The Big Island on a Budget

The Big Island is so naturally filled with beauty and adventure that much of what you may desire to do will be possible even for those on a budget.  There are mountains, oceans, rivers, beaches, desert and so much more!  Check out this Top 20 Things to Do on the Big Island that cost under $20 or are even FREE.

1)  Watch Dolphins

Cost:  FREE (If you park in FREE parking.)

You don’t have to pay to see a dolphin show unless you want to swim with them.  On the grounds of Waikaloa several times a day they put on a dolphin show.  You can sit on the grass and watch them flip and do tricks on command.  They are quite playful creatures!

Dolphin Show Waikaloa

2)  Snorkel with Tropical Fish

Cost:  $20 or Less to Buy or Rent Snorkeling Gear

Snorkeling is an amazing experience on the Big Island!  The sheer variety and diversity you see while snorkeling will astound you–yellow tang, puffer fish, humuhumunukunukuapua’a and more.  You can almost snorkel anywhere on the island but there are a few places that are ideal.  For beginners Children’s Beach is great and for advanced snorkelers, Two-Step or Captain Cook are the best places on the island.

The warm Pacific waters invite a wide variety of fish.

3.  Explore Hawaii Volcano National Park

Cost – $20 for your carload (Update:  Now changed to $25)

People come from around the world to view Kilauea Volcano – an actively flowing volcano since 1983.  While the lava is currently going outside of the park (to find where to see it CLICK HERE), the Hawaii Volcano National Park has its many places to explore.  You can walk through lava tubes, hike on top of dried volcanic craters, see steam vents coming up from the earth and even view glowing lava at night (it can always change).  The park is huge and offers much to explore.

Thurston Lava tube is where lava once used to flow.  This is located in a beautiful jungle area you won’t want to miss!

4.)  Discover Ancient Petroglyphs

Cost:  FREE.

The islands are covered in the artifacts and remnants of ancient culture.  Most notably are the ancient drawings of old on the surface of rocks.  The island has petryglyphs everywhere but there are some places you can see whole fields of them.  The best two locations are at Puako and Waikaloa.


The Puako Petroglyph field is an art canvas on rock with its large spread of petroglyphs. 

5)  See an Extraordinary Waterfall

Cost:  A couple dollars for parking unless you park farther away and walk.

The walk to Akaka Falls alone is a worthy attraction.  The path is short but leads through a jungle forest of towering bamboo, huge Koa trees and past tropical vegetation.  Then the view opens up to a 400′ massive waterfall.  Walk a little farther and there is another waterfall albeit a little more distance to observe.  This falls is a must-see.

Akaka Falls