Best Places to Visit on the Big Island of Hawaii | Best Hawaii Beaches

Big Island Of Hawaii | A Tropical Island Paradise

This beautiful sunset on the big island of Hawaii put on a gorgeous light show. Just outside of Kona the sky exploded with sunset colors.

Gorgeous sunsets in Hawaii sometimes have to been seen in person. The amazing colors and texture in the sky are some of the most beautiful light shows out there. This small little beach just outside of Kona on the Big island of Hawaii put on a show this evening. Sometimes just being in the right spot at the right time is all that is needed.

When people starting talking and thinking about volcanoes, crystal clear blue waters, black sand beaches, turtles and more... Hawaii comes up quickly in the conversation. The Hawaiian islands are a favorite bucket list island to visit. While there are many islands (six major islands) among the Hawaiian islands such as Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, Molokai the Big Island is the most visited island. You can see snow capped Mauna Kea and the lush tropical rainforest in Hilo and Hamakua. This island has many different types of climates.

Landscapes of the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its rainforest landscapes with towering waterfalls as well as hot lava seeping from the center of the earth. Not to mention, its beautiful white sand beaches over to the jet black sand beaches in Waipio Valley. You can visit towering waterfalls such as Akaka Falls on the northeast coast near Hilo which falls a stunning 442 feet.

Akaka water fall is a incredible impressive 442' waterfall just outside of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Waterfalls are abundant around the islands.

Hawaii is known it's beauty everywhere around the islands. One of the most impressive beauties is it's waterfalls. Akaka Falls is just one of those. These falls are a incredible 442' off the side of this ridge. The beauty is gorgeous with it's surrounded blush green foliage. This waterfall just outside of Hilo, Hi is a must to see!

Or maybe your in to star gazing where you can head up to Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawai'i that last erupted approximately 4000 years ago. At 13,803 feet above sea level and over 33,500 feet from the bottom of the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world. Mauna Kea’s summit is home to the world’s largest observatory for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy. Research teams from eleven different countries operate 13 telescopes atop Mauna Kea. This are is known as one the best places on Earth for stargazing. Needless to say it's a incredible area to see the night sky with no light pollution.

Sitting at Mauna Kea this old Hawaiian tree makes the perfect foreground as the milkyway stretches across the night sky.

This old Hawaii tree is nestled near the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The dark skies are one of the darkest skies I have ever seen. Our Milkyway galaxy stretches across the Hawaiian sky with just amazing views.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an incredible park that must be visited and see with your own eyes. On January 5, 2023 the Kilauea volcano erupted with over 164 feet of lava into the air. One of the most active volcanoes on Earth this is one you must visit. Kilauea is the youngest and most active volcano on the island of Hawai'i, with a consistently active summit caldera that frequently hosts lava lake-style eruptions. According to Native Hawaiian tradition, Halemaʻumaʻu crater is the home of the Pele. Day or night there is always something to see or do around this park. Even if its a scenic drive around the summit of Kilauea around Crater Rim Drive.

This amazing view at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was spectacular. The Milky way hanging over the orange glow from the active volcano.

This was truly a remarkable experience to be at the edge of Kīlauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National park. Not only to see the orange glow from the lava but to see the Milkyway across the night sky was just amazing.

Crater of lava as seen when the Kilauea Volcano erupted in 2021.

Hawaii's Most Beautiful Beaches

A stunning sunset on this little secret beach on the island of Maui. The waves filling the beach with this amazing sunset.

A little iconic Hawaii sunset view on this little secret beach. One of the most beautiful beaches on the islands that just says paradise. If there is a must image to add to your home its' this one for sure. Bring a little Hawaii love in your home or office.

There is no shortage of amazing, gorgeous beaches to swim and snorkel on the Big Island. You just need to decide whether you want white or black soft sand to enjoy on your relaxing visit. The water temperature will always be warm and fun of 80 degree sunshine day. Even a chance to catch a Hawaii rainbow somewhere on the island.

Here are some of my personal favorite beaches to visit when I'm there:

Manini'owali Beach (Kua Bay)

Manini'owali Beach is a small secluded and small white sand beach at Kua Bay, just north of the Kona airport. The water in the bay is crystal clear and the beach has beautiful white sand to relax on. This makes Kua Bay a strong competitor for one of the most gorgeous beaches on the Big Island!

Abstract underwater surf in Kua Bay, Hawaii. These underwater abstract patterns created from the sun across the ocean floor.

Underwater abstracts can be memorizing. The patterns created from the sun across the ocean bottom. These waters are in Kua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. Some of the clearest waters I have ever seen. Add this to your home or office.

Dolphins diving just underwater as you can sometimes see in the mornings at Kua Bay, Hawaii.


might be the best beach on the Big Island that can't be reached by road. It's a short hike across a lava field and thru palm trees with several bays scooped out along the Kona Coast with gorgeous white sand. The short hike out to Makalawena keeps the crowds away, especially on weekdays which makes this a very quiet and remote beach. It's really tough to find a more perfect beach anywhere in the Hawaiian island chain. Swimming and snorkeling is pretty safe when the beautiful turquoise waters are calm.

Makalawena Beach located in Kailua-Kona, HI is a little tucked away small beach with beautiful crystal clear waters.

My buddy Nick took me to this beach as known to locals as "Maks" beach (Makalawena Beach) It was just incredible with crystal clear turquois warm waters. I created this with my drone sitting under the red umbrella.

Pololu Valley Black Sand Beach

This black sand beach hidden into the valley of Pololu. This is a short 30 minute hike down to the beach as the trail zig zags thru the trees and forest. Once you get to the bottom you are greeted by beautiful soft black sand along with waterfalls and spectacular views. Its amazing area to catch sunrise for sure!

Early morning sunrise at Waipi'o Valley beach catches the soft light across the sand and surf.  This beautiful Hawaii location is a must to see.

Waipiʻo Valley beautiful valley located in the Hamakua District of the Big Island of Hawaii. The Hawaiian word "Waipiʻo" means "curved water. This beach has a pure black sand which are just incredible to walk on in your bare feet. It's one of the softest sand I have ever felt.

Night Snorkel with Manta Rays

Looking for a thrill of excitement and just an incredible memory for everyone? Then nighttime snorkeling with Manta rays is a must. Here you are floating in the water with some powerful blueish lights below you that attract plankton to the surface. As you stare into the depths of the ocean you see these giant, gentle Manta rays swirling all around you. They are gliding through the water doing large circles with their mouths open feeding on the plankton. It’s a magical experience for sure! This type of trip with the Manta Rays swim takes place after dark. After a long day at the beach this is a great way to unwind from the day.

Manta Ray in a deep blue ocean as seen during a night snorkel tour.


Check out Joe Garza Photography's Hawaii collection to see images of beaches on Kauai, The Big Island, and Maui as you look plan to travel to Hawaii. Looking to gather your own stunning images? Check out the Light Chasing Photo Tours page to join a photography workshop and bring home stunning images of your own from Maui, Kauai, or other incredible workshop locations.