About Big IslandAlso consider 16 Big Island hotels and 293 Big Island vacation reviews.
The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands and encompasses a diversity of climates from tropical rainforest with roaring waterfalls to posh resorts and white sand beaches. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to tropical rainforest hikes, stark and steaming volcanic landscapes, and molten lava flowing into the sea. Kilauea Volcano is the most continuously active volcano on Earth and a visit to the summit provides an unforgettable experience.
Things To Do
The Big Island has activities for everyone. Humpback whale watching tours, deep-sea fishing for prized game fish off the Kona Coast, ATV tours and horseback riding in the ranch country, championship golf courses, helicopter tours, volcano viewing and spectacular white-sand beaches for relaxing and enjoying water sports.
In Hilo town on the northeast shore you can see the thundering Rainbow Falls, browse through the downtown area and then take a walk along Hilo Bay. Drive along the Hamakua Coast to Akaka Falls State Park where a short, paved footpath leads you on a half-mile loop through a bamboo grove and lush rainforest setting of bamboo, ferns and orchids before revealing the 100-foot Kahuna Falls and the thundering 442-foot Akaka Falls. Farther along the Hamakua Coast you can gaze into the steep-walled Waipio Valley, visit botanical gardens and take in stunning seacoast views.
Head up to the summit of Kilauea Volcano to see steaming cauldrons and calderas and drive down to the coast to see the hot lava pouring into the ocean. The 11-mile Crater Rim Drive circles the summit area with several scenic lookout points as well as hiking trails.
At the Kilauea Visitor Center you can learn more about the park and stop in at the historic Volcano House for great views of Kilauea Caldera. Stop in at the Jaggar Museum to see instruments like seismometers that measure volcanic movement, and outside the museum take in stunning views of the famed Halemaumau Crater.
The Kona Coast on the western shore of the Big Island is one of the world's premier big game fishing destinations where huge marlin and swordfish catches are legendary. These waters are also popular for a variety of ocean excursions from snorkeling and scuba diving to humpback whale watching and sunset sails.
Beaches are simply outstanding on Big Island and vary from immaculate white sand beaches to black and even green sand beaches. Hapuna Beach on the Kohala Coast is the island's largest white-sand beach and also one of the most popular due to its scenic beauty, picnic facilities and restrooms. In the Keauhou area just south of Kailua Village is Kahaluu Beach which is popular for snorkeling and for seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles. Also just south of the village is Laalao Beach with a lifeguard and facilities Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo is considered one of the safest beaches in the area due to the shallow, sandy bottom with interesting tide pools and good snorkeling making it fun for families, and with nice views of Hilo Bay. Lelewi Beach Park offers a shallow bay making it the east side's most popular snorkeling spot. The Richardson Ocean Center is located here and facilities include pavilions, restrooms and showers as well as picnic pavilions.
Dining choices on the Big Island are many and varied from the resort restaurants of the Kona and Kohala Coasts to world-renown chefs in upcountry Waimea and cozy eateries in Hilo. The abundance of famers on the Big Island and the fresh seafood coming from its shores daily ensure the best of ingredients are available for some truly amazing culinary delights. Merriman's in Waimea is the signature restaurant of Hawaii regional cuisine pioneer Peter Merriman and a great place to sample inventive dishes utilizing the best of Island ingredients. Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill overlooks a lake on the Kohala Coast and has gotten rave reviews for such dishes as Hawaiian ono tacos and blackened ahi. For the freshest locally-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers you can visit a Farmers Market. Weekly markets are hosted all around the island including in Hilo, Honokaa, Laupahoehoe, Waimea, Waikoloa, Keauhou, Pahoa, Volcano, Captain Cook and Kailua-Kona.
The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its arts culture with local artisans supplying unique products to serve as handcrafted keepsakes of your visit. Carved native woods, exquisite jewelry, handmade glass can all be found along with more traditional gifts like aloha shirts. Browse the many shops of Historic Kailua Village on the Kona Coast, the Kings' Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort and Keauhou Shopping Center in the town of Keauhou. Many small towns on the Big Island are home to art galleries and boutiques where true gems can be found as mementos of your visit.
A rental car is recommended when visiting the Big Island so you can explore the many great beaches and interesting attractions from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Hilo and the Kona Coast. The island's bus service, called Hele On Bus, is free and stops at various points around the island including transportation between Kona and Hilo every day except Sunday.
Weather and Ocean Conditions
The Big Island is known for its sunny weather which remains relatively stable all year around. The Kona and Kohala coastlines on the western shore are the warmest and driest while Hilo on the northeast shore receives abundant rainfall making this area lush and green. The temperature is cooler at higher elevations like Kona Coffee Country and atop Kilauea Volcano though these areas still can be quite hot during the days. Waimea town is known for its cool afternoon fogs rolling across the grassy hillsides. The Kona and Kohala Coast regions see average daily temperatures around 80 degrees F, perhaps a bit hotter in the summer and a bit cooler in the winter, with nighttime temperatures dropping about 15 degrees. Ocean conditions vary widely at Big Island beaches with many areas exposed to strong currents and potentially dangerous surf, particularly during the winter months. Numerous beaches provide good protection from the open ocean and provide safe areas for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors are urged to only visit lifeguarded beaches for water activities and heed all posted warnings. Check with lifeguards about the safest areas to participate in the activities you choose.
From Big Island villas and beachfront homes to condos in premier resort locations, we have a Big Island vacation rental to suit your needs. Big Island vacation homes provide the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and comforts of home. Stay in a Kona vacation rental to enjoy all the amenities of this popular seaside town which is rich in culture and history as well as great beaches. A short drive takes you up into Kona coffee country where you can take a Kona coffee farm tour and enjoy gourmet coffee tastings. North of Kona you can stay the popular Waikoloa Resort on the pristine Kohala coastline, and enjoy the spectacular Hapuna Beach which has been ranked among the nation's top beaches. From your Hilo vacation rental enjoy great shopping and restaurants in Hilo town with close access to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are also great vacation rentals along the scenic Hamakua Coast close to Akaka Falls and Waipio Valley. Browse through our Big Island vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Big Island vacation home for your dream Hawaii vacation. We take pride not just in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals on the Big Island, but also in the fact that we stand behind our product and make sure only the best of the best Big Island properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Big Island rentals or which destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
History is all around you on the Big Island of Hawaii including numerous important historical sites. One of the most signifiant is the fortress-like Puukohola Heiau on the Kohala Coast which was built by the rising warrior Kamehameha in his quest to unite all the Islands under one rule. Overlooking Honaunau Bay to the south of Kona is Puuhonua O Honaunau which served as a sacred palace of refuge in ancient times. Today you can take a self-guided tour that includes the Palace Grounds, Great Wall and Place of Refuge. Nearby on the shore of Kealakekua Bay is a monument marking the spot where British explorer Captain James Cook died in a skirmish with Hawaiians.
by Scott Coccaro