Explore the Outdoors on the Island of Hawai‘i

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(credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman)

Although it’s the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, the island of Hawai‘i is nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined. Encompassing 4,028 mi², the island is home to all but four of the world’s different sub-climate zones and an abundance of unique geological features. From its beautiful white sand beaches with pristine waters and lush green verdant hills to its volcanic landscapes such as the black sands of Punalu‘u Beach, there’s never a dull moment on the island and here are some exhilarating ways to experience this adventurer’s playground.

(credit: Hawaii Forest & Trail; taken by Andrew Richard Hara)

Hawaii Forest & Trail has been operating on the island of Hawai‘i since 1993 offering intimate group tours that keep visitors comfortable, engaged and captivated. With more than seven tours offered, their knowledgeable interpretive guides curate an exploration on the island of Hawai‘i from its waterfalls, volcano adventures, ziplines and much more. From their Private Tours to their Signatures Series, which allow them to design an itinerary exclusively for visitors’ special needs, requests and interests, adventurers will receive an experience like no other.

From hiking adventures, caving, romantic adventures and ‘ohana (family) adventures, enjoy an endless combination of activities which also include exploring off the beaten path private locations. Their full-day Volcano Unveiled tour provides guests the opportunity to visit a lava tube on private property with a 35′ high ceiling, stories and legends about Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the opportunity to visit past eruption sites, craters and even flowing lava.

(credit: Dolphin Quest)

For those looking for an intimate and personalized experience with a marine mammal, swim with dolphins in Hawai?i with Dolphin Quest at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Their saltwater lagoon is one of the largest and most natural dolphin habitats in the world. Dolphin Quest offers a variety of up-close and personalized experiences for all age ranges 2 years old and up. Whether you decide to participate in a shallow or deep-water interactive dolphin encounter, it’s guaranteed to be an extraordinary and enriching experience that will and provide memories for a lifetime. You could try their most popular Encounter Deluxe package which includes 30 minutes with dolphins as their Marine Mammal Specialists teach you more about these magnificent creatures and the ocean they call home in a small group setting.

If you’re interested in learning what it takes to be a Marine Mammal Specialist, choose their Marine Mammal Trainer for a Day package which includes participation in dolphin health exams, dolphin training sessions, dolphin play time and dolphin programs for guests. In addition to having fun and learning more about dolphins and the ocean, swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Quest is a way you can make a difference. All of their programs support vital marine mammal conservation, education and scientific study. To date, Dolphin Quest has contributed over $5 million to support wildlife conservation.

(credit: Sea Quest Hawaii)

Another water-based experience that should top your bucket list is the Night Manta Experience with Sea Quest Hawaii. Offered every night of the week either at 715pm or 845pm in the warm Kona waters off of Keauhou Bay, this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the darkness of night allows guests to enjoy nature’s most spectacular nocturnal ballet. This unique experience takes you on a short five-minute boat ride to one of the islands of Hawai‘i’s most successful and consistent manta ray viewing locations.

After jumping in the warm waters, you gather with your group on the light boards, and after their crew turn on the powerful lights, the show quickly begins. Holding on to the light board hovering 25 ft above the sea floor, these magnificent sea creatures are as large as 16 ft. across and weigh 1,000 lbs, swim right below you and put on a show. These graceful glorious giants swim within inches of the snorkelers above showing off while feeding on plankton endlessly.

(credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman)

Back on the Eastern side of the island, The Umauma Experience offers a special chance to see Umauma Falls. From zip-lining the longest, fastest lines on the island to rappelling down waterfalls to guided ATV and horseback riding tours, The Umauma Experience creates a place for all to enjoy regardless of their activity level. On their nine-line two-mile ziplines, get up to 65 miles per hour over 14 waterfalls on the Umauma Falls Zipline Tour or zip then have an hour of swimming and kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Zip N Dip: Ziplining & Kayak Tour. Before you venture out, read and sign the island’s Pono Pledge for the lay of the land in exploring the island of Hawai‘i safely, mindfully and respectfully.

Other tour companies that offer bespoke experiences on the island of inspiration include: Kapohokine Adventures, Kona Honu Divers, Anelakai Adventures and Hawaii Zipline Tours. To see more of the outdoor adventures offered on the island visit https://www.gohawaii.com/experiences/adventure.

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