Things to do in Captain Cook, Hawaii

Our most recommended things to do in Captain Cook, Hawaii

Big Island: Kealakekua Bay, Captain Cook & Marine Life Tour

1. Big Island: Kealakekua Bay, Captain Cook & Marine Life Tour

Experience a true Hawaiian adventure and observe Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins as they travel along the coast. Snorkel in Kealakekua Bay and marvel at the range of corals and marine life.  Your modern, 24-passenger catamaran allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the view of Kona’s coast while enjoying on board snacks and beverages. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the memory of this unique excursion.

Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

2. Big Island: Captain Cook Sightseeing & Snorkel Expedition

Discover the natural beauty and history of Kealakekua Bay on this eco-friendly snorkeling adventure. This stunning 315-acre marine sanctuary boasts protected waters, making it the best place in Hawaii for snorkelers of all levels of experience. Jump in the turquoise waters and marvel at the tropical fish, colorful coral, and marine life. Keep your eyes peeled—you might even catch a glimpse of playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins. After a full hour of snorkeling, let your friendly captain and crew transport you and your small group to the historic Captain Cook's Monument. Hear about the dramatic history of this location as you gaze toward the cove where the white stone monument stands.  On your way back, enjoy snacks and beverages while you ride up the coast learning about local legends and history.   Maneuver into the sea caves at the base of Hualalai, hugging the coast and detailing the culturally significant and geologically fascinating features along the way. Watch for dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even herds of thousands of goats. Afterwards, you’ll head back to the dock, having seen some of the most stunning natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

3. Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

Experience Hawaii's Big Island at your own pace with a self-guided driving tour. Stops include Hulihe's Palace, Magic Beach, and the Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Your tour of the Big Island begins outside the quaint town of Kailua-Kona. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. As you drive, you’ll see the historic Hulihe’e Palace, once the vacation home of the island’s royalty. Continue south to Magic Beach, where the sand sometimes simply disappears. After that is Kahalu'u Beach, a perfect place for snorkelers, followed by the sacred Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Next, pass the remnants of Hikiau Heiau, an important religious site in ancient Hawaii. Past that is the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park for those looking to learn more about the island’s history. See the Honaunau Rodeo Arena and learn all about Hawaii’s cowboys. Next up is Pebble Beach, where you’ll get to know the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. You’ll also have the option to check out the Kula Kai Caverns, left by ancient volcanic activity. Continuing on, reach the startling Punalu'u Beach, which features totally black sand. The route then passes an old sugar plantation, followed by the huge volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Pass by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanoes up close. After that, drive through the picturesque town of Hilo. Then, cruise through the almost impossibly scenic Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Find surfers catching waves next at Honoli'i Beach. After that is Onomea Bay, featuring a spectacular hiking trail with views that can’t be beaten. Then, admire the astonishing flora at the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Continuing on, you’ll arrive at the surprising sight of the Honohina Hongwanji Mission, a historic Buddhist temple. Next pass the Laupahoehoe Train Museum before reaching Laupahoehoe Point, a spectacular ocean vista. Don’t forget to snap some photos. Anyone hankering for a snack will definitely want to stop at the Hamakua Harvest Farmers Market before continuing on to the cowboy town of Waimea. Up next are a pair of great beaches: Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island and Beach 69 is beloved by locals, so take your pick. Then you’ll arrive at the Kings Highway Foot Trail, where you’ll have the chance to see the ancient Waikoloa Petroglyphs. After that are another few scenic overlooks, followed by the beautiful Kekaha Kai State Park. Your tour concludes here, just north of where it began.

Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

4. Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

Explore Hawaii’s youngest and largest island and change the way you see the Big Island with this narrated, self-drive road trip. Visit historic sites, popular attractions, world-class beaches, and scenic hikes. Hear local stories, legends, and fun facts about the places you’re visiting and listen to unique Hawaiian music to entertain and relax you along the way. Drive across barren lava fields that are wedged between two active volcanoes. Visit a black sand beach and taste Hawaiian coffee and macadamia nuts on local farms. Be adventurous and go cliff diving or take advantage of the beautiful nature and take a scenic hike. See the tallest mountain in Hawaii at night for the ultimate stargazing experience. This adventure is great for families and solo travelers alike.

Kona: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tour

5. Kona: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tour

First travel south into Kona coffee country for the first stop at the Bay View Farm, a working 24-acre coffee farm nestled on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano, just above beautiful Kealakekua Bay. See the coffee beans growing on the trees and learn about the various steps and processes in making coffee, all of which happen right on the farm. Sample 100% Kona Coffee at a gorgeous overlook with stunning views of Kealakekua Bay and the monument to Captain Cook standing on the only sliver of British land in the United States. Continue the adventure as you head through the South Kona and Ka’u Districts. Enjoy the stunning views of the region, alternating between stark lava flows and the Hawaiian dry forest, which are visible through the huge picture windows of your tour vehicle. Stop briefly at Punalu’u Bake Shop, the southernmost bakery in America. Offering the finest time-honored Hawaiian sweetbreads since 1991, the Bake Shop offers an array of breads and cookies available for purchase. Shortly thereafter, arrive at picturesque Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Lined with swaying coconut palm trees, this is one of the best black sand beaches on the island. Stroll along the beach and look for honu (Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles) feeding just offshore, or sun-worshipping on the sand. Enjoy a picnic-style lunch here, weather permitting. Next, travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Volcano Art Center, and the famed Sulphur Banks. Take a hike out to Keanakako’i Crater and step over the sinkholes and cracks in the roads left behind by the historic 2018 eruption. Then make your way to Mauna Ulu, one of the most culturally important locations in the Park. Take a quick break at Volcano House, which has been welcoming guests such as Mark Twain and Jack London to Kilauea since 1864. At the end of an epic day, enjoy drop-off to your hotel.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Private Discovery Tour

6. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Private Discovery Tour

Set off on a full-day customizable adventure tour with hotel pickup. Meet your private guide and drive along the beautiful Kona coast to stop first at the famous Punalu‘u Bakery. See Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach before entering one of the most unique geological, biological and cultural landscapes on earth, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch and a 3-course dinner. Following hotel pickup, travel south along the Kona coast and take in breathtaking views of lush vegetation and pristine coastline. Listen to your guide describe the cultural history of the area as well as the local flora and fauna. Arrive at the southernmost bakery in the United States. Punalu‘u Bakery is world-renown for its sweet bread, malasadas (Portuguese fried dough), and other delicious treats. Enjoy a complimentary coffee or tea and choose a malasada before heading on to explore the most beautiful black sand beach on the island, Punalu‘u. Enjoy the relaxing feeling of black sand under your toes while listening to the wind move through the palms and across the water. Your guide will keep a look out for green sea turtles and endangered hawksbill sea turtles that frequent the beach. The iconic Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses the summit of 2 of the world’s most active volcanoes and extends from sea level up to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. You’ll spend the majority of your tour in the park taking in all the natural wonders. Explore the main attractions in the park including the Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Road, Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph field, as well as many other lesser-known locations. Enjoy a guided 2 to 3-mile hike and marvel at the incredible views of the current eruption inside Halema‘uma‘u Crater during the day and “the glow” at night. If there is no active lava flowing at the time of your tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to stargaze with a state-of-the-art Vaonis Stellina telescope. Sit for a 3-course dining experience sourced with local ingredients and Hawaiian-infused cuisine at a top-of-the-line Kilauea Lodge just outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Depart Volcano and head back to your place of lodging feeling happy, full, and filled with exciting new memories.

Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

7. Big Island: Volcanoes & Winery Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

See the best of Big Island, Hawai’i, on this guided tour. Visit active volcanoes at the National Park, watch sea turtles on Punalu’u beach, and stop at a coffee farm and winery for breakfast and lunch. Admire the 80 ft tall Rainbow Falls, and the beauty of the coastline at Hamakua, Kona, and Ka'u. Start your adventure with a pickup by van. Head into the Kona district, the heart of coffee country, to visit a mountain coffee farm. Sample a wide selection of Kona coffees and enjoy a continental breakfast while you look over the coast. Next stop is Punalu’u. Drop into the local bake shop to pick up some treats and continue to the black sand beach. The area is home to many turtles, including the endangered Hawksbill, and is where many of the first Polynesian explorers landed. Head inland to a winery and tea farm situated between two volcanoes. Sample unique wines grown at 4,000 feet of elevation and stop for a scenic lunch. Then, continue to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to admire the active volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Your final visit will be to Rainbow Falls, an 80 foot waterfall that plunges over the entrance to a natural lava cave. The Hawaiian goddess Hina, mother of Maui, is said to dwell in the cave, and on a sunny day, rainbows appear in the mist around it. Cruise back along the beautiful, lush coast of Hamakua and get dropped back at your starting point to end the day.

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What people are saying about Captain Cook, Hawaii

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 169 reviews

We loved going to the Captain Cook monument to snorkel! The experience was incredible! We’ve never seen a wild reef before and it was amazing! Bring a water proof camera or get a water proof case for your phone to take pictures. The only downside was we got back to the marina a whole hour early for some reason. It was like they weren’t keeping track of the time for us. We could have snorkeled longer. But this is a must-do on any Hawaii trip! You won’t regret it!

This was well worth it. As a solo traveler, I enjoy going at my own pace. I learned alot from the recordings. The gps is also on point.

It was a lot of fun. If you like water activities this activity will be one of the best one. You will have a lot of fun.

Head to the top deck for the best views and to be kissed by the Hawaiian sun! Don't forget your sunscreen...

The crew was great the small group allowed more opportunity to see more enjoyable experience