During Your Stay
You've found a place to stay, now what are you going to do while you're here? There's plenty for adventurous travelers to do on Hawai'i Island. Far too much to put down on this one page! The following lists include just a few of the great places to visit and eat nearby. For greater insight into what you can do during your Big Island stay, we recommend you check out many of the travel publications out there. Click here to go to a website with great information on the Big Island, and for guests traveling with their furry friends, this website is a great resource. Note: as of this writing (2/21/2022), some of these businesses or activities may be closed or have restrictions or different hours of operation. Be sure to call in advance or check websites to see if there are any changes due to the Coronavirus.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - We assume this is the reason you're visiting! Be sure to stop by the Jaggar Museum (Currently closed following the 2018 Volcanic activity, but there is a new overlook just before the Museum) for a great view of Halema'uma'u Crater (it's even more spectacular at night!), and don't pass up the Volcano Art Center located near the visitors center in the park.
See the lava! - Check Hawaii Volvano Observatory's (HVO) Kilauea eruption page to see if lava is flowing and where. If so, you may have an opportunity to see it up close and personal from within the park or from the Kalapana viewing area (Lava Hotline: 808-961-8093). Lava not flowing? Hop on board a helicopter tour and see straight into the mouth of the volcano. Afraid of heights, go see the lava from a boat! (2/21/2022 Update: Lava is currently only visible in the summit caldera of Kilauea, Halema'uma'u but is easliy viewed by walking the abndonded Crater Rim Drive)
Volcano Art Center - There are two campuses operated by the Volcano Art Center. One is just down the road from us on Kalanikoa Rd, and the other is located in the national park. Be sure to check out their web site before your trip, as they offer many free activities as well as beautiful local art for sale. The Ni'aulani campus near us offers free weekly rainforest walks!
Volcano Market - Every Sunday (and now Thursdays from 4-7 pm) you can get a bite to eat and some excellent Ka'u coffee while you shop for very inexpensive and locally-grown produce. Also, be sure to check out the Hilo Farmers Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays when they have the most vendors.
Volcano Winery - The southernmost winery in the United States. Be sure to make it by here for a free wine tasting. The winery specializes in wines that incorporate local flavors to create unique flavors.
Volcano Golf and Country Club - Permenantly closed for now.
Punaluu Black Sand Beach - A visit to this beach is well worth the quick drive. The green sea turtles that rest here are a magnificent sight, but be sure to keep your distance and respect their space.
Coffee! - If you're interested in coffee, you came to the right place. Kona coffee may be the best known in Hawaii, but did you know that just nearby Volcano is the Hilo Coffee Mill and Ka'u Coffee Mill? If you head over to the leeward side for some Kona coffee, we highly recommend Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative as well as Greenwell Farms.
Akatsuka Orchid Gardens - Just down the road for all you orchid lovers. They have so many varieties and options for you to get some of their orchids home. Consider yourself warned that you will probably returning home with one, or three.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Farm Tour - Free. Not terribly exciting, but you can try some free macnuts, and the store is pretty interesting. (Currently closed to public)
Snorkeling - Bring snorkeling gear! There are plenty of places to snorkel on the Hilo side of the island. One of our favorites locations is Richardson Ocean Park, but there are plenty of places explore on both sides of the island.
Diving - If you like to dive Nautilus Dive Center (currently closed) offers chartered dives in Hilo, and if you'll be visiting Kailua-Kona we highly recommend Big Island Divers for their manta ray night dive and other charters.
Waipi'o Valley - There are many options to visit this spectacular location. However, the steeptest one-lane road in the US is becoming increasingly choked by visitors in 4x4 Jeeps and hiking the road down to privately owned land. If you want to support locals and see and learn about this special area, you can take a tour shuttle down to the valley or better yet, ride horses through the streams and jungle. Waipi'o on Horseback is a company we highly recommend and they offer shuttle tour services as well as ATV tours out of their headquarters. While you wait for your tour, you are encouraged to walk the grounds and pick a variety of fruits.
Fishing - 'Ohana Sportfishing Adventures out of Honokohau Harbor north of Kailua-Kona is a great family-friendly fishing charter we have used. Be sure to mention that you were recommended by us if you book with them!
Thai Thai - Excellent Thai food with locally grown produce and authentic Thai spices. We recommend the Green and Panang curries.
Kilauea Lodge Restaurant - The lodge offers excellent meals in a beautiful setting. If you dine here, take some time to look over the fireplace to see pieces of history embedded within.
Lava Rock Cafe - This place fills up with tourists from the park that arrive by bus, so we recommend you get there before prime eating times. Despite the flood of tourists, the food is actually very tasty.
Eagleʻs Lighthouse - This eatery is located in the same building as the Volcano Store, on the Haunani Rd. side. An excellent place to grab sandwiches and local favorites. The bread is home made and delicious. Lots of great cookies and desserts.
Cafe Ono - Cafe Ono is a fantastic kitchen located at Volcano Garden Arts. Take some time from art shopping to eat a quick bite or sit down with a nice iced tea.
Volcano House - The Rim Restaurant - You'll pay a bit for the food here, but it is delicious, and the view of Halema'uma'u while you dine is amazing. You can also stop by for drinks and pupus at Uncle George's Lounge and admire the volcano at sunset.
Mountain View - Kea'au
Hilo Coffee Mill - On your way into Hilo, be sure to stop by here as often as possible. Great coffee, food and gifts to bring back home. All made locally. You can't beat it, except maybe on Saturdays when they host a morning farmer's market with fresh cooked breakfasts and live music!
Hana Hou Restaurant - On the drive from Volcano to Kona, you will pass through the quaint town of Na'alehu. Blink and you might just miss this wonderful restaurant. They have great baked goods, local fare, and specialty entrees. On some nights they offer live entertainment. Call the number on their website for upcoming events.
Punalu'u Bake Shop - Across the road from Hana Hou is the Punalu'u Bake Shop. Stop to get fresh Hawaiian sweet bread and other treats.
Ken's House of Pancakes - Open 24 hours. Huge menu with a great loco moco and all day breakfast. What more is there to stay. You have to try.
Cafe Pesto - One of our favorite places to eat. Excellent seafood and fantastic Italian-influenced entrees. This is a great place to dine after hitting the market or for a later dinner when visiting town. The Kawaihae location has the same menu if you're in a bind on a place to eat on the northwest side of the island.
Cafe 100 - Home of the loco moco. Inexpensive, very casual dining, but a local favorite. Looking to eat out but not spend a lot of money, this is the place.
Waimea - Kamuela
Big Island Brewhaus - We're from Texas, so we know our Mexican food, and we also happen to know a thing or two about beer. So, when we say that Big Island Brewhaus has excelled in both categories, we mean it.
Lilikoi Cafe - If you find yourself visiting Waimea, and you're not in the mood for beer and mexican food, then we highly recommend Lilikoi Cafe. Excellent sandwiches, salads, quiches, desserts, fresh squeezed juices. May not be the easiest to find, but it is worth finding.
Kealakekua - Captain Cook
The Coffee Shack - So, if the food wasn't good here, the view would probably be worth the stop. However, the Coffee Shack has great food, so it's definitely a must. Parking space is limited (you'll see why), so get there early!
Kailua - Kona
Kona Brewing Company - If you come here for a brewery tour (or even if you don't), be sure to make time to stop here, eat some pizza and drink a pint of liquid Aloha.
Huggo's On The Rocks - Want to dig your toes in the sand while you dine or sip on a Mai Tai and watch the sunset? This is the spot. Pretty decent food and live entertainment, but the prime location on Kailua Bay makes this place extra special.
Quinn's Almost By The Sea - Located next to Kona Seaside Hotel, and just around the corner from Ali'i Drive (and the ocean - as the name suggests). Quinn's is a great joint to grab drinks and food. The menu is varied and the food is great if you're in a hurry. They will do take out if you're staying nearby or if you need to eat some Ono fish and chips on the beach.
Island Lava Java - The name obviously suggests a good place to grab coffee (especially with the Ali'i Drive - Kailua Bay view), but the food offered here is very good.
Napua Restaurant - We found this amazing restaurant while staying a couple of nights at the Mauna Lani on a whim. It used to be a private restaurant for Mauna Lani owners, but it is now open to the public, though apparently this is not well known. The food is not cheap, but it is fantastic. The open air seating and beach front location makes for a great atmosphere.