11 BEST Half-Day Tours Big Island: The Best Of 2024

Do you have some time to fill while visiting Hawaii and are looking for the best half-day tours on the Big Island?

From snorkeling with vibrant marine life to wandering through spewing volcanoes, there are so many options for things to do while visiting the Big Island.

Whether you’re someone who loves to kick back and relax or you prefer a trip filled with adventure, these tours will make your time in Hawaii a blast. Here are the best ones to add to your itinerary.

11 Best Half-Day Tours On The Big Island

There are so many things to do on the Big Island, but if you’re running low on time, taking a half-day tour is a great way to spend your time. Here are some of the best tours for your visit to Hawaii.

1. Go On A Manta Ray Night Adventure

One of the most unique and awe-inspiring experiences you can take part in on the Big Island is snorkeling with manta rays. These gentle giants can only be seen in certain parts of the world, and with this tour, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to witness them in their natural habitat.

Jump into the water after the sun sets and watch as the manta rays glide through the water. They feed on plankton while neon lights cast an enchanting glow on the scene.

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    Snorkeling with manta rays is an experience you will never forget and something you will want to come back and do time and time again.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Professional Guide And Skipper
    ᐧ All Snorkeling Equipment And Wet Suit Top
    ᐧ Light Snacks And Water

    2. Snorkel In The Stunning Kealakekua Bay

    Snorkeling is one of the best ways to explore the underwater world, and what better place to do it than at Kealakekua Bay?

    Person snorkeling near coral reef

    On this snorkeling tour, you’ll have the chance to encounter vibrant coral reefs that are home to thousands of brightly colored tropical fish. You’re also likely to spot other marine life, like sea turtles and playful dolphins, in the water and as you make your way to the snorkeling spot.

    This bay is not only known for its stunning marine life but also for its history. It was here that Captain Cook, who mapped out Eastern Australia, was killed. While aboard the boat, your guides will provide you with a detailed history briefing.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Bottled Water, Snacks, And Drinks
    ᐧ Lunch Of Sandwiches And Fruit
    ᐧ All Snorkeling Equipment
    ᐧ Professional Guide And Skipper

    3. Go Off Road On An ATV Adventure

    If you’re a big adventurer while traveling, you’ll love exploring the Big Island on this off-roading ATV adventure tour.

    On this tour, you’ll have an adrenaline-filled day of fun as you cruise through the island on either your own ATV or riding with someone else. As you go, you’ll stop at a few different villages to learn some of the history of the Polynesian culture.

    Your local guide will do the talking and teach you all about what you’re seeing before you set off for the rest of your day packed with adventure as you go off-road in Hawaii.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ UTV Or ATV To Ride
    ᐧ Safety Equipment

    4. Take A Historical Dinner Cruise

    If you’re a fan of learning a destination’s history, then this Big Island historical tour will be the perfect way for you to spend your time on the island.

    toasting drinks in hawaii

    Start by cruising across the Pacific Ocean, along the Kona Coast, to Kealakekua Bay, where you can admire the Captain Cook Monument. Along the way, you’ll also get to experience over 50 other points of interest that are important to Hawaii’s history.

    As you cruise across the crystal clear water, enjoy a delicious dinner and cocktail as you watch the sunset, as well as live entertainment and commentary from your tour guides.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Dinner And Drinks
    ᐧ Live Entertainment And Commentary
    ᐧ Sunset Cruise

    5. Go On A Zodiac Snorkel Adventure

    Watch out for some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures as you glide through the water and snorkel at Kealakekua Bay on this Zodiac snorkel tour.

    Embark on an inflatable and adventurous Zodiac raft. You’ll go in and out of sea caves and lava tubes to give you a better look at the amazing coastline of Big Island. You’ll also get to see the Captain Cook Monument and learn some history of the island.

    Then, dive into the water and search for colorful and lively marine life, such as dolphins, humpback whales, over 100 varieties of fish, and more.

    As you make your way back to land, enjoy a snack and listen to stories about Hawaii and its past, including how it was formed and came to be.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Use Of Snorkel Equipment
    ᐧ Snacks And Drinks
    ᐧ Raft Expedition And Guided Tour

    6. Visit The Volcanoes

    Hawaii is known for a lot of things, from amazing coral reefs to towering palm trees and incredible surfing. But it’s also known for being very volcanic, and with a visit to Big Island, you can experience it first-hand.

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at sunset

    You’ll make a quick stop in historic Hilo before continuing to Rainbow Falls and then to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of Hawaii’s two national parks.

    Within the national park, enjoy views of towering volcanic features as you make your way to the summit of Kilauea Volcano. Here you’ll see steam vents, lava tubes, and more.

    As you finish up your day, you’ll make a stop at Akatsuka Orchid Garden and Richardson Black Sand Beach, which are two of Big Island’s iconic destinations.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ National Park Entrance Fees
    ᐧ Local Guide
    ᐧ Bottled Water

    7. Whale Watch From A Catamaran

    Being able to experience one of the ocean’s most incredible creatures up close is an adventure that you’ll never forget with this Hawaiin whale-watching tour.

    During peak whale watching season, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to watch these majestic creatures as they migrate north to give birth and raise their young. You’ll often be able to spot their blowholes, tail slaps, or watch as they breach.

    A unique aspect of this tour is that you’ll be able to listen to the whales sing through hydrophones that are provided by the tour company. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    As you cruise through the water in the catamaran, your guide will provide commentary and teach you about the humpback whales.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Bottled Water And Snacks
    ᐧ Hydrophones To Listen To Whales
    ᐧ Whale Watching Guided Tour

    8. Fly Over The Treetops On A Zipline

    Looking for an adventurous half-day tour on Big Island? Check out this amazing zipline tour that will have you soaring above the treetops of Hawaii.

    Strap into your harness and embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure over Umauma Falls, the canopies of the forest, and views of the Pacific Ocean.

    Helmets for ziplining in Hawaii

    With nine different zip lines to try out, you’ll be able to see the island from every angle. Each line is unique in its own way, so you’ll have a varied experience as you go along.

    Seeing the Big Island from this perspective is something that not many people get to experience, and for adventure seekers, it’s the best way to see the stunning island.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ 2 Hours Of Ziplining
    ᐧ Safety Gear

    9. Take A Sunset Sail

    There’s nothing quite like cruising across the clear, blue ocean as the sun sets in the distance, filling the sky with bright shades of pink, orange, and yellow.

    On this sunset sailing tour along the Kona coast, you’ll get to sit back and watch as the sun sinks below the horizon.

    It’s the perfect way to spend an evening with someone you love, your family, or just on a solo adventure out for a night of sightseeing.

    Sip on a glass of wine and take in all of the dreamy views before heading back to the mainland to end the day.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Sunset Cruise Along Coast
    ᐧ Snacks And Alcoholic Drinks

    10. Treat Your Taste Buds On A Walking Food Tour

    One of the best parts about traveling somewhere new is trying out all of the local food, and in Hawaii, it’s no different.

    Embarking on a walking food tour gives you a chance to enjoy some of the local cuisine, starting with appetizers and ending with dessert.

    The knowledgeable guides will lead you to some of the best places to eat in the historic town of Kailua-Kona, including a few that have been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.

    From locally made coffee to cocktails and some of the world’s best seafood, this Hawaiian food tour will be one to remember

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ Lunch
    ᐧ Guided Food Tour

    11. Hang Ten With A Surf Lesson

    A quintessential part of visiting any of the Hawaiian islands is hopping on a surfboard and trying to hang ten.

    With this tour, you can live out your Hawaiian surfer dreams as you catch the waves and enjoy the tropical beaches of this island paradise.

    Man Surfing in the Ocean

    Your expert guide will teach you all you need to know to get started as a beginner surfer, including how to paddle, which waves are best, and how to stand up. The advantage of being part of a small group ensures a highly personalized learning experience.

    Within the waves of Kahalu’u Bay, you’ll have the chance to show off your surfer skills and be ready to catch some bigger waves on your next visit.

    Included In This Tour:
    ᐧ 2-Hour Surfing Lesson In A Small Group
    ᐧ Surfboard
    ᐧ Reef Booties
    ᐧ Rash Guard

    Best Time To Visit The Big Island

    One of the best parts about Hawaii is that it’s beautiful year-round and makes for a fantastic vacation place no matter the time of year.

    However, the dry season, from October to April, is often considered the best time to visit for travelers. During this time, you will experience minimal rainfall, calm seas, and cooler temperatures than what the island sees in summer.

    Do keep in mind, though, that the peak tourist season overlaps with these cooler winter months, so you will want to make sure that you book well in advance and that you’re prepared to spend a little bit extra money on seeing the island during this time of year.

    Where To Stay In The Big Island

    📍Best Budget Spot: Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kings Land Waikoloa

    If you’re hoping to save some money during your Big Island vacation, this hotel is the place to go. You can still enjoy amenities like the four large outdoor pools, on-site restaurant, fitness center, and spacious rooms, but at a fraction of the cost.

    All of the suites have their own fully stocked kitchen, so you can also save money by cooking your own meals. Families love the outdoor pool areas, where kids can splash around all day.

    📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Holualoa Inn

    For a bit more of a luxurious stay, plan to book at Holualoa Inn. This stunning bed and breakfast sits on 30 acres over the Kona coastline and at the base of Mount Hualalai.

    hotel front desk

    The views alone make the Holualoa Inn worth staying at, but you can also take advantage of amenities like their delicious daily breakfast, private rooms, and the option to grab a cup of world-famous Kona Coffee.

    📍Best Luxury Spot: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

    For a full-out luxurious stay on the Big Island, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is the easy choice. You can’t get much closer to the ocean coastline than here, and many of the rooms have amazing beach views.

    Enjoy other amenities like on-site water sports, eight outdoor swimming pools, including an adults-only one, a fitness center, and an on-site cultural center to learn about Polynesian history. Guests can also take advantage of the spa and multiple restaurants for a relaxing night at the resort.

    Visiting Big Island FAQs

    How far apart are Kauai and the Big Island?

    The Big Island and Kauai are the furthest two Hawaiian islands from each other. Kauai is in the far west, while Big Island is in the far east, and they are nearly 300 miles apart.

    Can I explore the Big Island without a car?

    You can explore the Big Island without a car, but it can be tricky. There are buses to take that mostly transport residents, but it’s best to have your own car to get around.

    A View of Hawaii Valley On The Big Island, One of the Best Things To Do.

    Is the Big Island too touristy?

    While Big Island does see a lot of tourists (almost 2 million per year), it isn’t the most visited island. Oahu sees the most visitors since it’s home to the capital city of Honolulu. Big Island is a great place to visit for a less crowded experience.

    The Wrap-Up: Half-Day Tours Big Island

    If you’re looking for the top half-day tours to make the most of your time on the Big Island, there are plenty of options to choose from.

    Whether you enjoy being in the water and snorkeling or swimming, relaxing poolside, or embarking on a hiking trail by ATV, the options are very diverse and captivating.

    With so much to do, the Big Island promises an exciting adventure for all travelers but if you’re not sure this is right for you, check out these places like Hawaii.

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