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3 Day Itinerary For The Big Island, Hawaii

3 Day Itinerary For The Big Island, Hawaii

There’s so much to do on the Big Island, so you need to plan your time well! Check out this 3 Day Itinerary for the Big Island, Hawaii!

Are you flying in from Oahu, Hawaii to the Big Island? You may be wondering what you can do there in 3 days. From my experience in Hawaii, there is a LOT to see and do. Of course, you won’t be able to do everything. However, you’ll be able to do a lot if you follow these tips on what to do on the Big Island in 3 days. 

Related: How To Plan Your First Trip To Hawaii

Day 1 on the Big Island 

When you get to the Big Island, you’re most likely not wanting to go hike or anything like that. You will most likely be exhausted. I like to do a little window shopping and exploring when I get to Hawaii. Here are a few suggestions for what to do on Day 1 of your trip to the Big Island. 

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company 

If you love nuts and want to explore the macadamia nuts that Hawaii has to offer, then you need to check out the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company. This nut company was founded in 1977 by a man who moved from Michigan to Hawaii. Hamakua uses only 100% grown Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts. 

Mauna Loa and the Big Island’s Rugged Southeastern Coastline

Another fantastic place to shop for macadamia nuts is the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center near Hilo. From here you can explore a relatively rugged/lost coast of the Big Island between Hilo and the Eastern edge of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Note: Much of this area was heavily impacted by the 2018 eruption. So, follow signs and realize even Google Maps might be slightly outdated, the further off the beaten path you get!

Walking Around the Shops

As I mentioned, taking it easy right when you get to Hawaii is a good idea. Some people travel super far to get to The Big Island. One thing I enjoy doing is walking around the shops. Trust me, there is a never-ending supply of shops in Hawaii. 

Day 2 on the Big Island

Heading to Hawaii and spending time on The Big Island is a true gift. After you’ve had the time to rest, you will want to head out and see some of the bigger things on The Big Island. Make sure you take the time to explore because Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 

This is one of the national parks that people spend the most time doing. The Big Island is a place that is wonderful to explore. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is well-known for its Kīlauea and Mauna Loa active volcanoes. You’ll want to make sure you check out the viewpoint overlooking Halema’uma’u Crater.

All of the Waterfalls on the Big Island

If I were giving you advice on what to visit on the Big Island on day 2 of your stay, it would be to see as many waterfalls as you can. The waterfalls on the Big Island aren’t your ordinary waterfalls. These are breathtaking. 

Spending the day hiking and sightseeing will probably take you the whole day. You won’t be able to see ALL of the waterfalls, but you can sure take a good stab at it. 

A great option to see both the volcanoes and the waterfalls is to book a helicopter tour from Hilo. These tours are a great value, especially since you can see lava in a way you normally wouldn’t be able to because it’s too dangerous.

Day 3 on the Big Island 

By Day 3 on the Big Island, you’re probably exhausted. However, there are a lot of things to see and do still. These are the activities we did, while we were on the Big Island for 3 days. Of course, you can change things up as you see fit. 

Punaluʻu Beach aka Black Sand Beach 

This beach is beautiful because of the black sand made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean. I could just sit on this beach all day and look at the ocean and feel the black sand between my toes. Punalu’u is a beach you’ll want to check out. 

Also, there are typically giant sea turtles on this beach! Don’t get too close (or face a rather hefty fine), but you can definitely snap some photos!

Southernmost Point of the U.S.

Punalu’u also happens to be the Southernmost point in the United States! The actual southernmost point is called Ka Lae or South Point. It is believed this is the first place Polynesians landed when they discovered Hawaii in 750 A.D. (cue Moana music!).

This area has loads of historic ruins. But really… you want to visit so you can snap a photo and say you were the southernmost person in the U.S… even if it’s just for 20 seconds. 

Botanical Gardens

There is no shortage of Botanical Gardens on the Big Island. Again, you won’t be able to see them all, but at least you can see as many as you can. Here are some of my favorite botanical gardens to check out on the Big Island. 

The Tallest Mountain in Hawaii

Last but not least, if you can catch a glimpse of the tallest mountain in Hawaii, you will be so happy that you did. The name of this mountain is called Mauna Kea. This mountain is incredible in so many ways! It’s actually a dormant volcano on the Big Island. It measures over 33,000 feet in height.

You can actually drive up to the observatory at the summit. And about ½ way up the mountain is a great visitor center too. When we visited, there were telescope demonstrations and we could actually see Saturn’s rings!

All in all, you could easily spend a few weeks exploring the Big Island. However, if you only have 3 days, these suggestions will definitely keep you busy!

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