16 Amazing Things to Do in and around Waikoloa (Big Island)

On the Big Island, there are many beautiful spots to explore, and Waikoloa is one of the most popular places to stay.
This is a list of all the best things to do in Waikoloa (and the surrounding area)!

Waikoloa is located just north of Kona and the Kona Airport, and it is an excellent base with lots of things to do nearby – whether you want to relax or just hang out.

Things to do in Waikoloa.
Things to do in Waikoloa. Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

There are numerous natural attractions in the vicinity, including plenty of beaches!

Things to Do in Waikoloa

Are you going to Oʻahu?

Corsair Wreck Dive SiteHonolulu is the largest city in Hawaiʻi and without doubt the place where things are happening! Check out our 26 bucket-list activities for First-Time Visitors to Oʻahu below:


Waikoloa Anchialine Pond Preservation Area

Inside the Waikoloa Beach Resort is the Waikoloa Anchialine Pond Reservation Area.

This natural attraction, which comprises of brackish water lava pools that are home to many tiny sea creatures, is freely accessible by everyone.

You can walk the trail from the roadside parking to get to the ocean. The hike takes about five minutes and provides spectacular views of the ponds.

Anchialine Ponds Hawaii
Anchialine Ponds Hawaii | Image: Travis Thurston | CC

The best way to enjoy the ponds is by taking a walk along the beach. Although the ponds appear to be a lovely spot to swim, they are made of spiky lava rock, making them uncomfortable to swim in.

Visit the Lava Light Galleries

CJ Kale and Nick Selway founded the Lava Light Galleries, which include magnificent pictures by the two photographers. Don and Linda Hurzeler then joined the gallery, prompting them to open a second location in Waikoloa’s Queens Market Place.

Between 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., visitors to the marketplace can see the lovely photographs and perhaps buy a copy. Pictures of the lava and Mauna Kea, as well as other nature photographs from Hawaii and throughout the world, are among the most popular in the gallery.

Kalahuipuaʻa Historic Park

The Kalahuipuaʻa Historic Park, which is located along the paved pathways of the Mauna Lani resort in Waikoloa, contains some remarkable petroglyphs, lava tubes, and fishponds.

back in the days the fishponds were constantly full with fish, and they covered over four acres of land, making them the largest in the area! The fish in these ponds were meant to be consumed by the royals.

Kalahuipua'a fishponds
Kalahuipua’a fishponds | Image: Troy Mckaskle | CC

Those planning to visit should bring suitable hiking equipment, as well as water and sun protection. When you arrive at the Mauna Lani resort, look for the trailhead parking area, which is located near to the park’s trail.

Anaehoʻomalu Beach (A Bay)

Anaehoʻomalu Beach is one of Waikoloa’s most popular spots to unwind on a hot day! Swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, hiking, and sunset watching are just a few of the activities that are available.

Anaeho’omalu Bay
Anaeho’omalu Bay | Image: Al Case | Source | CC

For those interested in history, it is also close to the Historic Fishponds and the Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve.
The beach is a great spot for the whole family to relax because, as it is located next to a few resorts, there are so many services nearby.

The beach is close enough to Kona and is home to a variety of sea life that can be seen when snorkeling, and there are plenty  of gear rental options at Anaehoʻomalu Beach for those who want to join in the fun.

Golf at Mauna Lani

Do you enjoy golfing? If you visit the Mauna Lani Golf Resort in Waikoloa, you may now take your favorite sport to new heights.
When you spend the day at this golf course, whose name means “mountain reaching heaven” in the Hawaiian language, you will undoubtedly feel as if you are in paradise.

There is a 45-hole golf course, which includes the North and South golf courses. For those who want to take a shorter tour, there is also a shorter WikiWiki course.

15th Mauna Lani Golf Course
15th Mauna Lani Golf Course | Image: Peter Guyan | Source | CC

If you plan on staying for an extended period of time, you can look into the various packages available, or simply arrange a fun day for any golf enthusiast!

Waialea Beach / Beach 69

Waialea Beach, which is famed for its white sand, is another popular beach in the vicinity. Because of the heat, shade, and good snorkeling options, the beach is especially popular during the summer months.

Because of utility pole #69 near the parking area, it is commonly referred to as 69 Beach by locals. There are numerous trees that provide shade, making it an ideal area to unwind in the heat.

Waialea Beach / Beach 69
Waialea Beach a.k.a Beach 69 | Image: Simon Hurry

Explore the rich marine life by going snorkeling or diving, or hike the fairly tough Ala Kahakai hiking trail that passes through the area and offers views of some of Hawaii’s most beautiful shorelines.

Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative

The Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative Ancient is most known for the ancient wiliwili trees that can be found in it.  There are only a few hundred of these left in the globe, and the initiative’s goal is to plant hundreds each year to keep the species from extinction.

By visiting you’ll be able to learn more about the forest that once covered the land, as well as several ways you may contribute to its preservation. For those interested in learning more about conservation initiatives, the program provides a variety of volunteer opportunities, field trips, and guided walks.

For those who wish to get away from the heat, guided treks are also available at 5 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

49 Black Sand Beach

Close to the Mauna Lani Resort is 49 Black Sand Beach, which has black sand, coastal cliffs, and a clear ocean.

Because of its black sand, which is made out of  fine grains of lava, this beach stands out among the many white sand beaches in the area. To get to the beach, you must first stop at the guard shack near the entrance and ask for a beach pass.

49 Black Sand Beach
49 Black Sand Beach | Image: Tommy Munoz

Although there are rarely more than a dozen people at the beach at any given time, you should still strive to be there early in the morning due to the restricted number of beach passes available.

The walk along the sea cliffs also offers breathtaking views of tide pools and sea caves.

Want more? Read about the 6 most popular black sand beaches on the Big Island.

The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani is an Open-air mall at the Mauna Lani Resort, and is a terrific opportunity for visitors to get a good sample of local dining and shopping while exploring the neighborhood. With so many restaurants, shops, and diners to choose from, you’re bound to discover something you’ll enjoy.

Knead and Bake, Pele’s Wok Bistro and Bar, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, R. Field Wine Company, and Mauna Lani Coffee Co. are some of the most popular dining alternatives.

You can also visit some of the local businesses, such as Jams World and Hawaiian Island Creations, as well as galleries and other attractions. The shopping complex hosts a variety of events throughout the year, so check the website to see what’s going on during your stay.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is one of Hawaii’s largest white-sand beaches, and is located right along the Kohala Coast. The beach is open every day between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. There is a large parking lot with a small parking fee for visitors.

Some of the most popular activities at the beach are swimming, bodyboarding, sunbathing, and snorkeling.  You may also be able to spot some migrating whales if you visit during whale season (December – April).

Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach | Image: Simon Hurry

There are plenty of paid parking spots, as well as food sellers, picnic areas, and other amenities, making it an ideal location for families. If you want to cool off, go for a swim in the refreshing water of the ocean!

Oceanfront fine dining at Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club

One of the island’s hidden jewels is the Napua restaurant at Mauna Lani Beach Club. Here, you can sample some of the great dishes while looking at Makaiwa Bay’s magnificent scenery and listening to Hawaiian music. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Mauna Lani Beach Club
Mauna Lani Beach Club | Image: Michael Olsen

Many of their ingredients are sourced from local producers.  Local catch, rib eye, Ahi, and Kaunamano Farms pork loin are some of the excellent dishes to try.

This is a GREAT restaurant for a sunset dinner!

Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve

In the Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve you can see many petroglyphs that are strewn across the trail, making it one of Hawaii’s best-preserved petroglyph sites and one of Waikoloa’s top things to do.

The reserve is located roughly a quarter-mile north of the Waikoloa Kings Shops and is at a 25 minutes driving distance from Kailua-Kona.

Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve
Waikoloa Petroglyph Reserve | Image: Gary Todd

The petroglyphs, which include drawings of humans, birds, and canoes, as well as more cryptical images with dots and lines, offer a unique look into Hawaii’s history. Some of the petroglyphs date back to the sixteenth century!

When visiting, stay on the established walkways and avoid touching the petroglyphs.

Kings’ Shops

Any shopper should pay a visit to Kings’ Shops – this is Waikoloa’s finest shopping and dining destination, with everything from local boutiques to name-brand businesses such as Michael Kors and Tiffany & Co!

There is also a farmer’s market on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and more local flavor can be found at Aesthetic Hawaii by Genesis Gallery, Hulakai, and Kohala Coast Fine Art.

Kohala Spa @ Hilton Waikoloa Village

After a long day of stress, the Kohala Spa at the Hilton is the ideal place to unwind and relax. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you can get exquisite spa products in addition to spa treatments.

Take note that the sauna, steam room, and whirlpool are now unavailable due to pandemic limitations, massages and cosmetic packages are still available.

Kohala Spa @ Hilton Waikoloa Village
Kohala Spa @ Hilton Waikoloa Village | Image: Zane Persaud

Body massages and scrubs are among among the spa’s most popular offerings. You can book an appointment online and learn more about the many services available, including Kohala Indulgence, bath rituals, hydrating hand and foot treatments, body firming treatments, and more.

Sailing Boat trips

Going on a boat trip provides visitors with all kinds of different opportunities for ocean activities, other than going snorkeling or taking a fun day at the beach.

If you want to check out the diverse marine life in Hawaii, boat tours are the way to go.

Sailing Boat trip
Sailing boat trip | Image: Bill Morson | Source | CC

Popular boat tours including whale watching, dolphin and turtle sightings, snorkeling trips, “normal” sailing tours, sunset cocktail tours, and more.

Go See a Luau

During your visit to the island, attending a Luau is almost a must! A typical Luau includes delicious local food, singing, and storytelling, as well as a flaming knife dance.

Luau show
Luau show | Image: dolanh | Source | CC

Two popular Luau shows at Waikoloa are the Mauna Kea Lū‘au and the Hawai‘i Loa Lū‘au.