A shortlist of my all-time favorite things to do on Hawaii, the Big Island.

These must-do experiences are waiting for you on Hawaii Island, the surprise package of the Hawaiian Islands.

01. Night swim with giant manta rays
02. Stargaze on the summit of Maunakea
03. Hike Hawaii’s active volcano fields
04. View centuries old petroglyphs
05. Take timeout in Hilo town
06. Taste Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee
07. Immerse yourself in mother nature
08. Try Hawaii Regional Cuisine
09. Helicopter over diverse landscapes
10. Soak up the sunny Kohala Coast

01. Night swim with giant manta rays

Manta Rays, Jack's Diving Locker, Hawaii the Big Island

Manta Rays, Jack’s Diving Locker, Hawaii Island
📷 @laurenbata

Jump into the ocean at night for a surreal snorkel or dive with these gentle creatures, tour participants are given a torchlight to illuminate plankton and attract the mantas.
> Jack’s Diving Locker
> Fair Wind Cruises

02. Stargaze on the summit of Maunakea

Mauna Kea, Hawaii the Big Island

Mauna Kea, Hawaii Island
📷 @hannah_fiveyears

Don’t miss the opportunity to stargaze atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain at 14,000 ft (4200 m), arguably the best astronomical site on Earth due to low humidity, clear skies and a lack of light pollution.
> Maunakea Summit & Stars Adventure
> Mauna Kea Summit Adventures

03. Hike Hawaii’s active volcano fields

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii the Big Island

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Island
📷 @gabgelinas28

Journey through lava fields, walk through underground lava tubes and witness the beauty of the flaming caldera of Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
> Plan Your Visit
Kilauea Visitor Center

04. View centuries old petroglyphs

Petroglyphs, Puako Beach, Hawaii the Big Island

Petroglyphs, Puako Beach, Hawaii Island
📷 @elle_beezy

Discover the well-preserved fields of petroglyphs created by Native Hawaiians. These etched shapes and designs in the hard pahoehoe lava are found all throughout the big island of Hawaii.
Petroglyphs of Hawaii Island

05. Take timeout in Hilo town

Downtown Hilo, Hawaii the Big Island

Downtown Hilo, Hawaii Island
📷 @hilofineartcenter

Hilo is the largest settlement on Hawaii Island, yet it remains a small quaint town full of aloha. Wander the historic storefronts and array of interesting local shops.
> Downtown Hilo
> Cafe Pesto

06. Taste Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee

Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation, Hawaii the Big Island

Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation, Hawaii Island
📷 @crystalfoth

Where better to enjoy a hot cup of Kona coffee than fresh from where it’s cultivated, at a working coffee farm on the slopes of the Hualalai or Mauna Loa mountains.
> Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation
> Kona Coffee & Craters Tour
> Kona Coffee Festival

07. Immerse yourself in mother nature

Akaka Falls State Park, Hilo, Hawaii the Big Island

Akaka Falls State Park, Hilo, Hawaii Island
📷 @hawaiiadmirer

Lush tropical foliage, scenic vantage points and two cascading waterfalls await your discovery on a self-guided trek through the natural beauty of Akaka Falls State Park.
> Akaka Falls State Park

08. Try Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Hawaiʻi Regional Cuisine, Merriman's Waimea, Hawaiʻi the Big Island

Merriman’s Waimea, Hawaii Island
📷 @alohamemorabiliaco

Dine on Hawaii’s island ingredients including cattle raised on the upland pastures, fresh local seafood and fruits and vegetables grown in rich volcanic soil at a farm-to-table restaurant.
> Merriman’s Waimea

09. Helicopter over diverse landscapes

Aerial of Kona, Hawaii the Big Island

Aerial of Kona, Hawaii Island
📷 @hawaiiadmirer

With 11 climate zones concentrated on Hawaii, the Big Island, it’s one of the most ecological diverse places in the world and a wonderful destination to examine from the air.
> Sunshine Helicopters

10. Soak up the sunny Kohala Coast

Kaunaoa Bay, Hawaii the Big Island

Kaunaoa Bay, Hawaii Island
📷 @hawaiiadmirer

For those seeking a traditional sun, sand and surf experience, the southern end of the Kohala Coast is dotted with the islands finest white sand beaches.
> Kaunaoa Bay at Mauna Kea Beach Resort
> Hapuna Beach State Park at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
> Holoholokai Beach Park
> Anaehoomalu Beach at Waikoloa Beach Marriott

*What is your top thing to do on Hawaii Island? Come join the Hawaii Admirer Facebook page and share your experience.