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The Big Island

It's pretty quiet on this board but I figured I'd give it a shot. DH and I are heading to the Big Island in a couple weeks and I'd love some suggestions on the "must-see", "maybe see" and "avoid at all costs" locations, restaurants, and activities from anyone who has been there. TIA! Aloha!
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Re: The Big Island

  • Some of the "must-see"s would be volcanoes national park, black sand beach, petroglyphs.  Maybe see would be Mauna Kea observatory.

     Will you be staying on the Hilo or Kona side? 

  • Thanks for the suggestions! We'll be staying on the Kona side at the Hilton Waikaloa.
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  • image ESquared423:
    Thanks for the suggestions! We'll be staying on the Kona side at the Hilton Waikaloa.

    We were just there. The resort is huge! You are sort of far away from the volcano (at least a 2 hour drive each way) but if I were you I'd just lay by the pool and sip lava flows all day:)

  • Haha..mmm that sounds delicious! Well, we live in Hawaii (temporarily) and frequent the beach and pool quite a bit, so we really want to experience as much of the Big Island as we can since we probably won't go back. We'll have to suck it up and drive the 2-hours to and from because we definitely want to see the volcano!

    We'd like to see each of the islands during our time here, and I can't believe it's costing us over $300 just for a 20 minute flight. Plus the rental car, ugh! But, it's worth it, might as well see all we can while we're here!

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  • I'm from Kona, but now living on Oahu.  There aren't too many spots on BI you'll want to avoid (besides Puna at night).  

    Snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay, Honaunau.  You can rent snorkel gear at Boss Frogs in Kona for $2)

    Hike Pololu Valley - you can hike to the bottom and find some trails with rope swings and old army tank remains.  You can also hike the upper rim of Waipio Valley - the trail is actually closed, but it's not hard to get in.

     See Akaka and Rainbow Falls on the Hilo side.  

    Spend an afternoon at Ahalanui Thermal Pool in Puna, then drive down to Kalapapa for lunch at the end of the road near the entrance to the volcano trail.  Walk across the lava field (an old town under your feet) to the black sand beach.  

     I've never been very impressed by Volcano National Park, but I do enjoy walking the trail to the volcano outside the park.  It opens in the early evening.  Take flashlights.  If you do go the National Park, some of the trails are nice.

    South Point - if you park at the entrance to Green Sands Beach, there is a spot you can jump off the point and climb a ladder back up.  The walk to Green Sands Beach is probably over an hour and VERY hot.  Start early.

    Any other questions, just ask! 



  • I love the observatories at Mauna Kea! Seriously, highlight of my life!
  • I live in Kona and I too would recommend taking a Mauna Kea Summit tour. Google them and you'll find a company that will pick you up directly from your hotel. 

    Another thing I would recommend is a helicopter tour.  Blue Hawaiian helicopters have many tours.  This is of course a splurge, but well worth it I'm sure.

    Beaches:  Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea (Kaunaoa) beach are 20 minutes from your hotel.  They have both made "Dr. Beach's" top beaches list in the past.

    Restaurants:  In Waimea,  (1/2 hour away from your hotel) has a great selection of fabulous restaurants.  Our all-time favorite is Merriman's, with Daniel Thiebault's a close second. They both serve Hawaii Regional food.  Go to Hawaiian Style cafe for a more local plate lunch kind of place.

    Kona restuarants: Big Island Grill, Orchid Thai, Annie's, Krua, Kona Brewing Company, Bianelli's are all some of our favorites.  

    Sites to see: Take a Kealakekua Bay snorkel tour.  Its the only way to get to the bay unless you want to rent a kayak and paddle about 1/2 hour to get there.  There are also Zodiac boat tours that go there.  Puu Honua O Honaunau (City of Refuge) is also worth seeing.

     Have fun!

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