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Top 10 Big Island Sightseeing Tours & Activities


If you plan to visit the Big Island on your honeymoon or a romantic getaway, these are the top sightseeing tours for couples. You can start early in the morning, see the Big Island's active volcano up close, soar over its verdant valleys, and even have a night snorkeling experience under a million stars. Each of these Big Island sightseeing tours can be purchased online with confidence.

1. Big Island Volcano Adventure

Kilauea volcano image © exfordy/Creative Commons.
If there's one thing every honeymoon couple who visits Hawaii has to do in the way of sightseeing, it's seeing Kilauea Volcano inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The full-day tour takes you as close to Kilauea as Civil Defense and local authorities permit. Depending on conditions, you may have time to hike on the lava flow; hold hands tightly! You'll definitely get some time at the Jaggar Museum (devoted to the study of volcanoes, not rock stars). And if you can't get to the lava flows, you'll likely have time to experience Rainbow Falls' waterfalls, a macadamia nut factory, and an orchid nursery that also cultivates anthuriums.

2. Kohala Waterfalls Tour

Get wet on this fun sightseeing tour of the Kona coastline to the Kohala Waterfalls. With a small group of fellow travelers, you'll explore the scenic countryside on this off-road walking tour past giant rocks and seven waterfalls and then cool off in a mountain stream. A visit to a century-old plantation is on the itinerary.

3. Bike Tour of Kilauea Volcano plus Wine Tasting

If you two are looking for a more active sightseeing tour, do it on two wheels. A guide leads you over Kilauea Volcano's otherworldly terrain in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on mostly downhill and level paved roads and trails. (A support van follows, just in case.) Afterwards, toast your shared experience with a wine tasting at the Volcano Winery. Lunches and beverages are provided during the tour, which lasts four to five hours.

4. Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure

It's hard to honeymoon in Hawaii without wanting to spend a lot of time in the water, and this tour (which departs from Honokohau Marina north of Kailua-Kona after picking you up at your hotel) makes the most of it. First you'll travel to Kealakekua Bay, the state's top marine sanctuary, on an inflatable Zodiac craft. And then as soon as you gear up with the provided snorkel equipment, you'll have over an hour to swim with the fishies. A snack, beverage, and sandwich are included on this five-hour sightseeing-and-snorkeling tour.

5. Big Island Helicopter Tour

They don't call it the Big Island for nothing: Hawaii's newest and most massive island extends 4,028 square miles and the best way for a couple to see it is by air. On this two-hour sightseeing tour, which begins at Waikoloa Heliport, you'll soar over the volcanic "badlands" that slope down to the ocean, see the Kohala Mountains sliced by waterfalls, view rainforest, and get an eagle's eye view of the pristine Hamakua Coast.

6. Foodies' Big Island Tasting Tour

This small group tour introduces couples to two South Kohala farms. The first raises organic vegetables and lavender, and you'll get to meet the owners. The second is a sheep and cattle farm where the animals are humanely raised and you'll share their magnificent coastal views when you come. This five-hour sightseeing tour concludes with a four-course dinner at Merriman's Restaurant in Waimea, credited with raising the profile of Hawaii's cuisine.

7. Twilight Tour of Volcanoes National Park

On this twelve-hour tour that takes place between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the world's tallest mountains, you'll travel with a dozen people (or fewer) to observe the unstoppable flow of molten lava as it makes its way from the mountains to the ocean. Inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park you'll see the caldera at its summit, the hissing steam vents, and the vast cinder fields at the earth's young and voluble core. As the sun descends, you'll move to Kalapana to witness to the unstoppable flow of molten lava as it enters the water. A sit-down dinner in the historic town of Pahoa is included, offering the opportunity to know your fellow travelers better.

8. Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Tour

Ideal for starry-eyed lovers, this sightseeing tour is also limited to twelve. (I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of those big-bus tours). You'll ascend from Kona through the famed and vast Parker Ranch and continue to Mauna Kea, where you can get out of the 4x4 luxury van. It's chilly up that high, so you'll be provided with a parka and hot picnic lunch prior to your climb to the 13,796-foot summit. From there you'll take in views of sister mountain Mauna Loa, and you can see as far as Haleakala on Maui at sunset. Afterwards, you're invited into the Mauna Kea Visitor's Center, where a tour guide sets up a telescope for star-gazing and an astronomy lesson at 9,000 feet above sea level.

9. Night Snorkeling Adventure Tour

You won't find a lot of discos and clubs on The Big Island, but you can experience what The Travel Channel dubbed "one of the top 10 things to do in your life" at night here. With dive lights from your vessel illuminating the giant manta rays that feed at night (don't worry; they eat plankton and they're friendly), you'll get to snorkel among these amazing creatures.

10. Big Island to Oahu One-Day Tour

Whether your schedule or your budget keep you from combining a stay on The Big Island with a visit to Honolulu, you can still experience the attractions of Oahu. In the course of a day couples visit the site of Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, downtown Honolulu, and landmarks of natural beauty to boot. Roundtrip flights are provided from Kona to Oahu.
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