course features a total of 6,547 yards (5986.6 meters) of playing space and 18 holes. After an amazing game of golf, there are a number of bars and restaurant that you can visit once you are done.

Volcano Golf & Country Club

Address: 99-1621 Piimauna Dr, Volcano, HI 96785, USA

Website: Volcano Golf & Country Club

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 6:30am - 5pm

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2. Hike through the Waipi'o Valley

Waipi'o Valley
Source: Photo by Flickr user Navin75 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you are looking for something to do in your free time or weekend, then enjoy an amazing hiking trip through the Waipi’o Valley. Though it may be short, this 6.5-mile-long (10.5 kilometers) stretch is not for the faint-hearted. You will get to reach the famous Waipi’o Valley lookout point where you will enjoy the breathtaking views of the sea cliff and the valley. If you are looking for a challenging way to cut down some weight and at the same time engage in a challenging activity, this might just be the thing you need. You will come out exhausted but at the same time feel victorious for finishing.

Hāwea Waipiʻo Valley Adventure

Address: 45-3390 Mamane Street Honokaa, HI 96727

Website: Hāwea Waipiʻo Valley Adventure

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 7am - 7pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

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3. Enjoy zipline adventure (from USD 235.0)

Spare a weekend and take an adrenaline-pumping zip line adventure experience at the Kohala canopy. The instructor will advise you on the do and don’ts before beginning this exciting adventure. As you zip line cursing at high speeds, you will enjoy captivating views of the Kohala countryside on one of the nine zip lines. This amazing experience takes approximately three hours, but it will be the best three hours of your lifetime.

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Big Island Kohala Canopy Zipline Adventure

Duration: 3 hours

587 reviews

4. Try stand-up paddle surfing (from USD 103.0)

Not only is SUP or better known as stand-up paddle surfing an interesting and challenging activity, but it is also a method of working out while at the same time enjoying yourself. Getting started as you try to stand up will be a little challenging as you wobble and slip up and finding yourself falling in the water once or twice, but once you get the hang of it, what comes next is just pure fun and excitement. As you paddle your way not too far from the shores you will get to enjoy the stunning views and feel as if you are standing on water.

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Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson on the Big Island

Duration: 2 hours

15 reviews

5. Enjoy live music at Huggo’s on the Rocks

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Before being renamed to On The Rocks, this amazing entertainment spot was formally known as Huggo’s on the Rocks. A line up of the most talented dancers, singers and musicians can be found in this unique entertainment spot. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself on your way to experience existing entertainment while you enjoy the stunning views and the lively performance. Other than the amazing show, you can enjoy one of the exquisite meals and exotic drinks that will turn your day into a thrilling and memorable one during your free time or on a weekend.

Huggo’s on the Rocks

Address: 75-5824 Kahakai Rd, Kailua, HI 96740, USA

Website: Huggo’s on the Rocks

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm

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6. Grab Wailua wheat beer at Kona Pub and Brewing Company

Kona Brewing Hawaii Kai
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jayson Nutt used under CC0

If you consider yourself a strong fanatic of beer, then you have to visit the Kona Pub and Brewing Company and grab yourself a nice cold bottle of Wailua wheat beer. The amazing thing about this pub is the fact that there are a number of different types of beer flavors ranging from the Hibiscus Brut IPA which is a popular drink during celebrations to the Duke’s Blonde Ale which is a perfect drink taken any time of the day. Whichever beer option you choose you are sure to have an amazing drinking experience.

Kona Pub and Brewing Company

Address: 74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua, HI 96740, USA

Website: Kona Pub and Brewing Company

Opening hours: 11am - 10pm (daily)

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7. Take a submarine tour (from USD 181.0)

Take part in an exciting adventure to the sunken city of Atlantis in a spacious and safe Kona Submarine. The first thing that will you giggle in excitement is the submarine itself since it is only a handful of people who get to enjoy the privilege of an amazing submarine ride. As the submarine submerges into the ocean, the fishes will be the first to greet you as you dive deeper into the Kona coast cobalt waters. This amazing experience takes approximately one hour and during this time, you will get to see the beautiful and colorful coral reefs, a perfect way to experience the underwater life without getting wet.

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Atlantis Submarine Kona - Hawaii Island

Duration: 1 hour

486 reviews

8. Swim with manta rays (from USD 106.0)

Kona Coast
Source: Photo by Flickr user sodai gomi used under CC BY 2.0

Have you ever wondered how it will feel to swim with the majestic manta rays, it is time to stop wondering and take the initiative of doing what you have imagined for so long. Put on your diving suit and safely secure your diving equipment and immerse yourself in the magical sea world. Get up close but not too close and watch the manta rays gracefully cruise in the ocean as they effortlessly flap their fins as if they are flying in the sea. The best place to enjoy this spectacular activity is along the Kona coast where these beautiful and gentle giants commonly visit.

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Manta Ray Swim

Duration: 2 hours

9. Take a helicopter tour (from USD 432.0)

Enjoy a spectacular helicopter ride as you get to tour the Big Island of Hawaii. You will get to cruise above spectacular valleys, peaks and beautiful coasts. If you have been curious and interested to see the lava bubble up, you will get your chance to view this captivating view as you get to fly over the active craters as you head to the lush green Hamakua Coast forest. The Kohala mountains waterfalls will take your breath away before landing safely on the ground. Don’t forget to carry your camera with you to capture this one of a kind views.

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Circle of Fire and Waterfalls Helicopter Tour from Hilo

Duration: 50 minutes

117 reviews

Explore the Big Island of Hawaii

Sometimes doing the simple things in life is the best way you can enjoy your time. There are so many things that you can do that will always give you that thrilling experience you have been looking for. Take a step back and you will be amazed by the little things you ignore thinking they are not worth exploring. Not all non-touristy things are boring!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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A seasoned travel journalist, Thomson Joe is a free spirit with a fiery need for discovery and exploration of new attractions, culture, and heritage. With a passion for travel writing that can be...Read more

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