35 Things To Do on The Big Island Hawaii For The Perfect Weekend

Taking a trip to the Big Island and not sure what to do exactly? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to help you plan the best trip possible to the Big Island!

Kailua Kona is outdoor-paradise; the weather is sunny and perfect on most days, and the unique terrain makes this a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike. Hilo on the other hand, is rainier, thereby giving rise to an amazingly lush landscape on the east side.

This post will illustrate the major highlights of The Big Island and give you ideas on things to do and eat, broken out by the Kona side and the Hilo side!

*Please note: All of the products listed in this post are my personal tried and true recommendations and may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running. Thanks!

things to do big island - travels with elle


Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!

  • When To Go: December through March (peak season). September to November or April to June (off-season, for pleasant weather and fewer crowds).
  • Nearest Airports: Hilo International Airport (ITO) and the Kona International Airport (KOA)
    How to Get Around: You will need a car. We recommend using Rentalcars.com to find the best deal. Book early because rental cars in Hawaii go like hotcakes!
    Must-Do’s: Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, snorkel at Kealakekua Bay, see the sunset (and/or stargaze) on Mauna Kea.
    Before You Go: Pack your snorkel gear to avoid having to rent! And remember to pack a rain jacket — The Big Island’s weather can be unpredictable, and rain is possible at any time of the year.

Planning on visiting the whole island in one trip? The Big Island is structured in a way where accommodation options are few and far between as it’s mostly undeveloped. Since it’s so big, driving can take up a lot of time. If you plan on visiting the whole island, I would recommend staying a few nights on the Kona side and then staying a few nights on the Hilo side, especially if you plan on visiting the volcanoes.

Day trips are possible, but it can take over 2 hours to drive from one end to the other. With all that driving, it doesn’t allow sufficient time to fully explore the side that you’re visiting. I recommend booking a few nights on both sides:

Where To Stay In Kailua-Kona

Where To Stay In Hilo

When Is The Best Time To Go To The Big Island?

In my opinion, the best time to visit Hawaii is all the time. Nothing stops me from visiting whenever I can!

Generally speaking, the high season runs from December to March, when all the visitors from the mainland USA and beyond flock to Hawaii to get away from the cold winter conditions back home. This is when you’ll find the island most packed.

Having said that, if you value good weather and fewer crowds, the best time to visit The Big Island is between September and November or from April to June.

During these months, the weather is generally dry and mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. Additionally, these months tend to be less crowded than the peak tourist season of December through March.

How Long To Stay On The Big Island

If you can swing it, about 5-6 days is perfect, but I’d say no less than 4 days. Otherwise, you really won’t be able to see all that the Big Island has to offer!

The strategy on how to base yourself is to stay a few days on the Kona side, and a few days on the Hilo side.

If you’ve visited the other Hawaiian Islands, you probably have an idea of what to expect from Hawaii’s terrain. But one huge thing to note, is do not underestimate the size of the Big Island.

It’s big…unlike any other Hawaiian island. More about that later.

Things To Do On The Big Island (Kona)

Explore Kona Town

One of the more leisurely things to do on the Big Island is to explore Kona town.

It’s a long street that runs along the water’s edge with plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants to check out. It’s also a historical town, as it once was the retreat for Hawaiian royalty. If you’re into Hawaiian culture, check out the Hulihee Palace and the Mokuaikaua Church.

If you’re looking to get out onto the water, Kona is also a great place for stand-up paddle boarding.

Go Snorkeling

snorkeling in kona hawaii - travels with elle

Hawaii is famous for its warm tropical waters and extremely diverse marine life. You WILL see tons of species of tropical fish.

A few great places to snorkel are: Kealakekua Bay, Kahalu’u Beach Park, Two Step, or Honaunau Bay. Here’s a bit more info about each of these spots:

  • Kealakekua Bay: Kealakekua Bay is a protected marine sanctuary located on the west side of the island. Here you can expect calm waters perfect for the whole family. You’ll be able to see colorful fish, sea turtles, and possibly even dolphins! The water is usually clear and calm, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling, even for beginners!
  • Kahalu’u Beach Park: Kahaluu Beach Park is a popular snorkeling spot located on the west side of the island. Here you can see a variety of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even eels! The water can be a bit rough at times, so it’s important to be a strong swimmer (or at the very least have a noodle or flotation device).
  • Two Step: Two Step is a popular snorkeling spot located on the west side of the island. Here you can see a variety of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even manta rays. Again, the water can be a bit rough at times here.
  • Honaunau Bay: Honaunau Bay is located on the south side of the island and is known for its clear water and abundant marine life. Here you can expect to see a variety of fish, sea turtles, and even reef sharks.

Note: Get ready to experience frequent sea turtle sightings when snorkeling, but make sure to keep your distance to prevent getting heavily fined!

Check out the best snorkeling tours in Kona

Go On A Coffee Tour

Coffee Farm Hawaii

There are a bunch of coffee tours speckled throughout the Big Island, and you should definitely take some time to visit a coffee farm to fully appreciate what Kona is famous for. You ever heard of “Kona Coffee”? Case in point.

If you’re staying in the Kona area, the best free coffee tours I recommend are Heavenly Hawaiian’s Farm Tour (free tour and tasting), Hula Daddy ($10 tour, free tastings), and Mountain Thunder Coffee (free tour and tasting). Tours typically start on the top of the hour.

Visit a farmer’s market

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

No matter where I go, farmers’ markets are a must for me. They’re great for picking up breakfast/lunch, buying local fruits and vegetables, buying gourmet food items (honey, oils, bread, cheeses, etc.) and even souvenir shopping.

Luckily, there are a bunch of farmers markets all over the Big Island of Hawaii. On the Kona side, do check out The Kona Farmers Market located in the heart of Kona, as well as Ali’i Garden Marketplace not too far from the farmers market.

Go hiking

The Big Island hosts some great hikes through barren lava fields, lush rainforests or secluded beaches.

My top recommendations on the Kona side–still about an hour’s drive from Kailua-Kona though–include Waipi’o Valley (3.0 miles round trip, ends at a black sand beach) and the hike to Papakolea Beach, the rare and beautiful green sand beach (5.5 miles round trip).

Go on an ATV Tour

ATV tours are a fun way to explore the beautiful difficult to access places such as the wild forests and cliffs on the Kohala coast. These tours typically take you on a 10+ mile drive through private lands with stops on the way at scenic points, historic sites, and waterfalls.

Night swim with manta rays

manta ray night dive - travels with elle

If getting up close and personal with marine life is on your bucket list, this is one of the Big Island activities that you shouldn’t miss!

The famous manta ray night dive in Kona is widely regarded as one of the most memorable experiences around the world!

A typical manta ray dive takes place at night, when manta rays are most active, and begins with a short boat ride out to the dive site. Once at the site, divers enter the water and descend to the ocean floor, where they position themselves in a circle with lights shining upward. The lights attract plankton, which in turn attracts the manta rays.

As the manta rays approach, divers can see their massive wingspans and graceful movements as they glide through the water. The mantas come within inches of the divers, performing acrobatic maneuvers and feeding on the plankton. The experience is both exhilarating and peaceful, as divers are surrounded by the gentle giants in the dark, quiet waters of the ocean.

On average, the manta rays you can see around Kona will be about 12 ft big — insane!

Hit the beach

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

Beaches on the Big Island are great for surfing and snorkeling. Though I don’t believe that the Big Island is the best Hawaiian island for a beach vacation (there are better beaches for swimming on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai), there are still good options.

My beach recommendations include: Hapuna Beach and Kua Bay. Both have amazing turquoise waters, but relatively large waves when I went in April. Turtle sightings are frequent!

Pro tip: One thing to note, since these beaches are known to be the best on the Kona side, many other vacationers will be going there. So be warned, if you’re looking for isolation, these are not the places to go!

black sand beach big island

Go see a lava tube

The lava tubes in Big Island Hawaii are fascinating geological formations that were created by molten lava flowing beneath the surface of the earth. As the lava flows, the outer layer cools and hardens, while the inner layer continues to flow. Eventually, the lava flow subsides, leaving behind a hollow tube-like structure.

Exploring lava tubes is a great way to understand more about the volcanic processes that are continually shaping the Big Island. Due to their easy access and educational value, they are a perfect family outing.

The tubes vary in size, with some being wide enough to walk through comfortably, while others are narrow and require visitors to crawl.

Some of the most popular lava tubes in Big Island Hawaii include the Thurston Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Kazumura Cave, which is the longest lava tube in the world at over 40 miles long!

Visitors should be prepared for the dark and damp conditions inside the tubes and should wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight or headlamp.

If you’re looking for something more adrenaline-rushing, multi-hour spelunking guided tours are also available.

Visit the summit of Mauna Kea

At 14,000 feet, Mauna Kea is one of the most impressive sights in Hawaii. The sunset here is truly not to be missed!

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano and the highest point in Hawaii. The summit is home to several world-class observatories, making it one of the best places in the world for stargazing.

To reach the summit of Mauna Kea, visitors must drive up a steep, winding road that can be challenging for some drivers due to the altitude and weather conditions. It’s important to be prepared for the cold temperatures at the summit, which can drop below freezing, and to bring warm clothing, including hats and gloves.

Once at the summit, visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the island’s other volcanoes and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the observatories and learn about the cutting-edge research being conducted there.

You’ll need 4WD to reach the summit yourself, but your other option is to book a Mauna Kea guided tour that includes sunset at the summit followed by star gazing. I can’t think of a better way to spend a night in Hawaii… can you?

Note: It’s important to note that the altitude at the summit of Mauna Kea can cause altitude sickness in some visitors, so it’s important to take precautions, such as staying hydrated and taking breaks as needed. Additionally, visitors should be respectful of the cultural significance of the mountain to the Hawaiian people and should follow all rules and regulations while visiting!

Go on a picnic on the beach

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

Pick up some snacks from Foodland or plate lunches from the restaurant recs below, head to any ‘Beach Park’ you see on your Google Maps app, and soak the view by the ocean under some palm trees.

As it gets hot in the afternoons in Kona, definitely think about packing a cooler with cold drinks and fruits!

Drive north to visit other small towns

Waimea is known as Hawaiian cowboy country and is home to rolling, green pastures, cattle, and ranches. There are a lot of food options here and is an area worth checking out on your way to the coast or to Hilo.

Take the scenic drive north to the charming town of Hawi and visit the Pololu Valley Lookout for amazing and lush coastal viewpoints.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing with seahorses and having them wrap around your little finger, this is the place to do it. Who knew that was a thing you could even do to begin with? Well you can — on the Big Island!

You won’t want to miss this hour-long tour, available Monday through Friday at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm during high season (less frequently during the low season).

The tour allows you to see baby seahorses, pregnant males, and sea dragons. They also have an aquarium where more than half the world’s seahorses are on display, as well as an interactive tide pool and a fish feeding station for the children.

Take the Big Island Circle Tour

If you aren’t too keen on driving and walking everywhere, check out this full-day tour of the Big Island jam-packed with Big Island landmarks.

The Big Island circle tour hits all the highlights of the stunning Big Island of Hawaii–making it possible to see many a good chunk of the island in one day, without worrying about logistics. While riding in a comfortable minibus, watch out the window as the landscape changes with every bend in the road, from tropical, misty valleys full of ferns to a barren, black lava coast!

Things To Do On The Big Island (Hilo)

Go Ziplining

The ziplines on the Big Island usually connect several scenic points including lush rainforest and one or more waterfalls. It’s the perfect outdoor excursion for those looking for an aerial view of nature as well as a bit of adrenaline!

There are plenty of ziplining tour options on the Big Island, many near Waimea, Kohala, or Hilo.

Many of the ziplining tours on the Hilo side of the island offer a combination of ziplining and other activities, such as hiking, swimming, and exploring waterfalls. Visitors can choose from a variety of tour options, ranging from short and easy ziplines to longer and more challenging courses.

One of the most popular ziplining tours on the Hilo side of Big Island Hawaii is the Umauma Falls Zipline and Kayak Experience.

This tour takes visitors through a series of nine ziplines, including one that is over 2,000 feet long, and offers stunning views of the Umauma River and waterfalls. The tour also includes access to kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for those who want to do more exploring after the zipline adventure!

Visit a botanical garden

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

The Hilo and Hamakua coasts are filled with rainforests, waterfalls, and tropical flowers and these natural treasures can be most easily seen in one of the botanical gardens on the Big Island.

One of the most popular botanical gardens on the Hilo side of the island is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This garden features over 2,000 species of plants, including rare and endangered species, and offers stunning views of the ocean and surrounding rainforest. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or a guided tour with a knowledgeable docent, who can provide insights into the plants and their cultural significance.

Another popular botanical garden on the Hilo side of Big Island Hawaii is the Nani Mau Gardens. This garden features a variety of plants and flowers, including orchids, hibiscus, and bamboo, and offers several walking paths and trails for visitors to explore. The garden also features a butterfly house, where visitors can see a variety of butterfly species up close.

The botanical gardens here are agreed to be the most beautiful in all of the Hawaiian islands. If you make this one of your stops, don’t miss the orchids!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

By far the most popular tourist destination on the Big Island is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can easily spend an entire day or two here, and rightfully so!

It’s one of the major landmarks on the Hilo side, and given the long trek from the Kona side, make sure to allocate plenty of time for hiking, checking out the lookouts, and exploring the visitor’s center.

Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can explore a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes, that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Kilauea Caldera and the Thurston Lava Tube. The park also features several scenic drives, including the Chain of Craters Road, which offers views of lava fields and sea cliffs.

One of the most popular attractions in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the Jaggar Museum and Overlook, which offers stunning views of the Kilauea Caldera and the active lava lake within it.

If you aren’t too keen on driving and walking through this expansive park on your own, check out this best-selling guided tour that features the best of the island’s volcanoes.

Take A Helicopter Tour Of The Island

helicopter tour lava hilo hawaii - travels with elle

The most popular helicopter tours on the Big Island depart from Hilo and include a trip over of the volcano. This provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the active lava flow from above. You’ll be in awe the whole time, trust me.

A typical tour begins with a safety briefing and an introduction to the helicopter and its features.

Once in the air, visitors can take in breathtaking views of the island’s towering volcanoes, including Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, as well as the lush rainforests and waterfalls that dot the landscape.

The helicopter tour of the Big Island typically lasts between 45 minutes and an hour and includes narration from the pilot, who provides insights into the island’s history, geology, and culture. Don’t forget to snap up some photos and videos of the stunning scenery from the helicopter’s large windows!

Some helicopter tours of the Big Island also include additional experiences, such as landing on a remote mountaintop or visiting a secluded waterfall. These experiences provide visitors with a unique and intimate way to experience the island’s natural beauty and adventure opportunities.

helicopter tour waterfall hilo hawaii - travels with elle

Hike To The Lava Flow

If you’re active and looking for some action and adventure, nothing beats seeing the lava flow up close and personal. If this appeals to you (because it’s definitely not for everybody), I’d recommend going on a guided lava hike with an expert that knows the terrain to ensure your safety from the active lava flow.

See Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

During your few days on the Hilo side, you need to visit two of the prettiest and most easy to access waterfalls near Hilo.

Akaka Falls, Hawaii’s most famous waterfall is about 11 miles north of Hilo. It’s over 400 feet tall and accessible via an easy half-mile hike through a lush jungle.

Rainbow Falls is located right in Hilo town and is best seen in the early morning (you’ll have the best chance of seeing a rainbow at this time!).

Hilo Farmers Market

hilo farmers market

If you’re in Hilo on a Wednesday or Saturday, you’ve got to carve out some time to check out this spectacular outdoor market with over 200 local farmers and vendors.

While the farmers market is open seven days a week, the big market days take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Expect food, produce, handicrafts, clothing, and a lot more goodness!

Explore Downtown Hilo

Aside from being the home of the epic Hilo Farmer’s Market, Downtown Hilo is charming and full of lovely shops, restaurants, and galleries.

After getting a meal in (which you absolutely must do), you can head to the Lyman Museum and Mission House, a historic site that offers a glimpse into the lives of the early missionaries who settled in Hilo.

For a greener activity, head to Liliuokalani Gardens, a beautiful Japanese-style garden that offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Hilo. Visitors can stroll through the garden’s winding paths, admire the koi ponds and waterfalls, and take in the stunning views of Hilo Bay.

You can also stop by the Pacific Tsunami Museum, a fascinating museum that explores the history and impact of tsunamis on the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors can learn about the science of tsunamis, as well as the stories of the people who have been affected by them.

Papakolea Beach (Green Sand Beach)

green sand beach big island

There are not many places in the world where you can feast your eyes on a green sand beach, but good news is, The Big Island is one of them!

Papakolea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach, is a truly unique and breathtaking destination on Big Island that is sure to leave you in awe. The beach gets its name from the stunning green sand that covers its shores, a result of the presence of a rare mineral called olivine.

To reach Papakolea Beach, you’ll need to take a scenic hike along the rugged coastline, passing by stunning cliffs and taking in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Once at the beach, you can then take a dip in the clear, turquoise waters, sunbathe on the green sand, and explore the surrounding cliffs and tide pools!

While it’s possible to hike to the beach (uncovered under the sun, 5.5 miles roundtrip), you can also rent a 4WD vehicle to drive in OR try hitching a ride from a local from the parking lot.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (Black Sand Beach)

This black sand beach frequently has turtles sunning themselves on the black sand. Enough said! That should make you want to go!

Make this a stop on your visit to the Big Island, even if you have to go out of your way a little bit. There isn’t any other place like it, probably in the entire world (other than Maui maybe).

If you ask me, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is definitely worth the miles driven!

Sample Beers at Hilo Brewing Company

Stop by the tasting room at The Hilo Brewing Company and Tasting Room (Mehana Brewing Co.) to try a flight from Hawaii’s largest independent craft brewer!

Some of the popular beers offered by the Hilo Brewing Company include:

  • Hilo Bay IPA – This is a West Coast-style IPA that features a blend of tropical and citrus hops, giving it a refreshing and hoppy flavor.
  • Coconut Creme Ale – This is a light and refreshing ale that is brewed with toasted coconut and vanilla beans, giving it a subtle sweetness and a smooth finish.
  • Black Lava Gose – This is a tart and salty beer that is brewed with black lava salt and coriander, giving it a unique and refreshing flavor.
  • Hilo Red Ale – This is a smooth and malty ale that features a blend of caramel and roasted malts, giving it a rich and complex flavor.

The Hilo Brewing Company and Tasting Room also offers a variety of seasonal and experimental beers, as well as a rotating selection of guest beers from other local breweries.

Check their site to see if there’s anything fun going on during your visit to Hilo — they sometimes have live music, trivia nights, and food truck events.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm & Factory

Everyone’s heard of Mauna Loa. Just a few miles south of Hilo brings you to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm and Factory. The actual home of the brand!

Take a self-guided tour, sample some nuts, and stock up on your favorites from the source!

Where To Eat On The Big Island

Pine Tree Cafe

The best place to stop for breakfast or lunch after flying into the Kona airport or before heading there!

Pine Tree Cafe has really good and simple food any time of the day. So much so, that we went their twice on our short Kona trip. For breakfast, opt for the french toast, which comes highly recommended.

For lunch/dinner, your possibilities are so endless. Plate lunch combo options include spicy garlic fried chicken, short ribs, chicken katsu, loco moco, beef stew, poke, etc. 

They are conveniently open early as heck for the early morning flights!

Kona Grill House

A super low-key seafood restaurant with just about the best fresh fish and lobster cake you will ever have. Even though this place looks like a complete hole in the wall, it was one of the more memorable meals we had in the Kona area.

Trust me, the lobster cake is a must. Its creamy, slightly crispy, and there’s definitely no shortage in flavor there. Other specials include the lobster mac n cheese and their catch of the day in just about any form they cook it in.

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com


Super fresh poke at reasonable prices in a typical hole-in-the-wall location. What more can you ask for?

There’s a great flavor selection and chill outdoor seating that is definitely worth the visit if you are in the area. The kalua pork comes highly recommended as well.

As this is a family-owned restaurant, food quantity is limited. Even though the restaurant closes at 5pm, poke and rice usually run out at around 4:30pm, so get there before it’s just slim pickings!

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

Ululani’s Shave Ice

Unsuspectingly nestled inside of the Courtyard Marriott, this could be considered a hidden gem. So don’t tell everyone about it because I don’t want to deal with long lines!

But honestly, this is my favorite shave ice spot across ALL the islands. The syrups here are made out of natural ingredients such as real fruit and sugar cane, which made their flavors authentic-tasting and extremely flavorful.

They poke holes into the shave ice so that the syrup really penetrates through the ice. They carry the usual toppings including super fresh hunks of mochi as well as a haupia cream that is rich and heavenly. Tip: Get the haupia cream!

The Perfect Weekend in Kona, Big Island: Itinerary Planning Guide - www.travelswithelle.com

Two Ladies Kitchen

I have two words for you– unforgettable mochi. Crowds swarm for this mochi, and rightfully so because it’s that good.

Two Ladies produces almost two dozen types of mochi, with flavors including lilikoi (passionfruit), sweet potato and butter. One of the bestsellers includes the strawberry mochi, filled with an entire strawberry inside (consider pre-ordering it or lining up early, as this guy tends to sell out quick).

two ladies mochi hilo

Hawaiian Style Cafe Hilo

You must stop here if you’re looking for a breakfast place! The portions are crazy big and you can tell it’s all homemade. Some notable menu items: The haupia cream pancakes and the loco moco. This place is worth returning to… try more things on their menu.

haupia pancake hilo hawaii

Suisan Fish Market

Come hungry for gigantic portions of fish fresh off the boat, which are accompanied by your choice of rice and veggies. The spicy ahi tuna is a popular and classic pick, but there’s a large selection to choose from (feel free to try some other flavors out before picking).

I highly recommend this place if you like poke or even want to try poke for the first time. However, I am not responsible if after you try this place and cannot find another poke place like this…


This is the only Zippy’s on the island! For those of you new to Hawaii, this is the best fast food a person could ask for in life. Seriously, why don’t we have this on the mainland?

It’s phenomenal fast food and I’d take this over hamburgers any day. If you’re on the Hilo side, make sure to stop at Zippy’s for the Korean Chicken and the Chili Rice (Pro Tip: Get hotdog in your chili rice, it’s a local favorite)

zippy's chili rice hawaii

Where To Stay On The Big Island

For first-timers, you’ll want to stay in or near Kailua-Kona to be near the main attractions and things to do.

This part of town is fairly lively with lots of touristy shops, restaurants, and nightlife options (a few laid-back bars offering live music, a brewery, kava bar, etc). If nightlife is important to you, Kailua-Kona is your best bet.

Other great areas you could stay: Kohala Coast, Waikoloa Village, or Waimea.

Pro Tip: The Big Island is structured in a way where accommodation options are few and far between as it’s mostly undeveloped. Since it’s so big, driving can take up a lot of time. If you plan on visiting the Hilo side as well, I would recommend staying a few nights on the Kona side and then staying a few nights on the Hilo side, especially if you plan on visiting the volcanoes.

Day trips are possible, but it can take over 2 hours to drive from one end to the other. With all that driving, it doesn’t allow sufficient time to fully appreciate the lush and green Hilo side!

Where To Stay In Kailua-Kona

Where To Stay In Hilo

Recommended Guidebooks For Big Island

Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate...Shop on Amazon The Ultimate Kauai Guideboo...Shop on Amazon Hawaii The Big Island Revea...Shop on Amazon Fodor's Essential Hawaii (F...Shop on Amazon

Read More:

What To Pack For A Week In Hawaii: 60 Essential Things To Bring

13 Cool Souvenir Gifts to Bring Back From Hawaii

31 Must-Try Restaurants: Where To Eat On Every Island In Hawaii

38 Essential Oahu Travel Tips For First Timers: What You Need To Know

7 Best Resorts In Oahu For Honeymooners And Couples

The Perfect Kauai 7-Day Itinerary For An Unforgettable Hawaiian Vacation

Photo of author


Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

Leave a Comment