A Blue Hawaiian Helicopter coming in for a landing.

Adventure Sports in Kohala

There is little in the way of organized recreation along the north coast of the Big Island, but what there is can be adrenaline-fueled excitement. Try an ATV or helicopter tour, or for a real wind-through-your-hair experience, a zipline adventure.

Old, rusted car in junkyard on Maui, Hawaii.

Dealing with Waste on the Hawaiian Islands

It’s not so easy to move heavy or big items across the ocean. While this makes Hawaii a thrift-store and vintage paradise, dealing with waste on an island is a continuous challenge. Some locals tackle the problem creatively, such as reusing old or broken bicycles to build new custom models.

The Kilauea Caldera, visible from the Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Kilauea Visitor Center Area

As they say in the Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning, the very best place to start,” i.e., the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Kilauea Visitor Center. You’ll find helpful rangers full of information about the area, various displays and interpretations, the necessary permits for backcountry hiking, and a whole lot more.

Hilo Bay Hostel.

Hilo Hostels

Hilo can make a good base to explore the island: It’s only 45 minutes to Volcano and about an hour to Mauna Kea, and it’s at the beginning of the drive on the Hamakua Coast. Staying the night in a hostel is an incredibly inexpensive way to travel, especially solo or in very small groups.

The Kohala Coast from a stand-up paddleboard.

Water Sports in Kohala on the Big Island

Activity fees and rentals for water sports in Kohala tend to be higher when purchased through hotels; you’d be better off to go directly to the source to get a better price. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about locales and outfitters to plan a day in the water.

A Swainson's Toucan poses for a picture at the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo.

Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo in Greater Hilo

Not many travelers can visit a zoo in such a unique setting, where the animals virtually live in paradise. The Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo is small, delightful, and home to both endemic and introduced species. A visit will take a full day; here’s helpful trip planning information and tips.