Fun Things for Teens To Do on the Big Island

Are you bringing a teen with you to Hawaii Island and want to know what they may enjoy doing from a local’s stand point? I created this post with the help of my 14 year old son who has been home for 11 days now on Spring Break. We share some of the paid adventures and some of the local things to do that get him out of the house and off of his phone.

ZipLine Tours: 

Teen says, “Loved flying over the valleys like a bird! I got a rush of adrenaline throwing myself off of the platforms and sometimes hanging upside down”.
We have done the Kohala zip and the two near Hilo and the teen says he enjoyed all of them equally. He says that the Eco Zipline tour had the most challenging and thrilling runs, so if you are not afraid of heights and enjoy tall towers to jump from, that is the one.  I really liked this one, too and the owners have donated to my charity events with Habitat for Humanity, so if you go, let them know 365Kona sent you and you appreciate their community give back.

Teens LOVE Flumin Kohala.

It is not cheap, but you cannot do that tour many places in the world, and the kids can get some local history and culture, too. My son and I did it with a school group tour and the guides are young and funny and get the kids out splashing and singing and such.
My teen says, “It was a fun experience of learning, paddling, and seeing the cool flumes created by Japanese workers. Going to the nearby local store for snacks afterwards was bonus.”

Swimming with Manta rays

Another “only in Kona” experience.  I have enjoyed this experience down at Keahole Point, instead of Keauhou Bay, but its a long trip in the dark and if anyone is prone to sea sickness, it can be a bit of an adventure.  Splashers Ocean Adventures offers all kinds of ocean adventures and does the manta ray experience for only $99.  You can rent a private Zodiak boat for your family and go anywhere you want for only $300!
(These guys are looking for people to recommend them. Tell them 365Kona sent you and you will be reporting back out..;)

Go For a Ride!

If you are staying up in Waikoloa Village, there is a new activity to try out with your fun loving teen. Rent a three wheeled “sling shot” buggy from Polaris Adventures Hawai.
You can check out many sights along the Kohala Coast and even take it up to Akaka Falls. They have itineraries you can check out on their site of fun places to go, Rent for a few hours, half a day or the whole day.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Millions of visitors can not be wrong, right? Sure, there is no lava right now, but it’s an ecologic wonder and again, something the teens can learn facts about geology, volcanology and see primordial ferns and see active steam vents. They can also see the damage of the eruption we experienced in 2018, because seeing a road cracked down the middle is cool! (See photo)
The Kilauea Iki trail is one I have done with school groups quite a few times, so it works for third graders to high schoolers. About a four mile round trip hike down into the caldera within the park.
If your teen loves to skateboard and is feeling a bit cranky about hiking, you can surprise them with a trip to JJ Volcano Skatepark in nearby Mountain View.  Free and there is a park for smaller kids to enjoy while the older kids get their skate on.
Instagram Extra: On the way to the National Park, if you are heading out of Kona on Highway 11, you can swing by Punuluu Black Sand beach and see the sea turtles. My teen daughter and her friends love to be photographed on the beach. (Not saying that bikini photo shoots are a parents goal for their kids, but this is one place that gets some super iconic insta photos)
You can also surprise the kids with some local knowledge, too-there is an abandoned hotel back behind the beach and you can wander around in there..creepy, weird and something out of a movie set. The jungle is taking it over. The building was hit with a tsunami in 1975 when a portion of the island fell away and caused an immediate tidal wave back onto the beach. There is a bridge that goes over to the hotel and crosses a swamp..seriously..teens love it.

Kailua Kona Fun

In Kona, you can go to the new Fun Factory in the Kona Coast Shopping Center. Fun Factory touts itself as a family entertainment center with a variety of video and redemption games. There is also a similar arcade experience and bowling at KB Xtreme about a 1/2  mile away in the Lanihau Shopping Center. These are options if swimming in the ocean or being out in the heat of mid-day are not happy options for your teens.
Teens also enjoy getting a henna tattoo, which can be done at the Kona Inn Shopping Center right in Kailua Village. The good news, that unlike a real tattoo, which I got in the Village and still want to fix, whatever they put on their bodies fades after a few days! The Kona Henna studio specializes in tribal art designs and mandalas, so teens can adorn themselves for cool Hawaii photos.
There are a variety of cute shops in that mall and around the downtown area are a few boutiques that my 17 year old likes to stroll around with her friends to search for clothes and hair adornments.
For food, we take our teen weekly to Bianelli’s pizza at the Keauhou Shopping Center, which also boasts free cultural entertainment on Friday nights. They have a great little bookstore, too, so you can have a family fun evening with everyone getting a little something they enjoy in one place! And don’t forget shave ice! What teen does not love a big, fluffy, juicy treat? Check out Scandinavian Shave Ice in Kailua Village..they have little cut outs you can take photos with for the smalls and the teens, again, love this place for the Insta photos!
For more advice, with links and such, email [email protected] for a Teen Guide To West Hawaii!

Photo by Caylin J Photography

Sunset Family Photo Session

The resorts offer photography services for family portraits to capture the memory of your vacation. If you would like to have a photo session on the beach around Kailua Kona, I suggest hiring an affordable family portrait photographer, Caylin. J Photography.   ($125 per session with 10 professionally edited photos)

(Disclosure..Caylin is my daughter and is a VERY talented photographer! Check out her website. If your teen daughter would like a styled photo session, Caylin can provide clothing and props, too! )
For more fun things to do, check out our 365 Adventure Channel on YouTube and subscribe! We are building that channel up to include the “live action” of great things to do on our island.

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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