15 Best Things to Do in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Waikoloa Village, HI
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Sitting on the west side of the island of Hawaii is the census-designated place called Waikoloa Village.

Its location gives it the ideal climate for tourists who want to soak up the sun.

You can be sure of constant sunlight and humidity, perfect if you just want to stay on the beach all day.

Likewise, Waikoloa Village boasts diverse geography and terrain.

You can find vibrant color under blue-green tropical waters and lava rocks dotting the pristine coastline.

Besides beautiful beaches, Waikoloa also gives you a perfect view overlooking Waiulua Bay.

It’s not surprising, then, that Waikoloa Village has a lot of resorts that take advantage of the locale.

Likewise, it has several amenities and entertainment options if you just want to make your own fun.

The best time to visit the village is from late May to early October, so mark off your calendar.

Do you want to know more about Waikoloa Village, HI?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Soak Up the Sun at Anaeho’omalu Beach

Sunset at Anaeho’omalu Beach
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The family-friendly Anaeho’omalu Beach is perfect for families who want to spend the day soaking up the Hawaii sun.

Lay back under the shade of the tall palm trees, or enjoy a short stroll along the salt-and-pepper sand beach.

Then, take a swim to cool off.

Palm trees near Anaeho’omalu Beach shore
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You can also go snorkeling if you’re feeling adventurous.

When the sun goes down, bring your partner to watch the romantic sunset.

You’ll never run out of things to do at Anaeho’omalu Beach, or simply called A Bay.

Aerial view of Anaeho’omalu Beach
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Swim with the Dolphins with Dolphin Quest Hawaii

You can find this marine activity inside the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, one of the major resorts on Big Island.

Besides its world-class amenities, including a set of waterfalls, the resort offers guests a chance to swim with dolphins.

Hit up Dolphin Quest Hawaii if you want to try it yourself.

Dolphin Quest Hawaii features a pod of shallow-water dolphins living in an accurate recreation of their natural habitat.

Their pool is a lagoon filled with fish, algae, sand, and invertebrates; it even follows the tides.

Enter the lagoon via kayak as the sun rises, then ride the lagoon’s underwater scooters and wait for the dolphins to swim beside you.

Dolphin Quest Hawaii offers various packages, including one for families, kids, and toddlers.

You can also learn about how to take care of dolphins through their Marine Mammal Trainer for a Day package.

Explore Natural History at the Kalahuipua’a Fishponds

Waters of Kalahuipua’a Fishponds
troy mckaskle, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located at the Mauna Lani Resort, the Kalahuipua’a historic fishpond belongs to a group of ancient fishponds on the Kohala Coast of Big Island.

There are seven historic fishponds in all, and they continue to support fish to this day.

Out of the seven, the Kalahuipua’a pond is the largest, spanning 4.6 acres with a maximum depth of 18 feet.

The ali’i, or chiefs, oversaw these fishponds in the old days, catching the fish for consumption.

Freshwater springs flow into these ponds and mix with seawater to create the brackish water where fish live.

Ancient Hawaiians managed and modified the ponds to raise various fish species, including the mullet and milkfish.

Today, the historic ponds continue to thrive under similar management techniques.

Explore Unique Geography at the Waikoloa Anchialine Pond Preservation Area

Sign post of Anchialine Pond Preservation Area
Travis.Thurston, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You might only find this unique natural attraction in Hawaii, so pack your bags and visit the Waikoloa Anchialine Pond Preservation Area.

This area is also easily accessible; you don’t need to finish a grueling hike just to get there.

If you don’t know what anchialine ponds are, they are lava pools filled with brackish water.

Freshwater and seawater combine in these pools, creating a lively marine habitat.

Various small fish, red shrimp, mollusks, and crustaceans thrive here.

Exploring the preservation area also takes only five minutes, allowing you to take all the photos you need of the crevices, lava pools, and depressions.

The University of Hawaii manages the ponds for research and educational purposes.

Fishing, or feeding the fish, are prohibited here.

Wander amid the Wiliwili Trees of the Waikoloa Dry Forest

History is not just written in books, but you can also find it in nature.

Visit the Waikoloa Dry Forest if you want proof.

The forest features ancient wiliwili trees still standing tall amid Hawaii’s toughest terrains.

Several ages ago, these trees covered the driest sections of Hawaii, supporting all manner of wildlife.

A few of these wiliwili trees are roughly 300 years old.

In 2011, the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative began as a project to protect and restore the dry forests native to Hawaii.

Today, the group has preserved several of the remaining native trees in the region.

The forest offers guided tours and field trips for guests who want to learn more about Hawaii’s distinct ecosystem.

Become a Beach Bum at Mauna Lani Resort

Sunset reflecting on Mauna Lani Resort waters
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Seek refuge from the cold in the dazzling sun shining over the Mauna Lani Resort in Waikoloa Village.

This resort is one of the several high-quality resorts dotting the village.

Your family will surely enjoy this summer oasis along the gorgeous Kohala Coast, which generations of Hawaiian royalty have prized through the years.

Green sea turtle on Mauna Lani Resort
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Ride out on the water in the early morning and watch the sun climbing over the mountain peaks from the vantage of your outrigger canoe.

Hang out with fellow guests at the Great Lawn amid the gentle backdrop of ocean waves.

Then, indulge in savory Hawaiian fare inside the CanoeHouse.

If you still want to feel refreshed, take a dip in the cool crystalline waters, filling the same sea that enthralled the legendary King Kamehameha I and Francis H. I’i Brown.

Palm trees around Mauna Lani Resort
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Sample Authentic Hawaiian Cuisine at the Napua Restaurant

If you want to taste authentic Hawaiin cuisine, look no further than the Napua Restaurant, which you can find inside the Mauna Lani Beach Club.

The restaurant devotes itself to preparing meals only using local ingredients.

Likewise, they source ingredients from local fishermen, farmers, and ranchers to promote a sustainable lifestyle based on cooperation.

The family-owned restaurant prepares a full menu, covering lunch to keiki.

Their keiki menu includes burgers, fish, chicken tenders, and grilled cheese.

You can wash them down with different smoothie flavors, including banana and piña colada.

Walk on Black Sand at the 49 Black Sand Beach

There’s a volcanic bay sitting near the Mauna Lani Resort that holds the distinction of being the only black sand beach on the entire Kohala Coast.

If you ever get tired of visiting white-sand beaches, then the 49 Black Sand Beach should be next on your beach list.

Likewise, this beach is generally free of crowds, so you can have this beautiful beach to yourselves.

What turned the sand black?

During the 19th century, lava flowed from the slopes of Mauna Loa, around 50 miles away.

The lava pool cooled, and fine lava grains mixed with the sand, turning it black.

Besides the black sand, the 49 Black Sand Beach also has a sea cliff trail running along the bay’s rim.

Be careful, though, because there are a lot of sharp lava rocks along the trail.

You can also go snorkeling under the clear blue waters, so you can try spotting tropical fish, underwater rock formations, and tidepools.

Shop ‘til You Drop at Kings’ Shops

Tori richard store in Kings’ Shops
Alicekim53, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get a taste of luxury shopping at Waikoloa Village by dropping by the Kings’ Shops center.

You can find this shopping destination inside the Waikoloa Beach resort, right along the Kohala Coast.

During your visit, drop by a set of deluxe retailers like Michael Kors, Tori Richard, Tiffany & Co., and Tommy Bahama.

Then, bring your family to the center’s top-shelf restaurants such as A-Bay’s Island Grill, Foster’s Kitchen, and Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill by Chef Roy Yamaguchi.

The place is also just 20 minutes away from the Kona International Airport, so you can shop as soon as you land.

Discover the Ki’I Pohaku at the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve

The term ki’I pohaku translates to petroglyphs, or art literally carved in stone.

You can find these images at the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve, which is also one of Hawaii’s most accessible displays of rock art.

You can find the preserve at the historical division between the Kona and Kohala Ahupua’a (or districts).

Discover the history of Big Island on your petroglyph tour.

You’ll find various unique images, such as a warrior on horseback after making contact with Europeans.

Besides rock art, you’ll also find lava tube cave shelters along with interesting ruins.

Hiking to the preserve is also quite easy, more of a stroll, really.

Soar Over Hawaii with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

People aboard a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter
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If you ever want to tour Hawaii in style, visit Waikoloa and hit up Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

Since 1985, the company has led the helicopter tour industry, touring people all over Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island.

Their service carries the profound influence of the Aloha Spirit.

Side view of a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter
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As proof of the company’s excellence, the FAA has awarded the company with a “Certificate of Excellence – Diamond Award” every year since 1997.

The Waikoloa location of Blue Hawaiian takes you on an epic aerial adventure over the Big Island, spanning more than 4,000 miles.

Bring out your camera and take all the photos of the historic settlements at the Waipio Valley, tall sea cliffs, and the lava fields at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters lined up
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Since 1997, the family-owned Genesis Gallery has showcased works from more than 50 international and local artists.

The owners, John and Vera Kirkpatrick, display these works in two galleries inside the Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Round out your Waikoloa stay by visiting these galleries and marveling at the creativity on display.

During your visit, you’ll see fine jewelry, Island Fine Art Glass, and wood art.

You can also buy the paintings on display if one of them catches your eye.

Bring home Hawaii through brilliant art.

Follow the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

Crossing the Waikoloa Beach Resort, the Ala Kahakai (meaning “trail by the sea”) is an ancient pathway stretching 175 miles.

This National Historic Trail also runs along the coast and connects the sea and inland communities.

You can walk this path to visit temples, fishing locations, and other important areas on Big Island’s western coast.

Historically, the ancient trail was a footpath that followed the terrain and landscape, connecting with various mauka-makai trails.

The path is also linked to the original trail network that runs throughout the island.

During the late 1800s, the government built the curbed straight section that has acquired several names, such as the King’s Trail.

You can access this trail from the shore of Anaeho’omalu Bay.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Hapuna Beach State Park

Colorful flowers at Hapuna Beach State Park
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Drive 24 minutes from Waikoloa Village to Waimea, Hawaii, for this sensational summer getaway.

Follow the western coastline of the Kohala Coast and read the signs carefully to reach the Hapuna Beach State Park.

The state park has become a great hit for vacationers everywhere that it’s earned a reputation as one of Hawaii’s best beaches.

Likewise, it’s the largest white sand beach on the island.

How did the beach earn its reputation?

Aerial view of Hapuna Beach State Park
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For one, the Hapuna Beach State Park offers excellent swimming conditions no matter the time of year.

You can also go bodyboarding or go snorkeling.

If you just want to relax under the sun, then get some sunscreen.

Look far enough into the sea, and you might spot migrating whales on their journey.

Dip your toes in the warm waters of Hapuna Beach and make it a vacation to remember.

Aerial view of Hapuna Beach State Park's sand
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Explore the Deep Sea with Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures

This family-owned dive shop in Waimea offers you the chance to explore the deep waters and unspoiled reefs living in the waters off the Kohala Coast.

Enjoy a fun and safe dive with the Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures.

You’ll be in safe hands because they employ only fully PADI-certified divers and use high-end diving and snorkeling gear.

They also offer UV protection gear to protect yourself.

Everyone of all diving and snorkeling skill levels will enjoy a tour with the Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures.

You can also be sure of your privacy because they cater mainly to small groups, too.

Final Thoughts

Waikoloa Village should sit at the top of your summer destination lists.

It’s a magnificent location for summer adventures, from sunbathing and snorkeling to diving.

Likewise, you can even visit historic natural attractions.

The nearby towns will also round out your experience with their own hotspots.

Book your Waikoloa trip today!