The 9 Best Places to Watch the Sunset on the Big Island
If you’re planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, you might be looking for the best places to watch the sunset.
There are so many great places on this island that it can be hard to decide which one is the best. You’ll want to make sure that your vacation includes a few nights watching these beautiful sunsets.
In no particular order, here are nine great places to enjoy amazing sunset views on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have also included a bonus option at the end. All of these have stunning views and are easily accessible.
Our top choices: Mauna Kea, Kailua-Kona Bay, Hapuna Beach State Park, Spencer Beach Park, Kealakekua Bay, Fairmont Orchid, Puna Coast Trail, Anaeho’omalu Bay, and Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farm
Feel free to skip around to the sections you are most interested in. This post has been organized into sections to make it easy to navigate.
Big Island Sunset Frequently Asked Questions
Which side of the big island does the sun set?
The sun sets on the west side of the island. If you stay near the Kona side, you are in luck and will have lots of opportunities to watch the sunset.
The Kona side is considered the dry side, and this is where most tourists decide to stay while vacationing on this island.
Where is the better weather on the big island?
The island’s west side (Kona side) gets less rain than the east side (Hilo side). This is part of the reason why many tourists choose to stay on the west side.
I recently visited the Big Island and stayed on both the Kona and Hilo sides, and I highly recommend both. Yes, it rained more in Hilo, but it wasn’t anything out of control.
The good news is that even though it rains a lot in Hilo, there are usually breaks in the rain where you can soak up some sun!
What should you not miss on the Big Island?
There is so much to do on the Big Island that it’s tough to list everything in one post. I will list a few options below, but be sure to check out some of my other Hawaii articles for more information.
Here are a few of my favorite things to do on the Island of Hawaii:
Watch the Sunset: It’s so beautiful and picturesque watching the sunset while sitting on a beach or viewing from a lookout point. Make sure you plan enough time to experience it!
Watching sunsets is a free activity, and it’s a big win for many budget travelers as a trip to Hawaii can get expensive. Finding free or cheap activities is how many of us can afford to travel.
Watch the Sunrise – Bring a camera for this one because you don’t want to miss it. You’ll have the opportunity to see the sun slowly rise from behind the mountain as its rays shine through a glorious sight!
Visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: This park is home to some of the most amazing views you will ever see. The steam rising from the earth and fume emitting from volcanic rocks add a distinctive feel to this national park.
Walk along one of the many black sand beaches on the Big Island– There are so many different kinds of beaches on this island, but none are more unique than the black sand beaches.
Big Island Sunset Tour
If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, then a tour is the way to go. I highly recommend the Mauna Kea Sunset Tour. This tour company offers a fantastic and memorable experience.
The trip starts mid-afternoon, and the pickup location is on one of their central locations in Kailua Kona, The Queen’s Marketplace, or the Mauna Kea Country Recreation Area.
On the way to the summit, you will learn about the island’s geography, natural history, geology, and much more.
For more information on Mauna Kea’s sunset tours, please visit their website.
Top places to watch the sunset on the Big Island
Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on the Island of Hawaii, towering over 13,800 feet above sea level with an excellent sunset view. Mauna Kea is also the tallest mountain in the entire world when measured from the bottom of the ocean floor.
The sunsets at Mauna Kea are stunning. You can see for miles from this vantage point and the view is out of this world.
The advantage of Mauna Kea as a place to watch the sunset is that it gives an unobstructed view of the horizon in all directions.
Mauna Kea is a perfect vantage point for sunsets because it’s higher than other points on the island, so it gives you an even more panoramic view of the sunset that seems to go on forever.
Please note that you will need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to drive to the top of the mountain (past the visitor center), so plan accordingly. To learn more about visiting the summit you can click the above link.
Also, give yourself enough time as you will need to acclimate for about 30 minutes at the visitor center before driving to the summit.
Mauna Kea is by far one of the most amazing places I have ever watched a sunset. Also, if you love to stargaze, you can do so at Mauna Kea as well. We watched the sunset at the summit and had to leave the top by 7:30 PM.
We drove down to a lower point to stargaze, and it was one of the most magical things I have ever done. Since Hawaii is very anti light pollution, the stars are extremely visible. You can even see the Milky Way! Make sure to add this to your itinerary.
You can’t go wrong with choosing to watch the sunset anywhere near the Kailua Kona Bay. There are so many great vantage points that you will have to choose from.
The best thing about watching the sunset on Kona Bay is that it’s close to downtown Kailua-Kona. After you’re done enjoying this breathtaking experience, there are plenty of shops and restaurants at your disposal right in the area for a nice post-sunset dinner or drink.
Hapuna Beach State Park
Hapuna Beach State Park is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. It’s well known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, making it a great place to spend the day.
The thing I like most about Hapuna Beach is that there are lots of different places nearby. There are several vantage points in the state park where you can enjoy the sunset.
This is one of the best beaches in Hawaii so be sure to check it out.
Spencer Beach Park
Spencer Beach is another excellent place to watch the sunset. It’s located on the Kohala coast, which was formed by volcanic eruptions over 100,000 years ago.
The Kohala coastline of Kona is well known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Hawaii. The sunsets here are amazing; there are beautiful mountains to watch the sun go down into beside the spectacular ocean.
This is a great place to watch the sunset if you’re looking for something not too busy, but still an incredible view.
Watching the sunset at Kealakekua Bay is truly a fantastic experience. This place provides a view of the sunset that you can’t find in a lot of places.
Watching the sunset at Kealakekua Bay is so worthwhile because it’s located very close to Captain Cook Monument. This monument was built in 1878 for British explorer James Cook, who was killed here in 1779.
The bay itself is home to lots of wildlife such as humpback whales and spinner dolphins, so you’re also able to watch the sunset with these beautiful animals. If you’re lucky enough to see any, this can make it even more worthwhile.
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii
The Fairmont Orchid is an elegant resort with beautiful grounds and lots of amenities. It’s one of the best places to stay while on the Big Island.
I love watching sunsets from this luxury hotel because it’s located on one of the best beaches in Hawaii. This is one place where you can sit back, relax, and watch the sunset with a beautiful view of the ocean in the background.
Puna Coast Trail
Puna Coast Trail is a great place to watch the sunset if you’re looking for something more natural.
The trail itself is about 20 miles long and goes along the coastline of Puna.
Because this trail is located in an area where there are very few people, you get to experience the beauty of nature in its purest form.
Anaeho’omalu Bay is great for watching the sunset over the ocean. This is a crescent-shaped beach located in Waikoloa.
The views from Anaeho’omalu Bay are spectacular and unlike anything, I have ever seen. This beach is a popular place for water sports such as canoeing and kayaking. I highly recommend visiting here during the day as well to enjoy all that Anaeho’omalu has to offer.
Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farm
Watching the sunset from Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farm is a lovely experience. This coffee farm is located in Kealakekua, Hawaii, which means you can easily combine it with another activity such as going to Captain Cook Monument or Kealakekua Bay.
The sunset here is beautiful because of all the lush green fields that make up this coffee farm. This place has lots of open spaces, which allows you to enjoy the vista in front of you.
Highway 163 Sunset (Bonus Option)
While driving from Hilo back to Kona, we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen. The colors were vibrant, and the sky lit up brightly against the darkness of night. I suddenly felt closer to nature than ever before.
The sunsets here are something else – they make me feel like this is where my soul belongs. We drove for about 20 minutes down the mountain, watching the ever-changing sunset along the way.
To Wrap it up
I hope the information in this post has helped you find a good sunset spot on the Big Island!
There are so many beautiful places to watch the sunset, and as long as you’re willing to explore there is plenty of opportunity for adventure. In addition to my recommendations above, feel free to share any other favorite places that I missed below! Happy sunsets from Hawaii!!
The 7 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise on the Big Island
Hilo vs Kona: Which side should you chose?