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How to Spend 2 Days on the Big Island

How to Spend 2 Days on the Big Island

With two days on the Big Island, there’s time to explore the geological diversity of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the beaches, waterfalls, and towns that make the Big Island so special. Here are some options for the ultimate 48 hours on the Big Island.

Day 1: A Day at the Beach

Morning: Kick off your stay on the Big Island with an early morning helicopter flight over its volcanoes, waterfalls, and lush valleys. Traveling by air allows you to see the highlights without spending valuable time driving. If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, opt for a walking or Segway tour of Hilo or Kailua-Kona.

Afternoon: No trip to Hawaii is complete without some time at the beach. This afternoon is your chance to soak up some vitamin D. Find the nearest strip of sand for some relaxation, or opt for a more active afternoon of snorkeling, sailing, dolphin watching, or riding a banana boat just offshore.

Night: Wrap up your first night on the Big Island with a quintessential Hawaiian experience, a luau. These traditional feasts take place on the beach beneath the stars and include hula dancing, story telling, and a buffet of traditional Polynesian cuisine, such as roast pig, sweet potatoes, and poi (a sticky taro dish).

Day 2: Hawaii Volcanoes

Morning: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a draw, no matter which side of the island is your home base. Get an early start for the drive to this remote section of the island. Sign up for a guided tour to make the most of your time, with opportunities to walk through a lava tube, warm your hands over volcanic steam vents, and observe the active Kilauea volcano.

Afternoon: You could easily spend the entire day in the national park, but if you prefer you can explore other attractions in the region. Look for Hawaiian green sea turtles basking in the sun at Punaluu black sand beach, tour the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory, or stop to smell the flowers at Akatsuka Orchid Nursery.

Night: Head to the summit of Mauna Kea, the island’s highest point, at dusk to watch the sunset and enjoy guided stargazing. Most tours to the summit include a pre-trip picnic dinner, transportation in a 4WD vehicle, telescopes for use, hot chocolate, and dessert.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

star-5
1803
The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.19
From
$204.19

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

star-4.5
682
Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Join no more than 28 guests for a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$246.07
From
$246.07

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

star-4.5
159
A must-do for adrenaline junkies, this aerial adventure takes you over the island’s volcanic landscape, so you can peer into craters and spot lava. Plus enjoy views of waterfalls and other natural features of the Big Island while aboard.
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  • 55 minutes to 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$352.03
From
$352.03

Kayak Snorkel Capt. Cook Monu. See Dolphin in Kealakekua Bay Big Island (3.5hr)

Kayak Snorkel Capt. Cook Monu. See Dolphin in Kealakekua Bay Big Island (3.5hr)

star-4.5
310
In terms of history, scenery, and marine life, there isn’t anywhere on the Big Island of Hawaii that compares to Kealakekua Bay. This protected cove on the island’s west shore is where Captain Cook met his end, and today a memorial stands at the bay to honor the famous explorer. On this guided Big Island kayaking tour, hear the history of Captain Cook as well as surrounding temples, and, after paddling past rugged sea cliffs and caves, snorkel and swim in the clear waters of this Marine Life Conservation District.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$110.42
From
$110.42