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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.

Private Big Island Full Circle Adventure Tour

2. Private Big Island Full Circle Adventure Tour

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. 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. Arrive at an authentic Kona coffee farm where you tour the farm and sample flavorful Kona coffee. 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 before heading on to explore the most beautiful black sand beach on the island. Continue your tour to one of the prettiest black sand beaches in all of the Hawaiian Islands, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. The jet-black volcanic glass sand here was formed from the rapid cooling of basaltic lava hitting the ocean water and then shattering into tiny fragments. Relax with black sand between your toes while listening to the wind move through the palms. Keep a look out for green sea turtles and endangered hawksbill sea turtles that frequent the beach. Next, make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve which is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 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. It’s home to critically endangered wildlife and some of the most unique geological, biological, and cultural landscapes on earth. 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 for unique views of the current eruption and the natural steam vents in the area. 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 and truly breathtaking. Travel the 50-mile stretch of the breathtaking 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 incredible views as your guide explains the rich history of the area. Marvel at the bright sunset views of Waimea as you 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. Return to your lodging full, happy, and filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

Kawaihae: Snorkeling Cruise with Drinks and Picnic Lunch

3. Kawaihae: Snorkeling Cruise with Drinks and Picnic Lunch

Explore the rich marine life that lives beneath the waves on Hawaii's coast with this snorkeling cruise from Kawaihae. Swim through crystal clear waters and relax on board with free drinks, tasty snacks, and a picnic lunch.  Hop aboard a spacious ship and embark on your sailing trip. Soak up some sun on the deck on the way to a pristine snorkeling location. Use high-quality snorkeling gear that is regularly maintained to look for colorful fish and sea turtles. Enjoy easy boat boarding with the convenient portside boarding door and a ladder that makes getting in and out of the water a breeze. Unwind with the use of fun flotation devices. Feel safe as you swim with guides that are certified as lifeguards. Work up an appetite and sit down to a full lunch with chilled drinks like juice and soda. Return to your meeting point at the end of your tour.

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What people are saying about Waimea

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 6 reviews

It was a little rough getting the app to work at first. Once the bugs it worked well. Some of the narration was a timed a bit off, so we had to do some searching to find the site described. Overall, very good. Like being able to go at our out pace.

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 is an amazing tour and the cost is definitely worth it. Just a note: to do both halves of the tour, you will have to start early in the day if you want to do it all in one day.

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.