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Hawaii’s Big Island Itineraries

Double Lines

Because Hawaii’s Big Island is so big (it takes roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes to get from Kona Airport to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park), it’s best to plan your itineraries by location. Below you’ll find seven days of itinerary suggestions. Choose your itinerary depending on where you’re staying and the length of stay.

Day 1: Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou
Lively Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) is the heart of the Kona Coast featuring a variety of hotels, shops and restaurants lining Alii Drive. But Kailua Village is also an incredibly historic area, home to Hulihee Palace, Mokuaikaua Church and Ahuena Heiau, all within walking distance of each other. Look into the past just north of Kailua-Kona at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, a place to learn about early Hawaiian culture. Take a surfing lesson or go snorkelling at Kahaluu Beach and other beaches in the Kailua Village and Keauhou resort areas. After a beautiful Kona sunset, enjoy nightlife along Alii drive with great food and live music. For the more adventurous, go on an unforgettable night-dive with manta rays.

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Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona), Hawaii's Big Island

Historic Kailua Village is a lively seaside town in the heart of Kona home to shopping, dining and important historic sites.
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Beaches of Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii’s Big Island features some of the most picturesque and varied beach landscapes in the islands.
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Hulihee Palace, Hawaii's Big Island

Located in the heart of Historic Kailua Village, this was a historic holiday home for Hawaiian royalty.
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Keauhou, Hawaii's Big Island

The Keauhou resort area, just south of Historic Kailua Village in Kona, is where you can often spot manta rays and honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles).
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Surfing on Hawaii’s Big Island

Whether watching surfers or taking your first surf lesson, Hawaii’s Big Island offers fantastic surf adventures from Hilo to Keauhou.
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Manta Ray Diving on Hawaii’s Big Island

The Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island offers the best opportunity to encounter Hawaii’s amazing manta rays.

 

Day 2: South Kona and Beyond
Visit Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park to step back in time and learn about early Hawaiian culture. Kealakekua Bay is a Marine Life Conservation District popular with snorkellers and the site of Captain James Cook’s death. In fact, south Kona’s beaches are a great place for snorkellers because of their calm and clear waters. Tour a Kona coffee farm in south Kona or in the art village of Holualoa and taste 100% Kona Coffee. Then get off the beaten track and take a road trip to Ka Lae (South Point), the southernmost point in the United States.

Puuhonua

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii's Big Island

Learn about early Hawaiian history at this National Historic Park, historic place of refuge and former royal grounds.
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Ka Lae (South Point), Hawaii's Big Island

Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the US and is believed to be the point where the first Polynesians landed on Hawaii.
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Coffee Plantations on Hawaii’s Big Island

There are hundreds of coffee farms in Kona, from Holualoa to Kealakekua, that harvest the uniquely Hawaiian Kona coffee bean, as well as boutique coffee plantations in Kau, Puna and Hilo.
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Holualoa, Hawaii's Big Island

This small town and art enclave, located on the slopes of Hualalai Volcano, is located in the heart of Kona Coffee country.

 

Day 3: Kohala Coast & North Kohala
See the amazing contrasts between the black lava lined Kohala Coast and lush North Kohala. Start your day in Kohala’s fantastic resorts playing golf or indulging in a spa treatment. Then explore historic sites like the Puukohola Heiau National Historical Park and the Lapakahi State Historical Park. Head to the green pastures of Waimea and go horse riding with an authentic paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy). Then continue driving to lovely Hawi for delicious food and fantastic shopping. Along the way, be sure to visit sites like the King Kamehameha Statue in Kapaau and the breathtaking view from the Pololu Valley Overlook.


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Hawi, Hawaii's Big Island

Hawi is a charming town home to unique boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
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Pololu Valley Lookout, Hawaii's Big Island

Offers a breathtaking view overlooking Pololu Valley, a black sand beach and the northeastern coastline.
Kamehameha Statue, Kapaau

Kamehameha Statue, Kapaau, Hawaii's Big Island

The original King Kamehameha Statue can be found in Kapaau, near his birthplace in North Kohala.
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Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaii's Big Island

Part of the National Park System, this historic site is home to one of the largest and last heiau (temple) built in Hawaii.
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Waimea, Hawaii's Big Island

Travel to the cool, green pastures of Waimea to discover paniolo (cowboy) country, as well as fine dining, shopping and culture.

 

Day 4: Hamakua Coast
On the northeastern Hamakua Coast of the island, spend the day driving along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor to see amazing scenic views, waterfalls and botanical gardens. Spectacular waterfalls that are easily accessible include Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls in the Wailuku River State Park. See rare and exotic plants at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens and the World Botanical Gardens. Stop in Honokaa Town to browse the shops and art galleries. Finally, end your trip with an unforgettable view at the Waipio Valley Lookout.

Hamakua Heritage Corridor, Hawaii's Big Island

Take a memorable drive from Hilo to the Waipio Valley Lookout to see scenic overlooks, waterfalls, botanical gardens and small towns.
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Wailuku River State Park, Hawaii's Big Island

Just west of Downtown Hilo, Wailuku River State Park is home to the 24-metre Rainbow Falls and Peepee Falls which feeds the beautiful pools called Boiling Pots.
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Waterfalls on Hawaii’s Big Island

Some of the Big Islands most breathtaking and accessible waterfalls can be discovered along the Hilo and Hamakua Coast.
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Waipio Valley Lookout, Hawaii's Big Island

This lookout at the end of the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive features breathtaking views of the lush and historic Waipio Valley.
Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls State Park, Hawaii's Big Island

Akaka Falls State Park features two amazing waterfalls, Akaka Falls (135 metres) and Kahuna Falls (30 metres).

 

Day 5: Volcano and Kau
You can easily spend a day exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Take a day hike through its miles of trails, see sights like Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Halemaumau Crater and see lava meet the sea at lookout points at the end of Chain of Craters Road or in nearby Kalapana. Beyond the park, take a trip to Punaluu Black Sand Beach in Kau to feel black sand between your toes.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii's Big Island

133,500-hectare park spanning the summit of Maunaloa to the sea and home to Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
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Kalapana, Hawaii's Big Island

Once a historic town partially destroyed by lava, now a lava viewing area on the southeastern coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.
Hiking on Hawaii Island

Hiking on Hawaii’s Big Island

Whether you’re looking for a challenging trail on fields of lava to a short scenic hike, Hawaii’s Big Island is heaven for hikers.
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Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Hawaii's Big Island

This is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii and a place to spot protected honu, or Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Nahuku (Thurston lava tube)

Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Hawaii's Big Island

Nahuku, also known as Thurston Lava Tube, is located at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is easy to explore.

 

Day 6: Hilo Side
The lush Hilo side of Hawaii’s Big Island will be your home base for your visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Nearby you’ll find a variety of off-the-beaten-track discoveries. Visit the Puna area to find charming restaurants, shops and amazing sights like Lava Trees State Park. You’ll also find even more interesting attractions like the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory and Akatsuka Orchid Gardens.

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Art Galleries and Museums of Hawaii’s Big Island

Whether it’s through paintings, sculptures, glassware, jewellery or hand-carved koa wood bowls, you’ll see the distinct styles that make the art found on the Big Island truly unique.
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Parks of Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii’s Big island features four National Parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as beautiful state and county parks.
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Hilo Farmers Market, Hawaii's Big Island

The Hilo Farmers Market is one of the best open markets in Hawaii, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and local crafts.
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Liliuokalani Gardens, Hawaii's Big Island

Liliuokalani Gardens is a beautifully landscaped, 12-hectare Japanese garden featuring fishponds, pagodas and rock gardens.

 

Day 7: Downtown Hilo
Relax and experience the local side of Hawaii’s Big Island in Downtown Hilo. Visit incredible museums like the Lyman Museum and Mission House, the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, Mokupapapa Discovery Center and the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Shop at the Hilo Farmers Market and other local favourites to discover off-the-beaten-track treasures. Then unwind in amazing parks like Liliuokalani Gardens after your busy trip to Hawaii’s Big Island.

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Art Galleries and Museums of Hawaii’s Big Island

Whether it’s through paintings, sculptures, glassware, jewellery or hand-carved koa wood bowls, you’ll see the distinct styles that make the art found on the Big Island truly unique.
big island images

Parks of Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii’s Big island features four National Parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as beautiful state and county parks.
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Liliuokalani Gardens, Hawaii's Big Island

Liliuokalani Gardens is a beautifully landscaped, 12-hectare Japanese garden featuring fishponds, pagodas and rock gardens.
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Hilo Farmers Market, Hawaii's Big Island

The Hilo Farmers Market is one of the best open markets in Hawaii, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and local crafts.