Big Island Itinerary - Day 7

Let's see the Big Island like the birds do today.

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Matt Anderson's Take
Guide Series: Big Island Vacation Itinerary
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The appeal of seeing land from a bird's eye view is an obvious winner for most. While many rush out to do this right away I think you'll be better off taking an air tour of a place later in your trip. This way, you'll already be familiar with the lay of the land and now when you hit the skies you'll have a better understanding of what you're seeing.


So let's start today off with a helicopter tour. Now, I also suggested a helicopter tour in our Big Island Itinerary - Day 4 so if you already did that and don't want to take another one that's just fine. If you didn't take a chopper ride already you may want to consider it now and bring a camera! Check out Blue Hawaiian Helicopters which offers rides in the Waikoloa area.


If you need a backup option for thrills this morning then a zipline ride is also tons of fun, even if you've already done it. Options on this side of the island include Fly Hi Ziplines Kona down in the Captain Cook area or Kohala Zipline up in the Hawi area.


After some morning thrills to get your blood pumping, it's time to relax and see some of the amazing beaches that Hawaii Island's west coast has to offer. There are quite a few that are amazing here so I'll list a few of the top beaches you'll want to check out. Just how many of them you visit is up to you. Some people like to pick a beach and hang out there for a half day or full day while others like to "beach hop" and spend less time at each but see more beaches overall.


Hapuna Beach State Park is a great beach that's relatively close to the Waikoloa resort area and popular with guests staying there. This gem of a beach is long with plenty of powdery sand. The waves here are often gentle, making it a good family friendly beach much of the time.


Waialea Bay (Beach 69) is another amazing beach. The Beach 69 name comes simply from an old #69 telephone pole that used to be here, but no longer is. This is a great family beach as well, often with very gentle wave action, though there is no lifeguard here. Just an all around gorgeous place to be.


Mauna Kea Beach / Kauna'oa Bay is located right behind the lovely Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and has that classic crescent beach shape we all love so much. The beach surrounds Kauna'oa Bay for a picture perfect backdrop. This is worth a stop on your list if you can get in. While you don't need to be staying at the resort here, parking is limited and they stop letting cars in when the lot is full so you may need to wait a bit or come back and try again. Parking will be worst on weekends.


Spencer Beach Park is another popular spot on the west side and it's easy to see why with its soft and powdery sand, clear waters, and often gentle waves. Families flock to this place on weekends but if it's not overly crowded it's an amazing place to swim, snorkel, or just hang out.


After a day at the beach and a nice dinner, it's time for another nighttime activity that you'll never forget. I'm talking about snorkeling with manta rays at night. This activity isn't for everyone as it does involve getting into "dark water". While many have no issues jumping into the ocean during the day, some fear the ocean at night since you can't see as well. Put those fears aside if you can and give this a try for a truly unique experience and note that the tour companies will put lights in the water so it won't be completely dark.


There are several boat companies that offer nighttime manta ray tours so pick the one that works best for you. To get a better idea on how this works, see our article on Sea Paradise Tours and Cruises, complete with video near the bottom of the page. If you're camera is waterproof or has an underwater housing you'll want to bring it for some incredible photo opportunities.
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