Hawaii Big Island Vacations
The island of Hawaii is better known as The Big Island to differentiate it from the state name. The Big Island is larger than all of the other islands put together.
Two of the worlds largest mountains, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, are found on the Big Island along with Kilauea, the world's most active volcano. The Big Island is the only Hawaiian Island that still has volcanic activity.
What Can I Do On The Big Island?
There are a multitude of excellent swimming beaches but a visit the black sand beaches of Kahena Beach and Punaluu Beach are a must, as is the green sand beach of Puu Mahana.
Hapuna Beach is a favorite and falls into the category of the tourists classic version of what a Hawaiian beach should look like. Surfing enthusiasts will be drawn to the Hilo Surfboard Company to see their large selection of surfboards across the ages.
Snorkel the waters of Kealakekua Bay, where a monument marks the spot where Captain Cook was killed in 1779, as well as the Kapoho Tide pools. Kahalu'u Beach Park, Honaunau and Hookena Beach Park are popular snorkeling spots on the southwest side of the island. Hawaii is home to some of the world's most spectacular golf courses.
A must for scuba divers are the night dives off the Kona coast to view giant manta rays feeding in about 30 feet (9 metres) of water. Sea turtles, dolphins and colorful fish are commonplace on dives out of Kona and Hilo, with the clearer water on the Kona side.
Take a drive around the rim of the massive Kilauea volcanic crater. The Chain of Craters road will provide views of active lava flows across the highway and into the ocean. Visitors staying on the Kona side of the island, and wanting to see the volcano flows, should plan on a night in Hilo since the round trip drive will take about 9 hours. A helicopter flight over the volcano's may be a suitable alternative.
Hike with experienced guides through the Kula Kai Caverns located near South Point, the timeless beauty of the Waipio Valley, "The Valley of the Kings", the short hike to the Akaka Falls as well as hikes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Moana Kea is home to the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, but at a height of 9,300 feet above sea level, it may not be suitable for younger children or adults with breathing problems. View the stars at the International Astronomy Center or visit the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii located in Hilo. During the winter months, play in the snow at the top of Moana Kea and swim at one of the beaches, all in the same day.
What Accommodation Will I Find On The Big Island?
Many of the top hotels, luxury resorts and condominiums are located on the Kohala coast on the western side of the island. On the eastern Hilo side, visitors will find hotels of all sizes as well as small, charming inns. We recommend the hotel price comparison tool at the top of this page. It is a fantastic tool that allows you to find the right hotel and the right location and at the best available price.
When Is The Best Time On The Big Island?
The Big Island is a year-round destination. April - November is warmer and drier than December - March. The western Kona side is the sunnier and drier side while the eastern Hilo side is wetter and more tropical.
The busiest time is between December and February when the snowbirds take refuge from the harsh winters in their mainland states. For detailed weather forecasts visit the Hawaiian Islands National Weather Service Forecast website.
Getting To The Big island & Getting Around?
Most visitors arrive by air from one of the other islands at either Hilo International Airport or Kona International Airport, but there are some direct flights from the USA mainland to Hilo. Several cruise ships operate between the Hawaii Islands.
Many of the island's best sights are only accessible by 4 wheel drive and, unlike Oahu, there is very limited local bus service on the Big Island. Some car rental companies disable their 4 wheel drives to prevent driving on extreme terrain, while some do not allow driving on unpaved roads.