Five Ways to Holiday on Hawaii Island | Go Hawaii

Five Ways to Holiday on Hawaiʻi Island

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The southernmost and largest island in Hawaiʻi, also named Hawaiʻi, has eleven out of the world's thirteen climate zones! It's a special place, home to Hawaiʻi's only active volcanoes and tallest mountain. Hawaiʻi Island caters to vacations of every kind, from the romantic and relaxing to the unforgettable and foodie-focused. And there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Hawaiian culture. 
Couple look onto Pololu beach from hiking trail

Nui (Big) on Romance

The Island of Hawaiʻi is not just big in size but big in romantic pursuits. Whatever the special occasion, Hawaiʻi can deliver everlasting memories. 
The largest concentration of resorts on Hawaiʻi Island is on the Kohala Coast. It's an idyllic setting for romantic escapes, known for sunny weather, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees. Book a luxury stay at one of the huge Four Seasons, Marriott, Fairmont or Hilton properties. 
For something a little more intimate, seek off the beaten path accommodations. Hawaiʻi Island has an excellent selection of vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts (B&B). Cuddle up in a guest cottage at Volcano Rainforest Retreat, a charming boutique B&B in Volcano Village
As the largest Hawaiian Island, Hawaiʻi is a top destination for one-on-one road trips. Plan an itinerary that incorporates stops at local farms. Together, enjoy tours and tastings at a coffee or tea plantation, chocolate or macadamia nut orchard, or a seahorse, octopus or beekeeping farm. 
Surprise a loved one with an oceanfront meal on Hawaiʻi Island, timed to take place at sunset. Head to Lava Lava Beach Club at ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay or ‘Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons Hualālai for absolute beachfront dining. Pick a bar along Kona's Aliʻi Drive for a harbourside 'happy hour’. 


Woman receives massage near beach

Keep it Mālie (Calm)

The laidback presence of the Island of Hawaiʻi is felt the minute you land. The locals are never in a rush, and visitors shouldn't be either. 
Spend a day on the Island of Hawaiʻi, relaxing at one of the many gorgeous ocean tide pools and brackish (freshwater and saltwater) ponds south of Hilo. Try Richardson's Ocean Park, a calm black sand beach with a picnic area and tide pools perfect for snorkeling
Dense rainforests and flourishing waterfalls bless the East side of Hawaiʻi Island. Immerse in this beauty at Hawaiʻi Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, a magical 20-acre valley containing over 2,000 species of flora. Meander nature trails over quiet streams and past bubbling waterfalls. 
Allow stress to slip away with a Hawaiʻi-inspired spa treatment. Fairmont Orchid's Spa Without Walls give massages in outdoor huts by a waterfall or oceanside. Their signature massage, the Hiwa Hiwa, incorporates Big Island flower essences and a mamaki (native plant) volcanic mud wrap. 
Unwind by playing a round of golf on Hawaiʻi's most scenic golf courses. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has two prestigious links-style courses, Mauna Kea and Hāpuna. Both 18-holes feature immaculate fairways intertwined with coastal terrain, lava rocks and Pacific Ocean views. 
Manta diving

Chee hoo! Once in a Lifetime

There are unique activities on Hawaiʻi Island that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the state. 
Manta rays exclusively inhabit Hawaiʻi's waters off the Kona Coast. An eco-friendly way to see these majestic creatives up close is on Anelakai Adventures Manta Ray Night Snorkel. This small-group tour travels in a double-hulled canoe; the rays swim up to the light between the two hulls.
Hawaiʻi Island is a world leader in stargazing with first-class telescopes atop Maunakea, Hawaiʻi's highest mountain. Ascend 4.2 km (14,000 ft) from sea level to summit with Hawaiʻi Forest & Travel. Take in the universe's wonders at a private star show led by a knowledgeable guide. 
The only active volcanoes in Hawaiʻi are found on Hawaiʻi Island. Witness the Kīlauea eruption (currently active) at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, 40-minutes south of Hilo. Make the visitor center one of your first stops; their exhibits cover the park's environment, history and culture. 
Sizeable blue marlins live year-round in Kona's surrounded deep sea, making this town an exceptional choice for sportsfishing. Plan a Kona fishing adventure with Humdinger Sportsfishing or Sportsfish Hawaiʻi. Both companies offer private fishing charters with experienced crews.
Fresh fruit at a farmers market

Local Meaai (Dining)

Agriculture is thriving on Hawaiʻi Island, with over 4,000 farms. Taste locally produced delights at farms, markets, restaurants, and more. 
What better place to sample Hawaiʻi Island foods and beverages than direct from the source. Visitors can book farm tours at O.K. Farms (lychee and other fruits), Honokaʻa Chocolate Co., Greenwell Farms (coffee), Hawaiian Vanilla Co., Hāmākua Macadamia Nut Co., and more. 
Fresh island-grown fruits and vegetables, including giant avocados, sweet apple bananas and Hāmākua mushrooms, can be picked up at farmers' markets. Visit Kona Farmers Market on the West Coast and Hilo Farmers Market on the East Coast, to name a few. 
While in Hilo, take advantage of the town's excellent vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Most ingredients are organic and locally sourced. Standouts include Sugar Cane Cafe's plant-based meals with sugarcane drinks and The Booch Bar's healthy eats and kombucha.
Hawaiʻi Island is the perfect place to dine on authentic Hawaiian food. Kanaloa's Super J's dishes up laulau (pork steamed in taro leaves) with lomi salmon, white rice, potato and macaroni salad. Umeke’s is famous for high-quality fresh Hawaiian poke (cubed raw marinated fish). 
Kii at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, South Kona

Ike (See) Hawaiian Culture

Various elements of indigenous Hawaiian culture are preserved across Hawaiʻi Island; these attractions provide a window into Hawaiʻi's origins. 
Hawaiʻi Island has two of the best historic parks in Hawaiʻi. View a hale poki (sacred house) and carved wooden kiʻi (statues) at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, plus kiʻi pōhaku (petroglyphs) and heiau (religious sites) at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.
Lyman Museum is a Hawai‘i-based natural history museum in Hilo. Spend time in the Island Heritage Gallery, where you can follow a historical pathway from Polynesian settlement to the present day, and the Earth Heritage Gallery, where you can discover Hawaiʻi before human contact. 
Peer into Hawaiʻi's intriguing past at Huliheʻe Place. This oceanfront estate in Kona, restored in the 1920s, was once the holiday home of Hawaiʻi's royalty. Take a docent-guided tour of its six rooms, highlighted by cultural relics from the era of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapiʻolani
Learn about the unique history of Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys) and Hawaiʻi's ranching industry at Paniolo Heritage Center. Explore the stories of paniolo, peruse a collection of images and artifacts, including original Hawaiian saddles, and shop ranch-themed gifts upon your departure.

No matter what type of holiday you're looking for, Hawaiʻi Island has something for everyone. 

Ashlee Galea is an Aussie living in Hawaiʻi who enjoys sharing Hawaiʻi insider knowledge and travel advice on her blogs The Hawaiʻi Admirer and Waikīkī Beach Stays.