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Things To Do For Free On Hawaii's Big Island

Free (or Almost Free) Ways To Enjoy the Big Island of Hawaii


You won't find more affordable activities on the Big Island of Hawaii than things that are free to do. Check out these great free things to do on Hawaii's Big Island.

1. 'Akaka Falls State Park

Photo Courtesy of Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources

'Akaka Falls State Park, located 13 miles north of Hilo above Honomu, has an easy and pleasant footpath loop that provides views of two beautiful waterfalls. It's one of the Big Island's most-visited spots.

2. Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Photo Courtesy of Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, located in Kawaihae, offers free tours and samples at its new factory store. The company grows, markets and processes 100-percent Big Island macadamia nuts and other delicacies.Ka Lae

3. Ka Lae

Photo Courtesy of the Big Island Visitors Bureau

Ka Lae, the remote and windswept southernmost part of the island, is where Polynesians first arrived in Hawaii and settled. Now a National Historical Landmark district, it is a beautiful place to look out to sea and contemplate what caused Polynesians to outfit their voyaging canoes and set out purposefully seeking new lands, as well as their arrival in Hawaii.

4. Kalapana Lava Viewing Area

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

Located at the end of Highway 130 in the Puna District, the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area affords a dazzling vantage point to see molten lava. Conditions change daily, but visitors to the safe viewing area have been awed by the fury of roaring steam and exploding lava gushing from the black lava plain into the roiling ocean, adding more and more land to "the Big Island."

Open daily from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., but no cars are allowed into the parking area after 8 p.m. Call the Kalapana Lava Viewing Hotline (808) 961-8093 for current conditions or visit U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for Kilauea Volcano eruption updates.

5. Kalopa State Recreation Area

Photo Courtesy of Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources

Kalopa State Recreation Area is off Highway 19 at the end of Kalopa Road, southeast of Honoka'a. This beautiful and cool park, situated at 2000 feet, has picnic areas, an easy nature hike in a native 'ohi'a forest, and additional trails in the adjoining forest reserve.

6. Kohala Historical Sites State Monument

Photo Courtesy of the Big Island Visitors Bureau

Kohala Historical Sites State Monument, off Hwy. 270 near 'Upolu Airport, consists of two historic sites. Mo'okini Heiau, a National Historic Monument, is the most famous ancient sacrificial heiau (temple) in the state. The adjacent site is Kamehameha's Birth Place, a memorial to the 18th-century chief who united the islands under one rule.

7. Kona Historical Society's Traditional Portuguese Bread-baking

Photo Credit - Kona Historical Society

Kona Historical Society's traditional Portuguese bread-baking, every Thursday 11 a.m. – 2 pm. See how Portuguese families in Hawaii traditionally baked their weekly supply of bread in large, wood-fired "fornos" (stone ovens) — and sample some, too.! Call (808) 323-3222 or email khs@konahistorical.org for more information.

8. Lapakahi State Historical Park

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

Lapakahi State Historical Park is off of Hwy. 270, 12.4 miles north of Kawaihae. It is the partially restored remains of an ancient coastal settlement, and there are daily cultural demonstrations and also story telling.

9. Lava Tree State Monument

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

Lava Tree State Monument, off Pahoa-Pohoiki Road, is 2.7 miles southeast of Pahoa. The site is a forest of "lava trees," formed by a lava flow that swept through the area and left behind lava molds of tree trunks.

10. Mauna Kea

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

Mauna Kea, above the clouds, at 9,000 feet, the Visitors Information Station offers displays about the mountain's world-class astronomical observatories; and every evening of the year, even on holidays, its volunteer astronomy buffs roll out telescopes for an outstanding—and free—stargazing program.

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