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Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

Level Contributor
13 posts
22 reviews
Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

Is there anything to do on the Big Island (Kona) that is Free? All of the activity websites have outrageous prices for walking tours, snorkeling, cruises, etc. I might as well take another trip to New York!

I'd like some advice on things people have done that are cheap. I am interested in seeing waterfalls, volcano's, easy hikes, possibly horseback riding (I know its not free)...Touristy stuff without the cost. We are renting a car and staying in Kona but know we'll be going to Hilo as well.

Any ideas? I'll be broke if I spend $100 a day on activities!

Thanks in advance!

Level Contributor
41,021 posts
4 reviews
31. Re: Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

Bill, thank you for posting the information about Waipi'o. That agrees with all that I've heard.

As for heading inland to the Valley, the Revealed people mess that one up badly by suggesting that all the trespassing signs are fake, and talking up the fact that it's County Road.

I don't know why this is a hard concept to grasp in Hawai'i, but county roads can and do provide access to private property parcels. Yes, you can drive on the county road, or walk on it, but unless that road leads to a park or some other kind of land open to the public, one cannot go hiking anywhere to either side of the road or at the end of the road without trespassing.

A county road goes by my house. Turn off it and walk up my driveway and you're trespassing. Park by the side and walk across the hundred acres of grassland to the ocean and you're trespassing. Park by the sign that says Public Access trail and you're good to go!

There isn't any designated public access at the back of Waipi'o Valley, that I know of, so it doesn't matter if the road is public unless one intends to stay strictly on the road.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
3,027 posts
40 reviews
32. Re: Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

CaliGirl22: It's amazing how many suggestions lost the string of thought. Anyways the best things on the Big Islands are free or near free:

-Watching the sun go down on a west facing beach

-A hike down to Pololu Valley (not mentioned yet) may favorite spot on the Island (smaller & more remote than Waipio & easier to get to)

-Of course all of the National Parks

-A hike thru Kiluea Ike crater & Thurston Lava tube

-The Kalopa State Park has a really nice/easy quiet rainforest loop.

-Botanic Gardens (for a small fee) on Hilo side then follow-up w/ Akaka Falls

-Several really great beaches in the Waikoloa area especially Hapuna Beach

-Maybe view lava flow Kalapana side (depends on current conditions)

-I love just walking thru Kailua Kona at then end of the trip to see what's new for souveniers but I rarely buy anything expensive (window shopping is free). Stop in the old church & peak into the Palace windows on the main town drag.

Don't forget to check out


an excellent overall guide to the islands has a really great driving guide.

In short you will have plenty of fun on the Big Island for free then splurge at the end and take a helicopter ride. Many of those paid acitivities will give you a discount on a "stand by" status.

Have fun, watch the road, don't let a wave hit your back. Aloha & Best Wishes, TheodoreJay

Somerville, MA
Level Contributor
15 posts
40 reviews
33. Re: Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

South of Kona:

Another vote for snorkeling at Two-Steps. Two Steps is a few hundred yards from the Place of Refuge National Park - Puuhonua o Honaunau. The park itself is worthwhile if you like a little history.

I parked my car at the National Park for $5 and toured the Place of Refuge. Then left my car in the parking lot and walked the hundred yards or so Two-Steps. I brought my own snorkel gear. The snorkelng was awesome - no need to travel more than a coupla ten yards off shore.

North of Kona:

Beaches are free. Recommend Hapuna Beach. Wide beach, gentle waves (in Oct) - for relaxing and swimming (but not good for surfing).

34. Re: Best activities that don't cost an arm and a leg?!

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