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Must-See Museums on the Big Island of Hawaii

Must-See Museums on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island boasts diverse museums, which range from living history exhibits and science centers to museums dedicated to Hawaii’s cultural history. Here are some of the top museums on the Big Island.

Hulihe’e Palace

Formerly the residence of Hawaiian royalty, today Hulihe’e Palace showcases historic artifacts and personal memorabilia from Hawaii’s royal past. Highlights include King Kamehameha’s giant spears, royal busts, koa wood furniture, kappa (bark) cloth, and original Hawaiian bed frames and quilts.

How to Visit: Visitors can explore independently or opt for a docent-led tour. Several sightseeing tours stop here, including tours of the Kona area by bike and Segway.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm

The history of Kona coffee comes to life at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook, the only living history coffee museum in the country. Visit an original 1920s farmhouse, see how coffee was processed, and experience the daily life of farmers through costumed interpreters. Don’t forget to try some of the farm’s coffee.

How to Visit: Open Monday through Friday, most visitors experience the farm on self-guided tours, though fully-guided tours are sometimes available.

Lyman Museum and Mission House

Learn about the history of Hawaii and its people at the Lyman Museum and Mission House. The museum features interactive exhibits, original furniture, tools, personal memorabilia, and over 25,000 historic documents and photos.

How to Visit: Visitors can explore the museum on their own, but the Mission House can be viewed by guided tour only, which are available twice daily from Monday through Saturday.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

Explore the connection between Hawaiian cultural traditions and astronomy at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. The center offers interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, education and cultural programs, and special events throughout the year.

How to Visit: Visit independently or as part of a full-day sightseeing tour of Big Island highlights, which include Mauna Kea, Volcano National Park, and Rainbow Falls.

Parker Ranch Historic Homes

Learn about paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys), and their role in the island’s history and development, at Parker Ranch, one of the oldest and largest ranches in the country. Explore the ranch and explore Puu Opelu and Mana Hale, two historic homes filled with heirlooms and artwork.

How to Visit: The homes can be visited on a self-guided tour, which includes a short film. Many island sightseeing tours combine the museum with other Big Island highlights such as waterfalls and volcanoes. Horseback and ATV tours are also available.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Kona Walking Food Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Kona Walking Food Tour

star-5
19
The only Walking Food Tour in Kona! Experience the best restaurants in Kona, some of which were featured on the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives! Kona is a foodie paradise, immerse yourself in the Kona food scene, with at least 6 stops at restaurants on beautiful Ali'i Drive. Each restaurant will be serving a delicious dish that will delight your senses. The focus is on local, fresh ingredients, with an emphasis on the fresh fish that Kona is known for. Enjoy wonderful wine and cocktail pairings with your food, featuring Hawaiian cocktails and superb wine. This is a "local" experience, and will give you great ideas for restaurants to visit during your time in Kona. In addition to tasting fabulous food and drinks, you will also get great information about Kona's fascinating history and learn about the Kona restaurant scene. Your knowledgable guides will inform and entertain! Tour covers at least 1 mile at slow pace. Tour operates rain or shine, meet at Kona Pier under the Green Tents.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$119.00
From
$119.00

Kona Tour: Coffee Plantation, Kealakekua Bay, Kaloko-Honokohau Park, and Bee Farm
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Kona Tour: Coffee Plantation, Kealakekua Bay, Kaloko-Honokohau Park, and Bee Farm

star-4.5
60
There’s much more to the Big Island of Hawaii than volcanoes, waterfalls and luaus, and on this informative tour of the South Kona region, you’ll learn the sacred history of this shoreline and sample the local honey and famous Kona coffee. With the help of a knowledgeable guide, you’ll visit petroglyphs, look for green sea turtles and visit sacred Hawaiian temples. Even better: you'll hear the legends, mythology and lore of ancient Hawaii through today. This tour is capped at 15 people, so you’re ensured a personalized experience.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$145.55
From
$145.55

Big Island - South Island Coastal Loop Driving Tour

Big Island - South Island Coastal Loop Driving Tour

star-4.5
10
Come with us as we explore the fascinating volcanic landscape looping around the southern coast of the Big Island! Shaka Guide is your perfect companion with turn-by-turn directions, information on what to do & see, and a truckload of interesting stories and Hawaiian legends of this amazing island! Skip the tour bus & explore Big Island at your own pace for a fraction of the cost with the best self-guided audio GPS tours for Hawaii! Rated the #1 best GPS tour app for Hawaii with over 6,000+ raving reviews and 200,000+ downloads. Why you need it: ✅ You don't need service because you can download the tours & use them offline ✅ Much cheaper than a tour bus at only $9.99 for lifetime access ✅ Save time planning your trip because we have the best stops lined up ✅ Freedom to stop and go as you please, unlike a tour bus where you are confined to the pre-determined route (no fun!) ✅ Hear cool and fun stories along the way (and some corny joke's that might make you laugh)
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  • 2 days
From
$14.99
per group
From
$14.99
per group

Kona Shore Excursion: Lava Tubes, Waterfalls & Parker Ranch

Kona Shore Excursion: Lava Tubes, Waterfalls & Parker Ranch

star-4
6
Make the most of your time on land on this guided Kona shore excursion timed to your ship's arrival and departure. Skip the worry of getting around as you travel in a small group along the northern edge of Hawaii's Big Island. Go from hot, dry Kona to lush, tropical rainforest, and through Parker Ranch (once the biggest ranch in the United States). Visit old cowboy towns, see two volcanoes, and visit Akaka and Kahuna Falls, two of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$169.00
From
$169.00