big island hawaii holidays planner

The island of Hawaii is often referred to as "The Big Island", to distinguish it from the state of Hawaii. It is the largest and the youngest of the islands, and because Mount Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, is still spewing lava on occasion, the island is still growing. It is home to Hawaii's cowboys, to the tallest sea mountain in the world (Maunakea), the most massive mountain in the world (Maunaloa), and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – the largest park in the state. The amazing variety of climate zones on the Big Island offer visitors everything from volcanic deserts to lush rain forests; and from snow-capped mountains to beautiful black sand beaches. It was the birthplace of King Kamehameha, the place where Captain James Cook died, and the eternal home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire.

Don't Miss
Volcano National Park
Golf on the Kohala Coast
Puuhonua Historic Park, South Kona
Hiking the Hamakua Coast
The coffee growing hills of Kona
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Big Island Hawaii Map


Regions to Visit
Kihei, - Kona Coast
Kohala Coast
Hamakua Coast
Hilo Town - Puna
Kau & Volcano NP

Big Island Hawaii Holidays Overview

Hawaii Island has 7 main regions, each with its own distinct ecosystem and climate. The lush eastern town of Hilo, the county seat and location of the main airport and dozens of large hotels and resorts, gets more than 130 inches of rain annually.

The Kohala Coast on the west coast of the island typically sees no more than five inches of rain a year, is off the beaten path, and is home to some exquisite resorts. From there you can visit the fern forests of Puna, experience the cool, misty breezes of Waimea, visit the sunny lava plains of Kona, and feel the dry heat of Kau during your stay on this amazing island. The famous Kona coast, along the entire western edge of the island, offers all the ocean-going fun you could wish for. Shielded from winds by Maunaloa, south Kona's calm and clear waters are perfect for diving, snorkelling, and dolphin-spotting. Kona is also famous for deep-sea fishing, Hawaiian green sea turtle watching, and huge schools of manta rays. It's also famous for its coffee; take the time to wander up to the cooler upland slopes of towns like Holualoa, where you can sample some of the purest, freshest coffee in the world.

picture of big island hawaii

Visitors to the Big Island simply must take the time to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 333,000 acres of volcanic craters, scalded deserts, and gorgeous rainforests, as well as a museum, ancient petroglyphs, a walk-in lava tube, and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984, and Kilauea which has been erupting since January 3rd, 1983 and is visibly changing the island's landscape before your eyes. Kilauea produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day, depending on Pele's mood.

picture of big island hawaii

Big Island Hawaii Accommodation Guide

There is a good mix of accommodation in the Big Island with the most affordable holiday hotels and apartments available around Kihei Town on the west coast and the international branded mega resorts further north along the Kohala Coast. There are guesthouses and bed and breakfast around the Hamakua Coast and in Volcano National Park whist a few smaller hotels can be found in Hilo Town.


picture of big island hawaii

Big Island Hawaii Travel Information

Most travellers arrive on the Big Island by way of Hilo International airport, on the east coast, or Kona International Airport, on the west. Given the size of the island, and the diversity of sights and activities, many people now arrange to arrive via Hilo, and depart via Kona (or vice versa). We recommend you hire a car for your stay, as there is so much to see and do and you'll want to do it on your own schedule. Do reserve ahead, as most visitors have the same idea and you'll want to guarantee you have a car waiting for you when you arrive.