Things to do in Waimea

Our most recommended things to do in Waimea

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

1. 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.

Hawaii: Big Island Highlights Private Tour with Transfer

2. Hawaii: Big Island Highlights Private Tour with Transfer

Discover the beauty and grace of the Big Island of Hawaii on a private tour. Explore some of the island's most unique and idyllic locations, including the Kona coast, Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, Hilo's iconic waterfalls, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sit back and relax as all meals and drinks (excluding alcoholic ones) are included throughout your day. Make your way to your first stop: the South Kona Coffee Farm for a tour and coffee sampling. Travel south along the striking Kona coast and absorb the breathtaking views of lush vegetation and coastline. Listen to your guide describe the cultural history of the area as well as the local flora and fauna. Then, visit the southernmost bakery in the United States, Punalu‘u Bakery. World renown for their sweet bread, malasadas, and other delicious treats. Enjoy a malasada and a coffee or tea. Continue your tour to one of the prettiest black sand beaches in all of the Hawaiian Islands, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. Relax with black sand between your toes while listening to the wind move through the palms. Keep a look out for green and hawksbill sea turtles that frequent the beach. Next, make your way to the the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. This iconic park encompasses the summit of two of the world’s most active volcanoes and extends from sea level up to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Explore the main attractions in the park including the Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Road, and a nature walk along the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beauty of the park before embarking on the next leg of your adventure. From the park, venture up to Hilo to visit the picturesque Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls State Park. Both waterfalls are a sight to behold. Beautiful falls combined with lush vegetation make these stops photo-worthy. Then, drive along the 50-mile stretch of the Hamakua Coast with its hidden waterfalls, tropical rainforest, and lush green valleys. Described as one of the most beautiful locations in the state, it’s well worth the scenic drive. Arrive at Waipio Valley in the late afternoon. Enjoy the sprawling views as your guide explains the rich history of the area. Continue your ride to marvel at the bright sunset views of Waimea. To get there, travel through Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country and take in this historic area with its rolling, green pastures, the home to cattle, cowboys, and one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States; Parker Ranch. Enjoy a local and authentic dinner in Waimea where surf and turf is a definite menu staple, before returning to your hotel.

Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

3. Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

See the best of Big Island, Hawai’i, on this guided tour. Visit active volcanoes at the National Park, watch sea turtles on Punalu’u beach, and stop at a coffee farm and winery for breakfast and lunch. Admire the 80 ft tall Rainbow Falls, and the beauty of the coastline at Hamakua, Kona, and Ka'u. Start your adventure with a pickup by van. Head into the Kona district, the heart of coffee country, to visit a mountain coffee farm. Sample a wide selection of Kona coffees and enjoy a continental breakfast while you look over the coast. Next stop is Punalu’u. Drop into the local bake shop to pick up some treats and continue to the black sand beach. The area is home to many turtles, including the endangered Hawksbill, and is where many of the first Polynesian explorers landed. Head inland to a winery and tea farm situated between two volcanoes. Sample unique wines grown at 4,000 feet of elevation and stop for a scenic lunch. Then, continue to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to admire the active volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Your final visit will be to Rainbow Falls, an 80 foot waterfall that plunges over the entrance to a natural lava cave. The Hawaiian goddess Hina, mother of Maui, is said to dwell in the cave, and on a sunny day, rainbows appear in the mist around it. Cruise back along the beautiful, lush coast of Hamakua and get dropped back at your starting point to end the day.

Big Island: National Park, Coffee, Cloud Forest, and Brewery

4. Big Island: National Park, Coffee, Cloud Forest, and Brewery

Discover some of the highlights and diversity of Hawaii's big island on this half-day tour. Explore the beautiful Kaloko-Honokohau National Park, head on a unique cloud forest walk, find out about how coffee is produced at a plantation, and enjoy a refreshing drink at a local brewery. First, head to the picturesque Kaloko-Honokohau National Park and learn about early Hawaiian settlements on the rugged Kona coast. See petroglyphs, a sacred temple, and fishponds that highlight the engineering skills of native Hawaiians. If you're lucky, you may also spot a sea turtle or monk seal. Next up is a guided stroll through the only cloud forest in the United States. Find out more about one of the Big Island’s many microclimates as you admire the distinctive plants, flowers, and trees that thrive at 3,000 feet on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Nestled on the slopes of Hualalai, Hawaii Island’s third most active volcano, Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation offers tours, tastings, and a gift shop where you can purchase their coffee. Take a guided tour of the plantation and sample some of the different coffees that are produced here. To finish, sip on a local beer, cider, seltzer, or sampling flight from a community and employee-owned brewery. Ola Brew Co. sources most of its ingredients from local Hawaiian farmers, helping to sustain the local agricultural economy.

Other Sightseeing Options in Waimea

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What people are saying about Waimea

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 16 reviews

Be sure to follow the directions for downloading the audio to go with your trip. Otherwise, customer service was very helpful in helping us find our errors. Excellent narrative as you go along the given route.

This was well worth it. As a solo traveler, I enjoy going at my own pace. I learned alot from the recordings. The gps is also on point.

The narration about the history of The island was great. We learned so much. The price was also a good deal.

We really enjoyed being able to go at our pace. Very informative and educational

Nice and informative tour to explore the island. Everything went well.