9. Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour
Experience Hawaii's Big Island at your own pace with a self-guided driving tour. Stops include Hulihe's Palace, Magic Beach, and the Lekeleke Burial Grounds.
Your tour of the Big Island begins outside the quaint town of Kailua-Kona. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one.
As you drive, you’ll see the historic Hulihe’e Palace, once the vacation home of the island’s royalty. Continue south to Magic Beach, where the sand sometimes simply disappears.
After that is Kahalu'u Beach, a perfect place for snorkelers, followed by the sacred Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Next, pass the remnants of Hikiau Heiau, an important religious site in ancient Hawaii. Past that is the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park for those looking to learn more about the island’s history.
See the Honaunau Rodeo Arena and learn all about Hawaii’s cowboys. Next up is Pebble Beach, where you’ll get to know the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. You’ll also have the option to check out the Kula Kai Caverns, left by ancient volcanic activity.
Continuing on, reach the startling Punalu'u Beach, which features totally black sand. The route then passes an old sugar plantation, followed by the huge volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Pass by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanoes up close.
After that, drive through the picturesque town of Hilo. Then, cruise through the almost impossibly scenic Liliuokalani Park and Gardens.
Find surfers catching waves next at Honoli'i Beach. After that is Onomea Bay, featuring a spectacular hiking trail with views that can’t be beaten. Then, admire the astonishing flora at the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Continuing on, you’ll arrive at the surprising sight of the Honohina Hongwanji Mission, a historic Buddhist temple.
Next pass the Laupahoehoe Train Museum before reaching Laupahoehoe Point, a spectacular ocean vista. Don’t forget to snap some photos. Anyone hankering for a snack will definitely want to stop at the Hamakua Harvest Farmers Market before continuing on to the cowboy town of Waimea.
Up next are a pair of great beaches: Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island and Beach 69 is beloved by locals, so take your pick.
Then you’ll arrive at the Kings Highway Foot Trail, where you’ll have the chance to see the ancient Waikoloa Petroglyphs. After that are another few scenic overlooks, followed by the beautiful Kekaha Kai State Park. Your tour concludes here, just north of where it began.