Free Things To Do On The Big Island
Last week, I wrote all about the best free things to do on Oahu. And when I went to the Big Island a few months ago, I was on a tight budget. So, I was interested in finding the best free things to do on the Big Island. During the process, I learned that there are a lot of amazing free things to do on the Big Island. Some of these are things you can drive right up to, others require a bit more adventure. I thought I would share with you today the best things I found and let you choose which you want to do when you visit.
And this is precisely what makes us here at Hawaii Aloha Travel stand out from those cookie cutter travel sites. Since we live here, we are always on the hunt for the best things to do, and, of course, the best deals. And we love to pass along what we find to you. Thats what the Aloha Spirit is all about. Heres what I found:
Kona Joe Coffee Tours Kona Hawaii
At the Kona Joe Coffee Farm, you can find out all you ever wanted to know about how your favorite mood-enhancer is produced and processed. There are several ways to tour the farm, including a completely free self-guided tour, but it is well worth the small additional charge to join one of the hourly fully guided tours. You will learn about the entire process, including cultivation, picking, processing, roasting, and brewing, and then get to sample the end product and take home a souvenir engraved coffee mug. For an even more in-depth experience, you can roast your own batch of coffee beans under the guidance of one of the roast masters. Your coffee beans will then be packaged for you to take home. The gift shop is stocked with delightful coffee-themed souvenirs.
Kona Joe Coffee LLC, 79-7346, Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, HI 96750, Phone: 808-322-2100
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Buy Your Own Fresh Caught Fish At The Supermarket
The last thing I can recommend you do while youre visiting the Big Island is toskip the expensive fish at the restaurants and buy your own sushi-grade fishat the supermarket. You need to make sure you get there early enough to get thebest thats available, and dont hesitate to talk to the staff workingat the supermarket to understand when the next batch will come in. You can getfabulous Grade A tuna for a fraction of the price youd get in a restaurant forthe exact same quality.
About the author
Hi there! I’m Monica, an American expat living in Germany for over six years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.
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Sunset On Mauna Kea Volcano
Did you know that it actually snows in Hawaii? And that Hawaii is technically home to the tallest mountain in the world? Well now you do!
Mauna Kea Volcano is Hawaiis tallest mountain, at 13,796 feet . But most of the volcano is actually underwater. If measured from the sea floor, Mauna Kea towers 33,476 feet .
Thats even taller than Mount Everest!
At the summit of this long dormant volcano lies the Mauna Kea Observatory, a collection of 13 high-powered space telescopes.
Driving up to the observatory for sunset is a popular activity, and so is late-night stargazing trips. There are also a few short hikes around the top of the volcano. In the winter, the summit can be covered with snow.
Volcano Star Gazing Tour
Observe the deep sky through a large aperture telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea with a professional astronomer.
The Best Things To Do In Kona Hawaii
Kona is an ideal base for exploring the Big Island as a whole. With sights and attractions practically on the doorstep of this town, youll never have to go far to find something altogether awesome.
How large does the Kona area span? Kona is a district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The word Kona means Leeward which is meant to indicate that this is the dry side of the island. This makes sense because the weather is typically nicer here and has less precipitation.
What’s interesting is that it’s a misnomer to call the main town as Kona. Instead, the downtown is Kailua-Kona. Other towns you’ll find in Kona’s boundaries are Kealakekua, Keauhou, Holualoa, Honaunau, and Honalo.
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Visit The Lookout Point At Waipio Valley
The stunning vistas at the lookout point to Waipio Valley truly inspires to the valley floor, HIilawe waterfalls and the surrounding hills in this ancient gulch where taro farms, wild horses and a large black sand beach fill in the landscape. This is a real Hawaiian adventure if youre willing to hike down to the valley and explore the beach areas that are draw even though swimming is not advised due to strong waves breaking on the shoreline. The areas leading to the waterfall and back are all private lands so please do not trespass into those back areas.
There are a variety of tour operators that also lead groups down with horse drawn carriage, horseback and simple shuttle rides to the bottom and back out for those that still want to see the black sand beach below.
** Currently the road to Waipio valley is closed but you can still get spectacular views from above at their observation lookout point
Heres an aerial view of Waipio from above
Find Your New Favorite Waterfall
I dont know what is so calming about a waterfall, but I know that I could sit and watch/listen to one all day.
One of the most popular Big Island waterfalls is Rainbow Falls. It is an 80-foot tall waterfall located in Hilo and its one of the best waterfalls on the Big Island.
The hike leading to the falls is moderate and the journey is full of adventure with beautiful forests, lush vegetation, and flowers to keep it interesting.
Theres also Akaka Falls, which is located inside the Akaka Falls State Park in Hawaii. Its a 422-foot natural waterfall.
And before you get to Akaka Falls, you can also visit Kahuna Falls inside the state park. Its a 100-foot waterfall that youll pass by on your way to Akaka if you follow the footpath.
Pick any of the amazing waterfalls from this list, and then just dont forget your camera. You will want to use it!
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Go To Uncle Roberts For Live Music On Wednesdays
If youre down for an authentic Big Island experience, make sure to make a pit stop atUncle Roberts for live music on Wednesdays. There are vendors from all sortsof local producers, and you have a chance to meet people who are part of the localscene. Live music can be had at several locations on the Big Island, butUncle Roberts is a tradition that has been going through two generations of the owners.
Recommended Restaurants In Kona
As mentioned previously, the most budget-friendly dining option in Kona is shopping at Costco or another grocery store and cooking for yourself. That being said, we would be remiss not to share some of Konas best restaurants, in the likely event that youd want to eat out a few times!
One Aloha Shave Ice Co Classic Hawaii shave ice and smoothies with organic, hand-made ingredients
Original Thai Cuisine Tasty Thai dishes for dining in or take away.75-5629 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI
Broke Da Mouth Grindz Bar & Grill Hearty Hawaii and Filipino comfort food.75-5864 Walua Rd, Kailua-Kona, HI
Umekes Poke bowls and local style lunch plates.75-143 Hualalai Rd #105, Kailua-Kona, HI
Da Poke Shack Award winning poke bowls by the beach South of Kona. Picnic tables outside or take it to go.76-6246 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI
Lava JavaLocally-sourced cafe in downtown Kona with ocean views.Location: 75-5799 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI
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See Historical Hawaiian Sights At Puuhonua O Hnaunau
While youre on the Kona side of the island, you can visit Puuhonua O HÅnaunau,also called The Refuge. If a Hawaiian broke a kapu ,this is a place where they could seek immunity by fleeing here. Today you canseem impressive walls made out of lava rock and fitted together withoutmortar, as well as reconstructions of what the ancient Hawaiian houses,called hale, looked like. You can do a self-guided tour using a map at the entrance of the park.
Puuhonua O HÅnaunau is located right next to Two Step beach, a popularsurfing and snorkeling spot. Definitely combine a trip to these twoplaces together if you have a chance to visit this part of the Kona Coast.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Center
At the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Center, visitors can visit the factory where the nuts are processed, checked, and packaged. You can also drive through the Macadamia Nut orchards. Visitors can also buy and of the Mauna Loa products in the gift shop. Best of all, it is also free to visit the visitors center.
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Outdoor Things To Do In Kona
Theres never been a better time to take advantage of the great outdoors and all the things to do in kona. And, despite the kona climate, going alfresco doesnt have to require packing your bags and heading to warmer climes. From discovering urban nature to exploring the citys prettiest parks, weve tracked down the best outdoor activities in kona.
Theres a whole host of ways where you can enjoy yourself while socially distancing, from open air pop-up cinemas screening iconic movies to comedy nights with bottomless drinks. If youre not a fan of lounging and are looking for something more exciting to do in konas parks and gardens, check out this roundup of the best outdoor activities to try.
Read our guide for Outdoor Activities In kona and Find and Book experiences, courses, activities and tours! Browse through the list of experiences, either instantly book onto your dates or enquire to book. All you have to do is turn up and enjoy! If youve got any questions about any specific experience, send a message and the providers will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Have a specific experience in mind that we dont have listed? No problem, drop us a message and well send your quote around to hundreds of the best experience providers nationwide and come back with you the best quote, making it easy for you to make the most of your spare time!
Hn Greenwell Store Museum
Address: Kealakekua, HI 96750
When in up-country Kona, you can go to the H.N. Greenwell Store Museum, which will be like visiting a past version of nowadays Walmart.
This 1,000-square-foot general store was built in 1870 by an entrepreneur named Henry Nicholas Greenwell. The shop displayed plenty of different kinds of products, from castor oil to coffee and crochet yarn, specifically designed to meet the large farming communitys needs.
Kona Historical Society has restored and restocked the store with the exact reproductions that customers wouldve bought there some 150 years ago!
They were very attentive and successful in recreating the tiniest details to make it look as close to the original as possible.
If you ever wondered what a general store in the 19th century was like, buckle up, because this place will definitely give you a taste of traveling back in time.
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Take A Scenic Drive Along The Red Road In Puna
The coastal drive on the East side of Puna from Kalapana to Opihikao and through lush forests opening up to raw lava rocks and fields is striking. The raw beauty of the area passing through tree tunnels, secret beaches and beautiful coastline views is truly what unspoiled Hawaii is all about even to a new black sand beach created by lava pouring to the region just in 2018. Its a fun and spectacular loop drive to experience on the island. At the end of the road is Pohoiki beach a gorgeous and long black sand and gravel beach with some hot ponds that you can also explore in the area.
More Faqs About Things To Do In Kona Hawaii
Is Kona worth visiting?
Definitely. Kona Hawaii is a beautiful vacation destination, even if its not as lush and tropical as other parts of the islands. As you can see from our list, there are plenty of things to do in Kona, Hawaii for free, for cheap, and for bucket list travelers.
Is Kona or Hilo better?
Most visitors stay in Kona where there are more tourist amenities, beaches, and vacation rentals. Hilo is frequently more rainy, but the weather is typically better in Kona. Personally, we only go to Hilo to visit family, while we visit Kona for vacation.
What should you not miss in Kona Hawaii?
Of course it depends on your interests, but wed say the most interesting thing about the Big Island of Hawaii is its diverse landscapes. So get out and explore! See the rugged coasts, the hills of coffee, the pasturelands, the volcanoes.
Is Kailua Kona safe?
Hawaii is moderately safe but its certainly not immune from crime. For details about pandemic safety, see our Hawaii pandemic travel updates.
Do I need a car in Kona?
We do recommend renting a car to explore the Big Island, unless you plan to stay on the resort or in a hotel right in town. Kona is not particularly walkable and many of the best attractions require driving.
Is there Uber in Kona?
Yes, Uber and Lyft are available in Kailua-Kona and around the Big Island. With a car rental shortage and increasing rental car prices, ride share apps can be a useful alternative for travelers to Kona.
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The Beautiful Akaka Falls
Akaka falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls is set in a lovely botanical garden and is an easy loop trail through lush surroundings with beautiful vistas. There are two waterfalls to check out on the tour at Akaka Falls State Park which you walk past bamboo groves, thick dense forests and past a variety of gorgeous tropical plants and flowers.
Entrance is free for Hawaii residents but $5 parking or $1 per person entry to the park and waterfall hiking area.
Check out beautiful Akaka falls below
Buy Your Dad An Aloha Shirt
One does not simply come to Hawaii and buy an Aloha shirt. The sheer range and selection canbe overwhelming, as can the price variation. You can get cheap Hawaiian shirtsat the Target in Kona, or you can go for locally-made and handmade Hawaiian shirtswith prices from $60-70 and upwards. As always, its great to shop local if yourelooking for a gift to bring home to your family and friends. Youll also find numerousABC Stores in Hawaii, where you can get slightly more cookie-cutter but still decentgifts.
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Lay On A Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beaches are unlike any other, as they are made out of tiny fragments of lava. If you come to the Big Island, seeing a black sand beach is a must-do. How often do you get to walk on a beach made out of lava rock?!
Punalumu Black Sand Beach is perhaps the most famous black sand beach on the Big Island. Located on the southern part of the Big Island, it might be a bit out of your way to get to.
But did you know that Hilo also has a number of black sand beaches? If you are in Hilo, look for Richardson Beach Park. If you look closely here, you will also see green crystals. This green sand is made out of olivine crystals.
If its a green sand beach that youre dreaming of, check out Papakolea Beach, located on the southern part of the island.
More Information About Hawaii On The Cheap
Hawaii on the Cheap publishes information about free and cheap events, discount tickets on entertainment, and tips for saving money while living in the Hawaiian Islands.
We focus on free events, cheap things to do and ways to reduce entertainment costs .
Youll find things to do this weekend, plus plenty of choices every night of the week, including live music, places to go holoholo, fairs & festivals, sporting events, outdoor events, on the water fun, food discounts and deals, and moreanything we find that our readers might enjoy.
We post the deals as we find them. But you know the drill: Prices and promotions are subject to change without notice. So be sure to check with the merchant before you head out.
Hawaii on the Cheap is owned and published by Carole Cancler. For more information, visit our About Page. We are a member of the Living on the Cheap network. Find another cheap city and get advice from experts across the country on how to live the good life for less wherever you live or travel.
Got something to tell us? Do you have a tip? Do you have a good deal? Did you find a broken link? Just want to say hi? We love to hear from readers! Get in touch with us.
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- Find many more free and cheap events each and every day on the Hawaii on the Cheap calendar.
- Visit the Hawaii on the Cheap home page and choose from a menu of free and cheap activities in the Hawaiian Islands.
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