Tag Archives: Big Island Family Activities

Big Island 4th of July Celebrations

Celebrating the 4th of July in Hawaii is a treat for the entire family. What better place to celebrate the birth of our nation than surrounded by the people you love in paradise? Your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point are the perfect location from which to branch out and participate in the many big island 4th of July celebrations. Here are a few of our favorite events:

4th of July Parade & Firework Extravaganza in Kona

Watch a beautiful fireworks display along Kailua-Kona town and Kailua Bay for a view you won’t forget. Catch the parade at 6pm (along Ali’I Drive), and then stay for the fireworks, which are set to start at 8pm.

Getting There: From your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point, turn right onto HI-19. Turn right onto Palani Rd, and, continue on to Ali’I Drive.

4th of July Fireworks & Events at Waikola Beach Resort

There are a couple different events taking place at Waikola Beach Resort. Head to the Kings’ Shops at 11am and you’ll find entertainment for your kids, live music, and food booth. You can also watch a rubber ducky race! Or, head to the Queens’ MarketPlace at 12pm to enjoy a carnival, live entertainment and music, and a fireworks show. Catch the fireworks show at the Waikola Bowl at 8pm – be sure to arrive by 5pm to hear the Tomi Isobe Blues Band and the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific.

Getting There: The Waikola Beach Resort is located right next door to your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. You are a less than 10 minute drive to participate in the fun events!

Turtle Independence Day Celebration

This truly special event provides a unique way to celebrate the 4th. Every Year, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalow releases young sea turtles (honu) that they have nurtured in their saltwater ponds. Watch the release of these beautiful creatures, and learn about them at the educational displays. This event takes place from 10:30 to 12pm, which leaves plenty of time in the evening to watch fireworks elsewhere.

Getting There: This event is held less than three miles from your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. You just need to head north up the coast to join in on the fun.

Parker Ranch 4th of July Rodeo and Horse Races

If you’d like to see some of Hawaii’s ranching roots, head to Parker Ranch for their 55th annual 4th of July rodeo and horse races. The rodeo is a celebration of the Hawaiian cowboy (called paniolo). The doors open at 7am, and the rodeo starts at 9am. Learn more about this event here.

Getting There: The Parker Ranch is located about 30 minute away from your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. Turn left out of the resort onto HI-19, and head towards Waimea. Turn right onto Pu’u opelu Rd and you’ve arrived!

Fireworks Blast and Celebrations at Hilo Bay

If you’d like to celebrate the 4th on the other side of Hawaii from where you’re staying, head to Hilo Bay. The Bayfront will be blocked off, and you and your family can enjoy cook-offs, games, music, food, and entertainment. The fireworks show starts at 8pm!

Getting There: The drive across the island takes less than 2 hours, and there are two different routes to consider.

Mauna Lani Point: Great Accommodations for Independence Day Celebrations

There are many different 4th of July celebrations across Hawaii. Mauna Lani Point is a great launching point for exploring the big island, and everything it has to offer. Why stay in a cramped hotel room when you can stay in a spacious condo located right off the beach? Learn more about the accommodations, and get your room booked!


Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Hawaii: Enjoy the Sun and Waves at Mauna Lani Point

Hawaii is the destination for adventurers from all over the world. Hawaii’s white, sandy beaches, dense rain forests, cascading waterfalls, and stunning ocean views are a veritable playground for people of all ages. One of the best activities to try during your stay at Mauna Lani Point is paddle boarding: There’s nothing quite like skimming above crystal-clear water, looking down on the wildlife below, and feeling the warm sun on your back. And, stand up paddle boarding in Hawaii is for everyone: It’s a great choice for beginners and the experienced alike. Here are a few tips for people looking to enjoy Hawaii on the water this year.

What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

You likely have heard of stand up paddle boarding: It has become very popular in the last 10 years, but has much older origins. No one knows when it originated: Ancient cultures have used canoes they propelled with paddles while standing up for many purposes – for battle, hunting, and transportation. Hawaii plays a role in its history as well. In 1778, when Captain James Cook first sailed to the Hawaiian Islands, he saw the first surfers – native Hawaiians surfed the waves, often using paddles to propel themselves forward. Today, people from all walks of life enjoy standing up on their board, and exploring the coves, inlets, and beaches of Hawaii.

Fun for All

Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world. This is likely because a), it is a ton of fun, b). it’s a great workout, and c). it’s easy to learn, so anyone can do it! The best part about paddle boarding is that you can get started easily. Everyone in the family can rent or share a board, and get out and enjoy the sun and waves.

SUP Rentals: Where to Go

There are many places where you can rent a stand up paddle board near your condo at Mauna Lani Point. One of our favorite rental options is Hilo SUP Rentals. They are located a 4-minute drive from your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. The local shop is owned by Jun and Sarah, and offers SUP rentals as well as lessons! For additional options, stop by our guest services desk to learn more.


Visit Pu’ukohola Heiau During Your Stay at Mauna Lani Point

Hawaii is a beautiful place. But, it is also an historical place. There aren’t many places in the world where you can watch sharks swim in the water over an ancient submerged temple – Hawaii is one of them. During your stay at Mauna Lani Point, we highly encourage you to take a trip to nearby Pu’ukohola Haiau, where you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the rich history of the island.

The History at Pu’ukohoala Heiau

Long before the time of King Kamehamaha I, the temple of Pu’ukohola Heiau was built. Today, its ruins are one of the last major ancient Hawaiian temples. The temple was built in 1790 to favor the war god Kūkaʻilimoku. Pu’ukohala Heiau means, “Temple on the Hill of the Whale.” It was built entirely by hand, and involved thousands of people in the building process. The building of the temple signaled the beginning of the unification of all the islands.

Things to See During Your Visit to Pu’ukohola Heiau

Pu’ukohola Heiau is truly a special place. You can see the temple, which is 224 by 100 feet, and surrounded by up to 20-ft walls around it. At the visitor’s center, you can enjoy a small museum, see historical exhibits, and watch videos that explain the history of the area. Additionally, there is a walking tour that allows you to see more sites in the area, including the homestead of John Young (a British sailor who was stranded there in 1790, and became a valuable aid to King Kamehameha I in the following years), and Mailekeini Heiau, which is much older temple, believed to have been built in the 1500’s. Our favorite spot to visit is Hale o Kapuni, which is a temple dedicated to the shark gods. It is completely submerged!

Getting to Pu’ukohola Heiau from Your Accommodations

Pu’ukohola Heiau is only a short, 15-minute drive from your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. Simply head north on HI-19 for about 6.5 miles, before turning left onto HI-270. Follow the signs for the historic site, and you’ll arrive in a few minutes. We hope you have a wonderful time during your visit to Pu’ukohola Heiau and your glimpse into ancient Hawaii!

Map to Pu’ukohola Heiau from Mauna Lani Point



Hawaii Island Hiking

HFT_BI HIKE_TSHawaii Island is heaven for hikers. Whether you’re looking for a challenging trail on fields of lava to short, scenic hikes through historic sites, you’ll find just what you’re looking for on Hawaii Island.

Most hiking adventures begin in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which offers more than 150-miles of trails. Stroll through Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube), take a day hike along Chain of Craters Road or walk over volcanic fields to witness the power of creation as lava flows into the sea in Kalapana. For the well-equipped and experienced backpackers, hike overnight in the park’s backcountry. See a ranger at the Kilauea Visitor Center to get trail information, maps and permits.

Other famous hikes can be found on the Kona Coast on the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, also known as the King’s Trail. This 175-mile trail weaves through hundreds of important cultural sites including sacred heiau (temples), Hawaiian fishponds, petroglyphs and other historic sites. You’ll also find a variety of other amazing hikes including the Pololu Valley Lookout in North Kohala which leads to a black sand beach and guided hikes into lush Waipio Valley, known as the Valley of Kings.

Always hike safely and make sure to take advantage of all safety tips and guidelines. When hiking on Hawaii Island, be sure to be prepared with these essentials:

– Good hiking shoes with tread
– Light pants to keep cool or shorts (but beware that you may get scratches from branches)
– Light shirt to keep cool
– Light rain jacket (especially if you are going into rainforests or valleys)
– Backpack with enough water, lunch and sunscreen (depending on length and intensity of hike)
– Mosquito repellent
– Cellphone

For longer, tougher hikes you may want to also include:
– Work gloves

– Sweater
– First Aid Kit
– Additional water and food
– Flashlight
– Compass
– Map

For safety reasons, DO NOT hike alone if at all possible, but if you must, make sure to tell someone where you are going. DO NOT drink water from freshwater ponds or streams you may encounter during your hike. Avoid entering streams or ponds with open cuts. Stick to the trail and follow trail head markers to avoid getting lost. With a little preparation, your hike on Hawaii Island will reap unforgettable rewards.





Thank you to our friends at Hawaii Visitors & Conventions Bureau for the content.


Explore Pu`ukohola Heiau History



There’s no denying that Classic Resorts at Mauna Lani is the best place to stay on the Big Island, with all of the luxury and space you may be tempted to never leave the resort – and we don’t blame you! But, we have to admit that the Big Island has some amazing historical locations that are a must see. Just a few miles up the road from Mauna Lani you will find Pu`ukohola Heiau, meaning “Temple on the Hill of the Whale”. Let’s explore some of Pu`ukohola Heiau history and we will give you some upcoming activities that are great for the whole family.


How many places in America can you walk in the footsteps of a king? Where else has a stranded sailor risen up to become a great chief over an entire island? Pu`ukohola Heiau of course!


Although there is some debate as to the precise year of Kamehameha I’s birth, Hawaiian legend claimed that a great king would one day unite the islands, and that the sign of his birth would be a comet. Halley’s Comet was visible from Hawaiʻi in 1758 and it is likely Kamehameha was born shortly after its appearance.


Around 1790 Kamehameha I rose into power and constructed Pu’ukohola Heiau. Heiau (temples) took on many forms from simple stone markers, to massive stone platforms associated with human sacrificial temples. Large heiau such as Pu’ukohola could only be accessed by the priests and chiefly classes.


One explanation for Kamehameha’s rise to power is based on the fulfillment of four prophecies that different kahuna (priests) decreed would change the course of history in Hawai’i. Each prophecy was directly related to Kamehameha either through his birth or his deeds. A different explanation for his rise to power is based on the political conflict on Hawai’i in the 1780s. It focuses on his uncles pushing Kamehameha I to the forefront in order to protect their own interests.


The end of the 1700s European explorers increased the number of visits to the Hawaiian Islands. With their trade ships, warships, cannon, and military experience, the foreigners were considered assets by the warring chiefs. Kamehameha was particularly astute on this point and took two young sailors captive, John Young and Isaac Davis. Young and Davis proved their courage and loyalty in battle and became close, trusted lieutenants to Kamehameha, aiding his rise to power. Their relationship lasted far beyond the battlefield and into everyday life, Young eventually becoming governor of the Big Island, and Davis of O’ahu.


John Young also handled the king’s business affairs with foreign traders. As a trusted advisor held in high esteem, the king granted him land at Kawaihae, adjoining Pu’ukohola, for a home. Young first built a small home near the beach below the heiau. Later, he built a larger compound just north of the heiau. His plaster-covered stone house was the first Western style structure in Hawai’i. John Young’s homestead is a part of Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site and is being protected and preserved for future generations.


Pu’ukohola Heiau was designated in 1928 when it was commemorated as a Historical Landmark by the Hawaiian Territorial Government. In the 1960s, the Queen Emma Foundation and the Queen’s Medical Center, the Waimea and other Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and the local community groups were instrumental in getting Pu’ukohola Heiau designated as a National Historic Landmark.


The Queen Emma Foundation donated 34 acres of land in 1972 encompassing Pu’ukohola Heiau and the John Young Homestead made it possible for the establishment of Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. Through an act of Congress on August 17, 1972, this site became one of the chosen few to be recognized as one of our nation’s crown jewels and national treasures, to be preserved and protected for future generations.


March Events

Coconut Leave Weaving

Join members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha for hands-on opportunities to learn how to weave various items out of coconut leaves (fish, small bowl, etc.).

March 17 10am -2pm


Whale Watches

Watch humpback whales with staff and volunteers from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA). Learn about these “Giants of the Sea” while watching them at Pu`ukohola…”the Hill of the Whale”! These whale watches take place just outside of the park’s Visitor Center.

March 22 & 29 9am-11am


Lei Making

Learn about the art of Hawaiian Lei Making through hands-on demonstrations.

March 22 & 29 9am-1pm

Contact Pu’ukohola Heiau at 808-882-7218 ext. 1011 for more information.



Article content provided by our friends at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site.




Discover the wonder of the Big Island’s volcanos


Did you know that Hawaii Island isn’t just big but it is still growing? The “youngest” island in the Hawaiian chain is the Island of Hawaii but it is also the largest – giving it the name “the Big Island”. The Big Island is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes – Kilauea. Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on earth and currently produces 250,000 – 650,000 cubic yards of lava per day enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road daily. As of January 1994, over 490 acres of new land has been created by Kilauea. The current eruption may last another 100 years or stop tomorrow. Pele, the volcano goddess who lives here, is very unpredictable. But the chance to watch Kilauea’s blistering lava flows meet the sea is just one of the reasons to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Founded in 1916, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses 333,000 acres from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea. Here you’ll find 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests as well as a museum, petroglyphs, a walk-in lava tube and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea which has been erupting since January 3rd, 1983. The extraordinary natural diversity of the park was recognized in 1980 when it was named a World Biosphere site by UNESCO and in 1987 when the park was again honored as a World Heritage site.

The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction make this park one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii and a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.

Some article copy provided by our friends at Hawaii Tourism Authority


Tour Hawaii, The Big Island with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Take flight with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and tour the most geologically active environment on earth, Kilauea volcano!  View lava flows, black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, cascading waterfalls while learning about the history and culture of Hawaii.  Located approximately one mile from the Mauna Lani Resort, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters makes it is easy to experience the Big Island’s beauty and its volcanic fury.




Taste of Hawaiian Range & Agricultural Festival

This 16th annual event brings together ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and foodies to celebrate the bounty of locally produced food.  Stroll around as you meet Hawaii’s food producers and taste dazzling diners by some of the states top chefs.  Enjoy a “Cooking Grass-Fed Beef 101” seminar with KTA’s Derek Kurisu, host of TV’s “Living in Paradise.”

Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Come and taste the Hawaiian range on Friday, September 30, 2011 from 6pm – 8pm.  “Cooking Grass-Fed Beef 101” seminar will be at 3pm.  Located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.  Cost is $40 per person for pre-sale tickets or $60 at the door.  For pre-sale tickets click here.

For more information about this and other exciting Hawaii activities contact our activities specialist at (808) 885-5022.


Banana Mango Smoothie Recipe

Summer is right around the corner and we thought it would be a good time to make a nice healthy smoothie the whole family can enjoy.   Mauna Lani Point villas and The Islands at Mauna Lani townhomes offer fully equipped kitchens that make it easy to enjoy fresh local produce.  This smoothie we found on gohawaii.about.com uses ripe bananas and mangos – two of Hawaii’s abundant fruits.  Enjoy!


  • 4-6 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or coconut milk (depending on personal choice)


Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
Serve in a tall glass.


Coffee Fest Celebrates Steaming Awards for Ka’u

Celebrate with Ka`u Coffee Growers during the third annual Ka’O Coffee Festival Ho’olaule’a on Saturday,  May 14, 2011 at Pāhala Community Center.  Offering local foods, culture and visits to coffee farms. Sample some of the world’s finest coffee and taste entries in the Ka‘ū Coffee Recipe Contest.

Big Island Coffee

Join the Celebration with farmer Bull Kailiawa, whose coffee took first in Hawai‘i and the U.S.A. in the Specialty Coffee Association’s and Roasters Guild International Coffees of the Year competition.  The honor marks the fifth straight year Ka‘ū Coffee is recognized as one of the top coffees in the world.  Kailiawa and the other two growers who have won this award are neighboring farmers in Moa‘ula on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano.  They are all former sugar workers who went into coffee after the Ka‘ū plantation and mill shut down in 1996.

Ka'u Coffee Growers
Also attending is Farmer Lorie Obra and her Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka‘ū Coffee.  The Obra family helped Pete Licata of Honolulu Coffee Co. achieve first place in the annual United States Barista Championship following his Western Region win.

Headline entertainment will be One Journey, the songwriting and performing band from one of the smallest high schools in the Islands, who won the statewide Brown Bags to Stardom talent contest on April 23 in Honolulu.  One Journey sold out its album, is ranked in the top six in the Brown Bags music video awards competition to be decided in June.

Reigning over the Ka’u Coffee Festival will be with Miss Ka‘ū Coffee Brandy Shibuya, who won her title April 23 at the annual Miss Ka‘ū Coffee Pageant, along with Young Miss Ka‘ū Coffee Dayse Meleani Andrade and Miss Ka‘ū Peaberry Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa-Escobar.  The trio and their courts represented Ka‘ū in the recent Merrie Monarch Parade.

Festival admission on Saturday is free, taste of Ka‘ū Coffee on Saturday is $5, and Farm tours are $10 throughout the day.

Ka'o Coffee Recipe Contest
The May 15th Ka‘ū Coffee College is also a tradition, featuring classes from coffee marketers, processors and tasting experts.   Coffee farmers invite everyone to visit their farms to learn about the process of producing outstanding coffees, with another day of farm tours.   Starting at 9am at Pāhala Community Center.

For more information about this and other exciting activities contact our activities specialist at (808) 885-5022.