My favorite tips and locations for the Big Island in Hawaii.
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! (HVNP)
When I crave Big Island cuisine, I turn to Hilo Farmers Market.
To escape work I go to Kalapana. I like the Hawaiian Lava Daily blog for what’s currently happening with the lava flow. The official site is the County of Hawaii site.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at Waianuhea Inn in Honokaaa.
If you come to the Kohala Coast, get your picture taken by the plume coming from Halemaumau Crater, or the black sand beach at Kalapana or the King Kamehameha statue in Kapaau.
If you have to order one thing off the menu at Hilo Bay Cafe, get the Blue Bay Burger.
The Kohala Coast is my one stop shop for adventure. On my recent visit I swam with dolphins and sea turtles, went horseback riding, took a helicopter ride over lava flows and watched my friends go zip-lining!
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Café 100.
For a huge splurge, I go to Monette’s at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
Photo ops on the Big Island include HVNP, sunsets on the Kohala Coast, boats and giant cleats on Kailua Pier, Ahuena Heiau, the Puna coastline, Hapuna Beach, Puukohola Heiau, the pastures and ranches of Waimea and sunsets at Mauna Kea summit.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mauna Kea.
The most random thing about the Kohala Coast is the Kona Coffee & Cultural Festival – this is its 40th year.
On the Big Island, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, HVNP, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins and sea turtles or surfing.
My favorite walking route is the Ala Kahakai Trail along the Kohala Coast or Queen Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.
The Big Island’s best museums are Imiloa Astronomy Center and Lyman Museum.
For a night of dancing, go to Lulu’s in Kona.
Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo is the spot for late night dining.
To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read the Hawaii Tribune Herald –Saturday section has the Calendar of Events. West Hawaii Today and Big Island Weekly, as well.
You can tell a lot about Hawaii’s Big Island from visiting the Kohala Coast
and watching Outrigger canoe racing events.
In the spring you should attend Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, if you can get tickets!
In the summer you should attend Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Races in Kona and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona.
In the fall you should visit Kona coffee country.
In the winter you should go to Mauna Kea. The volcano could be covered in snow!
A hidden gem on the Kohala Coast is Love Pond at the Mauna Lani Resort.
For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to the Island Lava Java on Alii Drive in Kona
In Hilo you can visit Rainbow Falls or Akaka Falls, just outside of Hilo. Have lunch at the Hilo Bay Café, or What’s Shakin’ in Pepeekeo.
The best way to see the Kohala Coast is by car and helicopter. You are able to walk around in Hilo and Kona, but to get around the island, you gotta have a car.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss: going to Hapuna Beach State Park or to Imiloa Astronomy Center.
What are your favorite things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island?
Thanks to Big Island Visitors Bureau and Jessica Ferracane of Irondog Communications for assistance with this post. You may also follow the Hawaiian Island on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of Hawaii. I was a guest of Big Island Visitors Bureau. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown