Planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii? Waikoloa is the ideal place to stay on the Big Island for the perfect Hawaii beach vacation. There are awesome beaches, perfect weather, and so many fun things to do in Waikoloa.
15 Things To Do In Waikoloa Hawaii (And Nearby)
We visited the Big Island of Hawaii many, many times over the years before moving here in 2021 and would usually spend most of our time staying in Waikoloa. Throughout our many visits and since moving to the Island of Hawaii, we have discovered so many incredible things to do in Waikoloa.
Looking for tips to make your vacation more affordable? Read – Family Travel on a Budget – 11 Helpful Tips To Make Family Vacations More Affordable
Here are all of our favorite things to do in Waikoloa and nearby-
Things To Do In Waikoloa Table Of Contents
- Buy A Day Pass and Experience The Hilton Waikoloa Village
- Visit Hapuna Beach
- Walk To See Ancient Hawaiian Petroglyphs
- Try An Obisic Shave Ice
- Explore Waikoloa On A Bike
- Ride The Waikoloa Trolley
- Take A Helicopter Tour With Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
- Rent A Kayak Or Paddle Board At A-Bay Beach
- Snorkel At 49 Black Sand Beach
- Watch A Hula Show At The Queen’s Shops
- Golf At One Of The Many Courses In And Around Waikoloa
- Happy Hour Lawn Games At Lava Lava Beach Club
- Watch The Sunset From A-Bay Beach
- Try A Malasada From The Hot Malasada Truck
- Walk The Coastal Trail
Buy a Day Pass and Experience the Hilton Waikoloa Village
If you have never been to the Hilton Waikoloa Village you are in for a treat! This is Hilton’s flagship property in Hawaii and it so so over-the-top you have to see it to believe it.
Located right on the coast, this 62-acre property has the most AMAZING pools and waterslides with incredible ocean views. The property is so gigantic that there is a tram and boat system in place to access the different areas of the hotel.
If staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village is out of your price range (it is really expensive), do not worry! You can actually buy an affordable day pass that grants access to all of the pools and water slides. It is the perfect way to spend a day.
Complimentary self-parking is available with a minimum $50 food and beverage purchase.
Visit Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach is a picture-perfect beach. Fine white sand, steady waves, and clear blue water surrounded by towering volcanic mountains. It is absolutely incredible. If you only go to one beach on the Big Island it should be Hapuna Beach.
Because Hapuna Beach is a state park there is a parking fee of $10 per vehicle and an entrance fee of $5 per person. But, the beach has lifeguards, picnic pavilions, maintained grassy areas, and showers.
*Tip- the beach opens at 7 am, go early to avoid the crowds and stake out a perfect spot.
I have always planned vacations around awesome beaches. Here are some of my favorites beaches that aren’t in the USA – 5 Amazing Beaches in Nicaragua Near San Juan Del Sur and Palmilla Beach – Best Public Beach in Los Cabos Mexico
Walk to See Ancient Hawaiian Petroglyphs
Evidence of ancient Hawaiian civilization can be found all along the Kona coast. One of the best spots to view ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs is right in Waikoloa and the other is just up the road in Mana Lani.
Access the Waikoloa Petroglyph Field by heading north for about a quarter of a mile on the King’s trail across the street from the gas station at the Kings shops.
For directions and more information on the Malama Trailhead to the Puako Petroglyph Field read – 10 Best Easy Hikes on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Try an Obisic Shave Ice
The best Shave Ice on the Island of Hawaii can be found right in Waikoloa. Obisic Shave ice is absolutely amazing.
The specialty Shave Ice like the Almond Joy, Root Beer Float, Pineapple Cream, or Kawaihae Sunset are all my favorites (yes, I’ll admit I go there a lot).
There are options of all-natural syrup, candy toppings, whipped cream, and ice cream. The prices for shave ice at Obisic are much lower than I’ve found at other shave ice spots for a much better shave ice.
There is usually a line out the door from open to close but it is well worth the wait! They are closed a few days a week so visit Obisic’s website before heading there.
Explore Waikoloa On A Bike
The perfect way to explore Waikoloa is on a bike. The wide streets make Waikoloa a very bike-friendly town.
There are several bike-rental options in town. We rented bikes from Big Island Motorcycle Co and they were great. The bikes are very reasonably priced and they have kid-sized bikes too.
Ride the Waikoloa Trolley
The open-air Waikoloa Trolley is a fun way to get around Waikoloa. The trolley runs from noon until 8 pm with stops at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Waikoloa Marriott, and both the King and Queen shops.
It costs $3 for adults and $2 for kids (kids under 4 years old ride free).
Take a Helicopter Tour With Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
For the ultimate Hawaii bucket list experience, take a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters out of Waikoloa. The Big Island has such a diverse landscape from cascading waterfalls and lush rainforests to vast lava fields and an active volcano. A helicopter ride on the Big Island would be something you would always remember.
While I have experienced scenic helicopter rides in both Denali, Alaska, and the Black Hills of South Dakota, I still haven’t had the chance to take a helicopter ride in Hawaii. I can only imagine that a helicopter ride over the Big Island is absolutely epic!
Rent a Paddle Board or Kayak at A-Bay Beach
Anaehoomalu Bay (or A Bay as it is commonly called) is a great place to try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. It is generally calm in the protected bay, especially in the morning hours. If the water is clear you are almost certain to see sea turtles.
Kayak and Sup rentals are available at the Hawaii Ocean Sports shack on the beach in front of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort.
Snorkel at 49 Black Sand Beach
Beach 49 is the only black sand beach on the Kohala coast. The beach isn’t as easily accessible as A Bay beach but it is well worth a visit. The small crescent of black sand is surrounded by lava rock cliffs around Honokaope Bay.
When the water is calm, the snorkeling at 49 Black Sand Beach is incredible. Stay on either side of the beach near the rocks for the best snorkeling.
To get to 49 Black Sand Beach, head north from Waikoloa and turn left at the entrance to Mauna Lani. When you reach the roundabout, exit onto Kaniku Drive and continue for one mile. Turn left at Honoka’ope, stop at the gate, and ask the guard shack attendant for a beach access parking pass. The beach parking lot is at the end of the road.
*There are only 20 public parking spots so arrive early to get a spot.
Watch a Hula Show at the Queen’s Shops
Experience a live one-hour hula show performed by a local halau. The hula dancers perform every Wednesday from 6 to 7 pm at the Coronation Pavilion in the courtyard of the Queen’s Shops.
Not only is the hula show a great experience, but it is also free! Visit the Queen’s Shops website for more information.
Golf at One of The Many Courses In And Around Waikoloa
The temperature is perfect year-round for golfing in Waikoloa and there are plenty of golf courses – Waikoloa Beach Resort, Mauna Lani Golf, Hapuna Golf Course, and The Village Course at Waikoloa to name a few.
Even if you aren’t much of a golfer (like me), it is still fun to visit the driving range.
Happy Hour Lawn Games At Lava Lava Beach Club
Located on the north side of A Bay beach is the iconic Lava Lava Beach Club. Lava Lava is by far the best happy hour spot in Waikoloa. Not only is the ocean view spectacular, but there is also a gigantic grassy area with all kinds of outdoor games.
Happy hour at Lava Lava Beach Club is a great way to spend an afternoon.
*As of June ’22 Lava Lava is closed for renovations but the rumor is that it will re-open in November ’22.
Watch The Sunset From A-Bay Beach
Watching the sunset from A Bay beach is one of my favorite things to do in Waikoloa. Nothing is better than having your feet in the sand while watching the sun go down over the ocean.
If you happen to be enjoying happy hour at Lava Lava Beach Club, great! A Bay beach is only a few steps away.
Because the sunset from A Bay is so awesome, there will usually be a small crowd at the beach but that won’t take away from the ambiance. There is plenty of parking and lots of room to spread out along the beach.
Try a Malasada From the Hot Malasada Truck
No vacation to Hawaii would be complete without trying a malasada and the Hot Malasada Truck makes the best malasadas around. Malasadas are very similar to donuts; the dough is fried but there is no hole in the center. Instead, malasadas are often filled with various types of fillings.
The Hot Malasada Truck has malasadas filled with fruit, Nutella, different types of cream, and also plain malasadas with no filling. They are a yummy treat.
Look for the blue food trailer in a parking lot along the highway between Waikoloa and Hapuna Beach.
Walk The Waikoloa Coastal Trail
There is an established trail along the beach from the north side of A Bay all the way past the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The views along the path are stunning. The stark contrast of black lava rock against the white coral and bright blue ocean makes this an awe-inspiring walk.
If you are staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village you can start the trail either way from there. To begin the trail from A Bay Beach, head to the northernmost edge of the beach right along the coast and look for an established trail onto the rocks. At low tide the trail is obvious but at high tide, you might have to get your feet wet at the beginning of the trail.
*This is a great hike to do in the morning when it is cooler and there is some shade. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes to walk on the jagged lava rock.
There are so many unique and fun things to do in Waikoloa. You might find it hard to leave such an amazing place to explore the rest of the Big Island.
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