Despite the common perception of Hawaiʻi as a tropical getaway, some days are spent shrouded in gray clouds and intermittent showers, weather conditions that keep visitors and locals alike holed up indoors. But how do you keep your vacation going when the rain just won’t stop?
Like it or not, Hawaiʻi sees its fair share of rainy days, from mild passing showers to more torrential weather. But if you only have a few days in paradise, you can’t (and shouldn’t) spend every one of them waiting around for the skies to turn. Take advantage of the enjoyable and uniquely Hawaiian indoor activities offered around the Big Island, including some of our favorites below:
Learn about Hawaiʻi’s rich and unique history
Whether you’re spending time in Kailua-Kona or exploring Hilo town, you’ll have no problem finding indoor opportunities to learn about Hawaiʻi’s rich and complex history. If you’re cruising along Aliʻi Drive, stop at Huliheʻe Palace, constructed on land that was once home to Kamehameha the Great and once housed High Chief John Adams Kuakini. Take a guided tour at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. (if you’re traveling with more than 10 people, call the Palace in advance to schedule a tour), or experience tea time during the monthly Wilhelmina’s Tea. PC: HTA / Tor Johnson.
For those traveling in Hilo, visit the Pacific Tsunami Museum to learn about the impact of past tsunami events in Hawaiʻi. With the mission to ensure, through education and awareness, no one ever dies in Hawaiʻi at the hands of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Museum works to promote public tsunami education for both visitors as well as locals. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. PC: HTA / Daeja Fallas.
Take an experiential, hands-on tour
Ever gone on a beekeeping tour? If you’re exploring on the Big Island, then you can do just that! As the nation’s largest producer of organic honey, Big Island Bees in Kailua-Kona offers one-of-a-kind educational and experiential tours of bees and beehives. During an engaging open beehive demo, you’ll learn about bee behavior, the process of making honey and how bees operate. You can even sample raw, organic honeys and other specialty products! Tours are offered 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and noon. PC: Big Island Bees.
For a different kind of “sweet” experience, stop at Hawaiian Vanilla Company in Paʻauilo, where the company remains committed to cultivating the best vanilla in the world and providing the finest vanilla-related products. Affectionately known as “The Vanillery,” Hawaiian Vanilla Company offers a 1 p.m. Farm Tour, and a 12:30 p.m. Vanilla Experience Luncheon & Farm Tour, Mondays through Fridays. When opting for the luncheon, you can enjoy a delicious, vanilla-based lunch featuring dishes like the Vanilla Citrus Bourbon Chicken Sandwich and the Organic Salad topped with a Vanilla Raspberry Balsamic Dressing.
If you still haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth, you’ll want to make a special stop at Big Island Candies’ flagship factory location in Hilo. Open 365 days a year, Big Island Candies manufactures some of the island’s tastiest shortbreads, baked treats and chocolates, all of which are made and baked in the Hilo factory. From the delicious free samples of the tasty treats when you walk through the doors to the tempting displays of chocolates, cookies and brownies, Big Island Candies offers everything you need to have a “sweet” time. Drop by for a self-guided tour of factory operations!
Sample Kona Coffee
Of course, no trip to the Big Island is complete without sampling the world-famous Kona coffee blend! If a rainy day in paradise is getting you down, then start your morning at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, where you can explore the only living history coffee farm in the nation. If it’s too rainy to walk through the coffee trees, then visit the original 1920s farmhouse and “talk story” with the farm’s many living history interpreters. The farm is open to visitors 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, with a special “Hands On History” activity offered 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
If you’ve ever wanted to create your own private-reserve Kona coffee, then Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC) is the place to be! Located at the foot of Hualālai and just a 30 minute drive from Kona International Airport, UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate offers a unique opportunity to take an orchard walking tour then follow step-by-step instructions to custom roast a half-pound of Kona coffee green beans. You’ll leave with two bags of roasted coffee—marked with your personalized private label! Tours are offered 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; reservations requested. PC: Ueshima Coffee Co.
There are so many ways to transform a dreary, rainy day into a Hawaiian adventure you’ll never forget. Follow us on social media @ThisWeekHawaii for other inspiring ideas to kick-start your vacation! And when island hopping, don’t forget to check out activities and attractions on Oʻahu, Maui and Kauaʻi so you can make the most of your time in paradise!
For rainy day activities on our other islands, click one of the below links: