Saturday, June 22, 2024

Bridgeworthy – Escape to Hawaii’s Beautifully Diverse Big Island

A view of the infinity pool overlooking the King’s Pond where guests can snorkel at the Four Seasons Hualalai.

The Island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, is the youngest, largest and most bio-diverse island in the Hawaiian Island Chain. Whether you are looking for a luxury escape to celebrate a special occasion, or you want to satisfy your adventurous nature, the Big Island offers it all. With a wide range of lodging from the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai to varied vacation rentals as well as the Kilauea Military Camp as an option for military members, and various activities from lounging on the beach to zip lining, hiking and scuba diving, the options are endless. Traveling to the Big Island has never been easier with direct flights on Alaska Airlines from San Diego to Kona and flight deals from numerous airlines that can make it one of the less expensive travel destinations.

Known as one of the top 10 dives in the world, a night dive with the Manta Rays in Kona is a must do for scuba divers.

The Big Island, as its name suggests, is BIG, a huge land mass that can fit all the other islands of Hawaii combined, with some room to spare. According to Hawaii’s official travel site, “You can travel through all but four of the world’s different climate zones, ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa. From the many geological features at HawaiÊ»i Volcanoes National Park to the snow-capped heights of Maunakea; from the lush valleys of the Hilo and Hāmākua Coasts to the jet-black sands of PunaluÊ»u Beach, the island of HawaiÊ»i is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature.” It would take weeks to fully enjoy all the Island has to offer, but no matter what you choose, you will feel the Aloha spirit throughout the visit.

Outrigger canoe, paddle boarding and surfing are all popular on the western beaches of the Big Island.

Kailua-Kona, the location for the Ironman World Championships, is located on the west side of Hawaii, it is dryer with dramatic landscapes of lava fields to the west and the palm-tree lined Pacific Ocean to the east. This area is know for its snorkeling, scuba diving and great surf spots. Hilo, on the east side of the Island is the rainy side, making for lush green landscapes, waterfalls and gorges. Hilo is a great place to zip-line, take a helicopter-tour to see the waterfalls and the volcano, and to admire the amazing vegetation. The Big Island is also home to the southernmost point in the United States as well as incredible open ranges to the north with impressive hiking all across the Island.

Captain Cook’s Monument is only accessible by a strenuous hike down through lava fields, or through a snorkel tour boat that brings you to the bay.
A Hike down through ancient lava fields will bring you to Kealakekua Bay to see Captain Cook’s Monument and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Islands.
The Golf Course at the Four Seasons Resort.

For those looking for luxury, I would highly recommend the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, for it’s beautiful grounds with lava fields, beaches and an extraordinary golf course. The staff is wonderful, the rooms incredibly comfortable, the on-site restaurants are top-quality and the pools and fish-filled ocean pond make it so you don’t have to leave the resort if you don’t want to. This luxury resort comes with a luxury price tag that is well worth it, and off-season deals or paying with credit card points can help offset the cost.

The torch is lit at sunset outside the incredible. ‘Ulu Ocean grill.
You will feel special at the Four Seasons Hualalai. They provided complimentary Champagne in honor of our Anniversary.
The Sea Shell Pool, one of seven pools at the resort.

When visiting the Big Island try to give yourself enough time to relax and enjoy the ocean breezes but be sure not to miss all the amazing things it has to offer. Eight essential things to do on your visit to the Big Island:

  1. Ka’Awaloa-Captain Cook Monument Trail – a 3.7 mile hike down to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. Bring your snorkel gear as the abundant fish and crystal clear visibility will take your breath away.

    Snorkeling the Bay.
  2. Zip-Line in Hilo with Hawaii Zipline Tours. You will fly above canyons and gorges, zip by waterfalls, and see gorgeous flowers during this exhilarating experience.

    Zip-lining over the gorges and waterfalls of Hilo is an experience for all thrill seekers.
  3. Night Scuba Dive or Snorkel with the Mantas in Kona. If certified, I would recommend the scuba dive experience as you immerse yourself in the underwater world with these beautiful and huge creatures of the sea.

    Night diving with Mantas is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.
  4. Pololu Trail in the Kohala Forest Reserve – Hike on this one mile round trip trail down to a beautiful black sand beach with views of the Hamakua Coast.

    The Hamakua Coastline.
  5. Take a day to hike through lava tubes and along the crater rim in Volcanos National Park. If you have time and have a military affiliation, stay at the cabins at Kilauea Military Camp, the only lodging found within the National Park.

    A photo of Kilauea Military Camp Lodging in Volcanos National Park. Photo: KMC website.
  6. Stop for an Acai Bowl at Kona Wave Cafe.

    The Kona Wave Acai Bowl
  7. Have Dinner at Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons. The oysters are incredible and the catch of the day was prepared to perfection.
    Dinner at ‘Ulu Ocean Grill

    8. Take in a sunset on the Western Coast and enjoy the ocean breezes off the beach.

    Sunset on the beach.

    Enjoy the Aloha spirit on the Big Island.

Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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