What are my shore excursion options on the Big Island of Hawaii?
HAWAII (The Big Island) has two cruise ship ports–Kona and Hilo
The natural beauty and volcanic features of the big island are a draw for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. When your cruise ship stops in Kona, consider these popular places to visit or activities to do:
1. Kealakelua Park & Captain Cook Monument. Enjoy a scenic a ride to see this major landmark on the Kona Coast.
2. Place of Refuge. Learn the history of Kona Ahu’ena Temple, the Place of Refuge, and the Painted Church.
3. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park. Discover early Hawaiian history at this national historic park.
4. Holoholo Hualalai Craters. Take a 6-wheel drive up a rocky ramble to a hidden world of native beauty.
6. A-Bay Beach. Take a transfer out to this expansive stretch of white sand. Perfect spot for swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving.
7. Coffee Sampling or Culinary Tour. Try Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee. Or book a culinary tour of a distinctive Hawaiian private home to experience their lifestyle and enjoy a meal they’ve prepared just for you.
8. Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. Visit the only U.S. seahorse farm.
9. Whale Watching. Many kinds of whales can be seen off the west coast.
10. Sport Fishing. Charter a fishing boat to try your hand at catching marlin, ono, mahi, ahi and spearfish.
11. Rent a Catamaran and sail out to the reefs and snorkel and swim with the dolphins.
13. Glass-bottom Boat Ride. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Kona reefs—without getting wet.
14. Golf. Play the links at Makalei Golf Club – voted one of the “Best Places to Golf” by Golf Digest.
If your cruise ship docks at Hilo’s port, visit some of these popular places or try some of these activities:
2. Tropical Botanical Gardens. Take a scenic drive along the coast to visit the gardens.
3. Waterfalls. Visit the beautiful Akaka Falls, Kahuna Falls, or Rainbow Falls.
4. Waipi’o Valley. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to see the amazing view from the lookout.
5. Mauna Kea. If you hike to the summit, you’ll be at the highest peak in the Pacific.
6. Lava Tree State Park. Explore the “Land of the Frozen Fire” and learn about Hilo’s volcanic heritage.
7. Kilauea Volcano. Explore Pele’s “Goddess of Fire” on a walking tour, following a lava path down to the black sand beach.
8. Lyman Museum & Mission House . Built by missionaries in 1839, the mission house is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and may be visited by guided tour.
9. Culinary Hawaii Home Progressive Brunch Tour. Visit traditional Hawaiian homes and enjoy brunch with the owners.
10. Farm Tour. Try Hawaiian-grown coffee, wine or handmade chocolates, or stop in at a lavender farm.
11. Imiloa Astromony Center. Visit the 3D planetarium.
12. Hamakua Coast. Visit the Hawaiian Vanilla Company.
13. Zipline. View the rainforest and discover waterfalls as you zip by on this high-adrenaline activity.
14. Kayak in Hilo Bay or along the Wailuku River, through the Kaumana Caves.
16. Dolphin Swim. Dolpin encounters are available in open-ocean or controlled environments. Who doesn’t want to swim with these adorable creatures?
17. Golf. Volcano Golf & Country Club, situated on the rim of the active Kilauea volcanic crater makes for an adventurous golf game.
Whatever you decide for your shore excursions, our agents at CruiseExperts.com can help you make all the arrangements.
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Linda Brandt joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in November 2011. She has been working with the marketing team in many capacities. Her new role is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. She studied journalism and writing in college and was a writer for The Campus newspaper for two years at the College of the Sequoias. She is also currently working on her Bachelor’s degree.