Free Things To Do On Big Island

5 stars from 2 reviews
Completely free things to do on Hawaii's Big Island. There's something for everyone in this list.

Features
• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational
• General: Good For Rainy Days • General: Guide
• General: Kid Friendly

Matt Anderson's Take
Guide Series: Free Things Hawaii
Jump To...
« Previous
Free Things To Do On Kauai
 
Planning a trip to Hawaii's Big Island and budgeting got you down? It's never cheap but certainly there must be some free stuff to do so you're not constantly tossing money away, right? Fear not, there really is quite a lot to do on the Big Island without spending any money. So here's our list of completely free things to do on the Big Island.

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co.


Visit the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. for free samples of their macadamia nuts and watch, through windows, how the nuts are processed right there on site. Fun for the whole family and tasty to boot. Find it at: Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co.

Lava Tree State Park


What happens when a lava flow blankets a forest? The trees burn away and what's left is nature's own sculptures, or maybe we should say Pele's (the volcano goddess) own sculptures. It's a very short and easy hike, about 0.7 miles, along the loop trail so bring a camera and take some photos of something you can't see in too many places. Find it at: Lava Tree State Park

Mauna Kea Star Gazing Program


Check out the completely free Star Gazing Program near the top of Mauna Kea. The stargazing program happens every night of the year and no reservations are needed. It's fun for the whole family. More at: Mauna Kea Star Gazing Program

Ka Lae (South Point)


Ka Lae, or simply South Point, is the southernmost tip of the Big Island as well as the southernmost point of the entire United States. It's a great place to experience nature as well as a fun place for a family photo. You can drive most of the way here so there isn't much walking required. Find it at: Ka Lae (South Point)

Ahalanui Beach Park / Maunakea Pond / The Hot Ponds


This isn't just any old beach, in fact there is no sand here at all. This is nature's own hot tub. It's commonly referred to as the Hot Ponds because the water here is volcanically heated! While the heating system was designed by Mother Nature, the pool here is actually partially manmade. There is a manmade wall that runs along one side to turn a pond into a pool, complete with railings and steps. Find it at: Ahalanui Beach Park / Maunakea Pond / The Hot Ponds

Kohala Historical Sites State Monument


History buffs will love this one for sure. Kohala Historical Sites State Monument includes both Mo'okini Heiau State Monument and King Kamehameha I Birthsite. The Mo'okini Heiau State Monument is one of the oldest historical sites in Hawaii and was used for human sacrifice in ancient Hawaii. King Kamehameha I Birthsite is the spot where King Kamehameha was actually born. For most cars, the road is a bit rough so you'll end up hiking in a mile or two but it's a relatively easy hike / walk for most. Find it at: Kohala Historical Sites State Monument

Kaumana Caves


Ready to do a little spelunking? Then you'll love this authentic cave experience. Well, it's actually an old lava tube but it's the real deal. With that in mind, you'll want proper shoes (no flip flops), bring water as well as a flashlight. Find it at: Kaumana Caves

Malama Petroglyph Trail / Puako Petroglyph Preserve


This is a massive collection of petroglyphs, which are rock carvings. The exact meaning of these is actually not known, but the general belief is that it was a way the ancient Hawaiians kept records of important events and births. It's a fun place to explore with the whole family. Find it at: Malama Petroglyph Trail / Puako Petroglyph Preserve

Papakolea Green Sand Beach


Admittedly, this isn't for everyone since it requires a bit of a hike to get here. But this place is one of only four green sand beaches in the entire world! It's truly unique and special and worth the hike for those who have the time. Find it at: Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

Believe it or not, it's completely free to enter the Panaewa Zoo & Gardens! Now, and to be fair, they do accepts (and highly appreciate) donations so consider giving them a few dollars if you enjoy the place. They're home to more than 80 animal species, feature an extensive collection of orchids, bamboos, and other plant life, and even off a petting zoo! Find it at: Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

Hilo Nursery Arboretum

Is Mother Nature on your BFF list? Do you hug trees even when people are looking? Then the Hilo Nursery Arboretum is right up your alley. Over 50 species of trees grow on 19 acres of green and lush wonderland. See where Hawaii's famous macadamia nuts come from, or better yet, see where chocolate comes from (hint, it's the Cacao tree which you'll find here too). Find it at: Hilo Nursery Arboretum

Pololu Valley Lookout


I know, I know, it's Hawaii so everything is pretty much a scenic lookout point. But Pololu Valley Lookout is extra special and one of the most popular vistas on the entire island. The views from here are absolutely stunning so be sure to bring that camera! Find it at: Pololu Valley Lookout

Harold H Higashihara Park

A park? He puts a boring old park on the free things to do in Hawaii list? Must be filler! Hold on now, this isn't any old park. It has basketball and tennis courts like many parks, but that's where the similarities end. The playground area here is second to none and something every kid will love. There are all sorts of things to play on, jump on, and climb on and it's all done in a Hawaiian theme. The masterpiece here is really the huge castle like structure / play house that comes complete with a couple of large slides. If you have kids, it's worth a stop. Find it at: Harold H Higashihara Park

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park


Part of the charm of Hawaii's Big Island are black sand beaches which are just neat to see and experience in person. So if you want to see a black sand beach it doesn't get any easier than Punaluu since you can basically drive right up. It's not a place to swim due to strong currents, but come and experience a black sand beach firsthand. Find it at: Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park

Mokupapapa Discovery Center


The Mokupapapa Discovery Center has a goal to bring the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to you since visiting those islands is impossible for most people. Experience the wildlife of the 583,000 square mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument that surrounds the islands and atolls in this area. More at: Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Free Shows & Classes


The The Shops at Mauna Lani offer free Polynesian shows twice a week as well as other classes and entertainment. Queens' MarketPlace offers daily koi (fish) feedings and other classes and entertainment. Kings' Shops also offers koi feedings, live music, and other entertainment.
Share This On
Matt Anderson
Added by on

Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 45
We have managed to get a few things in to see on the Big Island on our two visits but plan on getting more in on next visits. We found Hamakua Nut Co a learning experience and the free samples tested better than the ones we bought lol. Lava Tree State Park was a little hike but where else can you tell people you were up close to lava. There is great picture taking to be had here. We loved the Punaluu Black Sand Beach. You do not go here to swim but to view the colored sand beach on the islands.
  Like
Dave
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 186
Likes Received: 32
After we have visited the Big Island several times, we started looking for different stuff to do. One of the shopping centers offers a free hula show. These shows are just as good as the ones at a luau. There were several that have small children too, which were just adorable. My mom and sister sat down and made leis with some woman and they told them stories about growing up in Hawaii. This is better than anything you would get from a text book. Then, of course, there are plenty of trails and beaches you can walk on for free.
  Like
 
More Top Rated Big Island Places