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If you’re headed to the Big Island, there’s more to see than beaches and volcanoes. While those are beautiful, take yourself off the beaten path and explore the Big Island farms.
From famed Kona coffee to octopus to gourmet honey, try something new on your trip to the Big Island!
And watch a video of a few of our different Big Island farm experiences:
Animal Farm Tours
Kanaloa Octopus Farm Tour
Tour length: 1 hour
This is quite possibly the most unique farm tour experience we’ve been on. But to call it a farm is a little misleading — it’s a research center aiming to help repopulate the octopus population. And this is a hands-on experience.
After a quick presentation about their research initiatives, it’s off to the observation tanks. There is one octopus in each tank and there are plenty of tanks so there is no need to crowd around or worry about not getting a chance to see the octopus.
Head to one of their many tanks to reach into the water and attempt to coax the octopus into playing with you. Some choose to not engage, but others come out quickly, wrapping themselves around your arm and/or the toy that you are waving in the water. It’s thrilling. About four people can share a tank with an engaged octopus.
After that, it’s on to feeding time and you offer the octopus crab meat, which they most happily enjoy.
You get plenty of hands-on time for the hour that you’re on the tour. We learned so much about octopuses and had a wonderful time on this farm tour.
Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Tour
Tour length: 90 minutes
Nearby the Octopus farm tour is the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. Here, they focus on providing home and public aquariums with eco-friendly, hand-raised, domesticated seahorse pairs to help alleviate overfishing of the wild population.
The farm is family run and they breed over 25 different species of seahorses. On this very informative tour, they focus on teaching you about seahorses and their ecosystem.
While the hands-on portion of the tour is limited, at the end of the tour you’re able to have a seahorse swim over to you and latch onto your finger, which is a pretty amazing moment. While this is a great tour, very small children may not enjoy listening during the purely informative portion of the tour (which is approximately 1 hour).
Honomu Goat Farm
Location: Honomu (approximately 20 minutes north of Hilo)
This charming goat farm near Akaka Falls is well worth a stop, especially if you have kids! This isn’t a farm tour that you need to book in advance. Reservations are not required and there is no fee to play with the sweet goats! There is food for purchase to feed the goats and caramels and cheese available for purchase for you.
During bad weather, they do close the baby goat play yard, but you can call ahead to make sure they’re open for a visit!
Big Island Bees
Location: Captain Cook
Tour length: 1 hour
If you love honey, Big Island Bees is a fascinating and delicious stop in Kona coffee country. The 1-hour tour starts with a short movie that gives you an overview of production, from flower to jar. From there, your beekeeper guide will lead you to the bee hives to teach you everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about bees and honey. Our tour guide Joe was not only extremely knowledgeable but fun to listen to. He explained how bees produce different-tasting honey, showed us how to find the queen bee, and kept us all entertained.
To close out the tour, you’ll taste six different types of honey. When tasting them back to back you can absolutely tell the difference in flavors and we were able to each clearly find our favorite.
They also have a charming store with gift-worthy gourmet honey and honey products that you can stock up on for yourself or take back home to give to friends.
This tour is fun for all ages. We took our four-year-old as well as the grandparents, and everyone had a fantastic time.
Produce Farm Tours
Tour length: 1 hour
If you are a food enthusiast, a trip to the Vanillerie vanilla farm is well worth a stop. Take a walk through the different greenhouses full of vanilla orchid to learn how vanilla is grown and all of the work that goes into growing just one vanilla bean. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their farm and producing high-quality vanilla.
At the end of the tour, you get to enjoy a serving of vanilla ice cream (delicious!) and visit their gift shop where they sell a number of different things, including a vanilla extraction kit. Even if you can’t make a tour, a trip to their gift shop before your flight is worth the stop.
Big Island Farms
Tour length: 1 hour
Taste fresh fruit and learn about regenerative design concepts on this privately guided farm tour. Big Island Farms is a 64-acre farm just 5 miles from Honokaa and is home to over 200 species of edible and medicinal plants (including macadamia nuts!).
During your tour, you’ll be able to walk the farm with your guide, sample fresh fruit directly off the trees, and ask any questions that you have about farming practices and growing produce in Hawaii. You may even pick up some tips to take back to your home garden.
This private tour is great for all ages, so bring your kids and enjoy!
Honokaa Chocolate Tour
Tour length: 2 hours
Visit this chocolate farm and learn about the process of going from bean to bar. Hawaii is the only state in the US where cacao trees can be grown fruitfully, so this is a must-see for a chocolate enthusiast.
See a cacao tree and pods up close and taste a variety of different forms of chocolate: cacao bean, chocolate nibs, cacao tea, and different varieties of the finished processed product. You’ll learn a lot on this tour about the history of chocolate in Hawaii and how good quality chocolate is farmed and made.
The tour runs for a total of two hours, with 45 minutes spent on a thorough chocolate tasting. This isn’t a tour for children and is catered to guests ages 10 and over.
Beverage Farm Tours
Tour length: 1 – 2 hours
If you’re visiting the island of Hawaii, a trip to a coffee farm is likely on your list. The world-renowned Kona coffee country produces some of the best coffee in the world. There are plenty of coffee farms to visit, but our trip to Monarch Coffee stood out.
This boutique coffee farm offers two different ways to experience and learn about the coffee growing process. The first is a walking estate tour followed by a coffee tasting experience. We enjoyed a full tour of the farm while we followed the process from bean to cup, getting beautiful views of the Pacific as we explored the farm. For coffee enthusiasts who want an even deeper experience, they offer a private roasting experience in addition to the walking tour and tasting.
While there are plenty of free tours that we love, this paid tour on the family farm is in-depth and well worth the price.
Check out a list of all of our favorite coffee farm tours on the Big Island.
Mauna Kea Tea
Tour length: 2 hours
The Big Island isn’t a place just for coffee enthusiasts. If you’re a tea drinker, you’ll find a tour suited to your taste. Join a tour at Mauna Kea Tea and learn how it is grown and harvested, and then how the tea leaves are turned into refined tea.
Enjoy a privately guided tour through the beautiful landscape and then finish your tour with a premium tea ceremony. During the ceremony, they’ll help guide you through new ways to appreciate and experience tea. And when you book your tour, you can include notes about your current level of tea experience, so the tour guide is able to tailor the experience to meet you where you are.
If you’re looking for more things to do on the Big Island (I’m sure you are), then check out our Big Island Wayfinder Itinerary. With five fully planned excursion days around the island, you won’t run out of things to do or where to eat.