Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island. Best places to visit on Big Island. Best things to do. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

ALOHA!

 

So if you’re looking for some things to do on the Big Island, you can have a look to some Hawaii state parks! 

You’ll find Big Island state parks on the Kona side, the Hilo side, and even near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

There are 14 Hawaii state parks or state sites on the Big Island. This count includes sites that are called a state park, state historical park, state recreation area, state park reserve, state monument, and state wayside. There’s even a palace.

But here are some of the top to consider adding to your short time on the Big Island!

 

First, the quick list of the best Big Island state parks.

Then, a bit more about each of these state parks.

 

 

7+ best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island

 

1. Akaka Falls state park

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Akaka Falls state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for one of the best waterfalls on the Big Island

 

 

2. Kekaha Kai state park

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for some of the best white sand beaches on the Big Island

 

 

3. Kealakekua Bay state historical park

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kealakekua Bay state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island

 

 

4. Lapakahi state historical park

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Lapakahi state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for another good snorkeling spot, along with a trail through an ancient Hawaiian village

 

 

5. Wailuku River state park

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Wailuku river state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for another good waterfalls

 

 

6. Hapuna Beach state recreation area

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hapuna Beach state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…for another white sand beach

 

 

7. Lava tree state monument

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Lava tree state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…to see tree molds formed by lava

 

 

8. Hulihee Palace

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hulihee Palace state park. Best places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog
…to see a glimpse of Hawaiian royalty of the past

 

 

🌴

 

 

 

And now…

A little more about each of these Big Island state parks!

 

Akaka Falls state park

North/Hamakua Coast
Cost: $1 per person

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Akaka Falls state park waterfalls, hiking trail, nature path. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit Akaka Falls for one of the best waterfalls on the Big Island!

Make sure to take the Akaka Falls circle trail that loops around the park that will take you through nature and past banyan trees.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Akaka Falls state park waterfalls, hiking trail, nature path. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Akaka Falls state park waterfalls, hiking trail, nature path. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Akaka Falls state park waterfalls, hiking trail, nature path. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is best made a part of your day when you are visiting around the Hilo side of the island.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Kekaha Kai state park

Kona
Cost: FREE

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit Kekaha Kai for white sand beaches on the Big Island!

There are 3 great beaches to visit at this state park, but visit Kua Bay for the easiest access.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Kua Bay. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Otherwise, it’s a bit of a bumpy road and then a short walk to Mahaiula Beach. (I was able to swim with turtles here!)

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Mahaiula Beach. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

And then from Mahaiula Beach to Makalawena Beach is a little bit of a hike through lava fields. Or, if you have a 4-wheel-drive, there’s a bumpy dirt road you can take to get to this beach too.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. beach to beach hike. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. beach to beach hike. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Makalawena Beach. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

You can also do a short hike up the Puu Kuili cinder cone for stunning views of the Kona coast! You can park at Kua Bay and then do this hike.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kekaha Kai state park. Puu Kuili hike. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This Big Island state park is located on the Kona coast, just north of the Kona airport.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Kealakekua Bay state historical park

Kona
Cost: FREE

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kealakekua bay state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

Visit Kealakekua Bay for one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island.

This bay can be accessed from 2 sides.

If you want to just visit the bay with no snorkeling, there’s one side that can be accessed by road (free).

The side that can be accessed by road isn’t the side of the snorkeling spot though.

The other side with the snorkeling cove can be accessed by hiking (free), kayaking, or a boat tour.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kealakekua bay state park. hiking trail. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Kealakekua bay state park. cove snorkeling. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is located towards the southern side of the Kona coast.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Lapakahi state historical park

Kohala
Cost: FREE

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Lapakahi state park. snorkeling. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This has a nice coastal trail with ocean views as you walk through remnants of an ancient Hawaiian village.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Lapakahi state park. ancient hawaiian village and heiau. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another good snorkeling spot on the Big Island.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Lapakahi state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 
This is on the Kona side of the island, but far up near the northern tip of the island, on the Kohala coast.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Wailuku River state park

Hilo
Cost: FREE

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Wailuku state park. rainbow falls. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

The main attraction here is Rainbow Falls.

There’s also a short set up stairs that lead up, and you can see the river that leads to the waterfalls, as well as be surrounded by banyan trees.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Wailuku state park. river to rainbow falls. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Wailuku state park. rainbow falls trail. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a short visit and it can be paired with a visit to Akaka Falls, as Rainbow Falls is located basically in Hilo town.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Hapuna Beach state park

Kohala
Cost: $5 per vehicle

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hapuna beach state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This has been said to be one of the best white sand beaches on the Big Island, and there’s a wide stretch of sand here.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hapuna beach state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is located on the Kona side of the Big Island, a bit further up north, also on the Kohala coast.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Lava tree state monument

Puna
Cost: FREE

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - lava tree state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

It will give you a glimpse of the power of lava (and of some trees that stayed standing!) as you see tree molds that have retained their form but completely covered in lava.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - lava tree state park. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a quick stop that you can make time for if you’re staying near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is located in Puna which is about an hour from the national park. 

You can spend a day in the Puna area by driving Red Road, visiting black sand beaches, and then a stop at the lava tree state monument! (You can actually do this in just a couple of hours if you want to.)

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

Hulihee Palace

Kona
Cost: $10 per person

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hulihee Palace. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a way to see a glimpse of what Hawaiian royalty lived like.

 

Hawaii state parks on the Big Island - Hulihee Palace. Places to visit on Big Island. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re staying in Kona town for a few days, there’s a good chance you’ll walk right past this palace at some point.

 

Explore more of this Big Island state park:

 

 

And these are among the best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island!

 

Here is the full list of Big Island state parks:

 

 

See more about these state parks from the official Hawaii state parks website.

 

List of best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island. Best places to visit on Big Island. Best things to do. Hawaii travel blog

 

HAPPY HAWAII STATE PARK VISIT ON THE BIG ISLAND!

 

Best Hawaii state parks on the Big Island. Best places to visit on Big Island. Best things to do. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Big Island maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Kona!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Big Island:


ALOHA!