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.
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 Hawaiʻi 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 Punaluʻu Beach, the island of Hawaiʻi 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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stop for an Acai Bowl at Kona Wave Cafe.
- Have Dinner at Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons. The oysters are incredible and the catch of the day was prepared to perfection.
8. Take in a sunset on the Western Coast and enjoy the ocean breezes off the beach.
Enjoy the Aloha spirit on the Big Island.