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The Big Island packs a big punch in terms of things to see, and the dry, sunny climate of Kona makes it a popular base for exploring the island. From volcanic peaks and lush valleys to island circumnavigations, here are the best day trips from Kailua-Kona.

Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii’s youngest island still has three active volcanoes, and one of the best places to learn about volcanic activity—and witness it firsthand—is at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On a guided tour to this popular Big Island attraction, visitors might find themselves strolling with sea turtles on a black sand beach, standing inside a lava tube, or watching the glow of lava inside Halemaumau Crater from the Jaggar Museum observation area.

Waipio Valley
The famously steep Waipio Valley boasts spectacular lookouts, cliffs a thousand feet high, plummeting waterfalls, and a rich history. To experience this magical place on the northern Hamakua Coast, ride an ATV through the Valley of Kings to see Hawaii’s tallest single-fall waterfall and the longest black sand beach in the state. Or opt to see the valley from above on a helicopter tour of the island.

Mauna Kea
If you want to throw snowballs in the morning and build a sandcastle at sunset, plan a day trip to the summit of Mauna Kea. Topping out at 13,796 feet (4,205 meters), the peak is Hawaii’s highest point and home to an observatory offering some of the best stargazing in the archipelago. Day trippers can choose between morning or evening tours, which include transportation in a (required) four-wheel drive vehicle. 

Circle Island Tours
For time-crunched travelers, it’s possible to see all of the Big Island’s highlights in one long day on a circle-island tour from Kona. Stops along the way might include Volcanoes National Park, Akaka and Rainbow Falls, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, and one of the coffee farms in the cool uplands of the Kona coffee belt.

Pearl Harbor on Oahu
Travelers based on the Big Island shouldn’t miss out on one of Hawaii’s top attractions, Pearl Harbor. On a day trip to Oahu from Kona, visit the site of the Japanese attack that thrust the country into World War II. Stand above the sunken remains of the USS Arizona and climb aboard the USS Missouri. See other notable Honolulu attractions, like Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, and Punchbowl National Cemetery before returning to the Kona coast.
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

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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
$208.38
From
$208.38

Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast
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Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast

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354
Spend a full day exploring the Big Island with visits to waterfalls, beaches, tropical valleys, stunning viewpoints, and so much more. Learn about Kona’s coffee culture with visit to Kona Joe’s coffee farm, where you go behind the scenes and taste award-winning locally gown coffee. See Hawaii’s natural beauty at Punalu’u Black Sands Beach and lookout for Hawaiian green sea turtles. Enjoy lunch, then explore stunning waterfalls and a panoramic view of Hilo from Waipio Valley.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$257.99
From
$257.99

Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
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Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour

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580
Pack in some of Hawaii’s most mesmerizing sights during this Big Island twilight volcano tour. Sample Kona-grown coffee from a local coffee farm, keep an eye out for sea turtles at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, and taste Hawaiian sweet bread at Punalu’u Bakery. Then, explore Volcanoes National Park before ending your experience by stargazing in a secluded location—perfect for taking in views of the night sky.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$235.60
From
$235.60

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!)

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327
The 13,803-foot (4,207.3-meter) peak of Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point, and a popular spot for star-gazing. With this tour, travel up to the volcano summit with your guide, stop for dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, then arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunset. As dark sets in, enjoy a guided stargazing experience and marvel at the stars and planets using a refractor telescope and razor pointer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$266.67
From
$266.67

Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm
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Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm

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188
On this tour from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experience some of the Big Island’s best sights in a small group capped at 14 people. In addition to stopping at Punalu’u Beach Park to walk down a black-sand beach, you have the chance to sip Kona coffee on the plantation right where it’s grown, as well as hike through a lava tube that was formed by Kilauea volcano. What’s more, receive an iPad to use on the tour. Use it for photos, videos, and info, as well as playing games or watching movies while traveling between the sites.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$209.00
From
$209.00

Volcano National Park Adventure From Kona
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Volcano National Park Adventure From Kona

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141
Many tours can take you to Volcanoes National Park, but only this one lets you spend your day with a geologist who can provide information that others can't. This small-group geologist-led tour offers a far richer experience of the world's most active volcano than you'd get anywhere else. You'll also visit a coffee farm, waterfall, and Punaluu Black Sand Beach.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$219.00
From
$219.00

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

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780
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
$267.02
From
$267.02

Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group
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Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group

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92
The Big Island is one of the most diverse places on earth. For visitors, it can be difficult to comprehend the vastness of the island's diversity but this tour offers the chance to immerse yourself in it. You'll explore the rainforests and waterfalls along Mauna Kea's Hamakua Coast and the summit of the active volcano Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, before watching Kilauea's lava lake glowing after sunset.
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  • 8 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$202.65
From
$202.65

Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
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Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights

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164
Sample a cross-section of outdoor sights on the Big Island during this shore excursion exploring Volcanoes National Park, waterfalls, orchids and more. Discover the postcard-perfect Rainbow Falls before visiting the amazing volcanic steam vents and unique geology around Kilauea Volcano. Before your day is done, check out a botanical garden filled with rare orchids, snack on macadamia nut treats at a local farm, and visit a gorgeous black sand beach. A guide, park entrance fees, snacks, and round-trip port transport are included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$153.34
From
$153.34

Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
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Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner

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287
See two of the largest volcanoes in the world and stop at one of the most active on this full-day, small-group excursion. First, drive between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, stopping for lunch at Mauna Kea State Park. Then watch for current activity at Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii. Head to Kilauea National Park to see the beautiful landscapes and enjoy dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$260.73
From
$260.73

Ultimate Circle Island Explorer From Kona Or Kohala Resorts
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Ultimate Circle Island Explorer From Kona Or Kohala Resorts

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Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Akaka Falls, and the Waipio Valley are just some of the natural wonders on this Big Island sightseeing tour. Don’t miss a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and sample local products like Kona coffee and macadamia nuts at stops along the way. This comprehensive itinerary is ideal for anyone who wants an overview of Hawaii in one day. All entrance fees are included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$290.38
From
$290.38

Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall

Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall

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919
An exciting journey of discovery through the beautiful Amelia Earhart Point on the ocean-facing slopes of Diamond Head Crater (drive-by), the famous Halona Blowhole, “From Here to Eternity” beach, Makapu’u Point (drive-by), visit Valley of the Temples, colorful Byodo-in Temple and scenic Mokoli'i Island. This full day tour includes a delicious lunch at the famous Fumi’s Shrimp Stand on the North Shore where you'll be served your choice of various sautéed shrimp plates. *Chicken and Vegetarian options are also available. After your delicious lunch, you will visit the world famous Waimea Valley, the Arboretum and see an incredible Waterfall, followed by the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Your expert nature guide will provide a fascinating narration about Hawaii's bird and plant species, geology, history and culture. Tour includes a 152-page Gift Book "Guide to Nature on Oahu" as a souvenir to take home!
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$145.55
From
$145.55

Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens
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Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens

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Experience some of the Big Island’s top attractions during this day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the sights around Hilo. Learn all about volcanoes as you marvel at Halema'uma'u crater and explore the massive Kilauea Volcano. Immerse your sense in the beauty of Hilo including a visit to Rainbow Falls and stops to indulge in local chocolates and orchids.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

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423
See three of the Big Island's most famous waterfalls in a single day on this guided tour. Travel along the Hamakua Coast to Akaka Falls, Hi’ilawe Falls, and Rainbow Falls, and swim at a private waterfall. Learn about the history and legends of the island from a guide. Lunch, snacks and hotel transport are included.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$235.60
From
$235.60

Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay
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Captain Cook /Kealakekua Bay

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758
There are few places in all of Hawaii more historic than Kealakekua Bay, as it's the spot where Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians, and the Hawaiian monarch, King Kamehameha III was born just a few miles away. The history aside, it's also one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii, and you'll have the chance to experience the beauty on this snorkeling tour from Kona. Search for dolphins on the way to the bay while admiring the volcanic coast, and after scouring the red for coral and fish, climb aboard for a lunch that's served by the friendly crew.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$105.00
From
$105.00

Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo
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Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo

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67
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is famous for its ever-flowing lava and the planet’s most massive active volcano. This tour journeys to top natural landmarks in and around the park. Visit Rainbow Falls, Richardson black sand beach, Historic Banyan Drive, Liliuokalani Gardens, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, Akatsuka Orchid Nursery, and the active volcano of Kilauea. You also get the opportunity to walk through a lava tube.
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  • 6 hours
From
$195.99
From
$195.99

Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii

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1896
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo Highlights Small Group Tour

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74
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, a tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and climb to the rim of Kilauea volcano. On this small group tour, your guide will customize the pace and number of sights.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO

star-4.5
51
Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana lava caves, then explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$218.84
From
$218.84

Kona Shore Excursion: Hawaiian Sea Turtles , Historic Kona & Coffee
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Kona Shore Excursion: Hawaiian Sea Turtles , Historic Kona & Coffee

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24
Spend a full day exploring Kona. See greens turtles, learn how Kona coffee is made, and visit archeological sights. Make the most of animated amount of time with a varied tour encapsulating Hawaii’s history, natural beauty, wildlife and culinary culture. Stop at white sand beaches, walk through lava tube, sample locally frozen coffee and hand made sweets, then choose from a variety activities depending your tastes. Opt to snorkel, go souvenir shipping, or relaxant local brewery, before returning the port.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$139.00
From
$139.00

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KONA

star-4
62
Hawaii’s natural wonders aren’t only on land and in the sea—the Big Island is also a prime spot from which to admire the wonders of the solar system. This tour is the only one that includes both afternoon solar viewing and nighttime stargazing, accompanied by astronomy experts. Visit different destinations and use a state-of-the-art solar telescope and Dobsonian telescope to spot solar flares, galaxies, star clusters, and planets.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$239.79
From
$239.79

Volcano Adventure - Search the Most Recent Active Volcano from Kona
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Volcano Adventure - Search the Most Recent Active Volcano from Kona

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25
Discover Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and other attractions on the Big Island on a full-day tour from Waikoloa, Hapuna, Kailua-Kona, or Keauhou. Your guide shares highlights including Rainbow Falls, Saddle Road, and Punaluu Black Sand Beach. You'll get great views of the two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, and experience the natural beauty of Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. It'll be a stress-free trip as it includes a guide, transportation, and hotel pickup and drop-off from select hotels.
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  • 10 hours
From
$289.99
From
$289.99

Hawai'i's Volcanoes National Park from Hilo Only

Hawai'i's Volcanoes National Park from Hilo Only

star-5
15
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a blockbuster sight on the Big Island, but reaching the park from the Hilo port on your own can be time consuming. With this driving tour, save hours with port pickup and head straight to the park’s highlights, including the steam vents and Kilauea Caldera overlook. This leaves enough time to visit the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, Hilo Coffee Mill, and Mauna Loa macadamia farm.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$289.99
From
$289.99

Day Trip From Kona to Oahu: Pearl Harbor & Honolulu City
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Day Trip From Kona to Oahu: Pearl Harbor & Honolulu City

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81
On this day trip from the Big Island to Oahu and Pearl Harbor, experience the site of the Japanese attack that shook an entire nation, and stand in the spot on the USS 'Missouri' where the Japanese eventually surrendered. You’ll later experience historic sites in downtown Honolulu, from the gorgeous Westminster Abbey of the Pacific to America’s only royal palace. This moving Pearl Harbor tour from Kona concludes with a visit to Punchbowl Cemetery before heading back to the Big Island that night.
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  • 14 hours
From
$635.60
From
$635.60

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