Hawaii Big Island | Big Island 8 Days | Self-drive itinerary, accommodation, food | Big Island Weekly Eat, Drink & Play Tips

Hawaii Island | Driving

Hawaii's Big Island, or Big Island as it is commonly called, is a general term used to refer to the Hawaiian Islands when we talk about visiting Hawaii. The Big Island is not the most visited island, but it is in fact the official Hawaii, officially called Hawaii Island, where the political center of the ancient Hawaii kingdom is located. If you want to play seriously on the Big Island, you usually have to arrange for more than a week. Why? Because Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, with a total area of more than 10,000 square kilometers, it takes more time than other parts of the Hawaiian Islands to play thoroughly.

I think the best way to tour the island is to drive around the island, 2-4 days on the west side, 2 days in the Volcanoes National Park, 1-3 days on the east side, and half a day or so on the south side and north side of the island. Our final itinerary is an eight-day, seven-night drive around the island:

  • Day 1-3: Kona and surrounding attractions, each day after snorkeling and picking nearby attractions, all three nights stay in Kona.
  • Day 4-5: From Kona, head south, stopping at southwestern attractions before entering Volcanoes National Park, which adds up to two days. Two-night stay at a hotel not far from the entrance of the Volcanoes National Park.Hale 'Ohu.
  • Day 6: Drive to the east side of Hilo for one night, play Wailuku River State Park on the west side of Hilo, and drive to Mauna Kea in the center of Big Island to watch the sunset. Stay overnight in Hilo.
  • Day 7: From Hilo, after seeing Akaka Falls State Park, go around the north side of the island and back to Waikoloa Village on the west side, overnight in hotel in HiloHilton Grand Vacations Club Kings' Land Waikoloa.
  • Day 8: Walk around Waikoloa Village, snorkel, and visit the resort.

If you are island hopping and only staying on the Big Island for a day or two, it is recommended that you mainly play the Volcanoes National Park, and if you have enough time, you can stay in Hilo for one night and stroll around Hilo in the morning. since you are island hopping, other snorkeling trips can be done in other parts of the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii Island | Accommodations

Kona has the largest number of tourists staying on the whole island. On the one hand, the southwest side of the island has the most attractions, and on the other hand, Kona is relatively more affordable than Waikoloa on the northwest side of the island, so it's a good place to stay.KonaThere are also the most choices of accommodations. If you like the feeling of staying in a high-class hotel, you can stay in the northwestern part ofWaikoloaSome people even stay at the fancy resorts here for a week. However, if you want to go around the island, or want to go to theVolcanoes National ParkThe program is designed to provide a minimum of two days on the east coast of the Big Island, and is generally recommended.HiloThe accommodation is probably the cheapest in the whole island, and I like this place a lot, but in terms of transportation time, if you want to go to Volcanoes National Park, you can find accommodation in Volcanoes National Park is the best way to save transportation time, so Hilo can be arranged for half a day to one day.

Accommodation on the Big Island of Hawaii was the most important part of our itinerary. Accommodation here is not cheap, plus we don't want to waste too much time on transportation but also want to spend the most reasonable price to stay in the most suitable location, so which hotel to stay on which day is our biggest headache. We've compiled all of our tips in the following article:

Hawaii Island | Attractions

If you look at the map, the island itself can be divided into several areas: Kona in the west, Kohala Coast in the northwest, Hilo in the east, Volcanoes National Park in the southeast, Waimea/Upcountry in the north, and Mauna Kea in the center of the island, each of which has a different landscape and its own character.

West Main Attractions | Kona

The west coast of the island is centered around Kona, which is the west coastline from Kona town, where the Kona airport is located, to the south. Kona town has a lot of stores and hotels, Costco and Target, which is the most convenient area on the island. Most people who like beaches and snorkeling will spend a few days in Kona. In addition to snorkeling and beaches, the Kona area is also home to the largest number of historical sites on the Big Island. Most of the ruins of the ancient Hawaiian kingdoms are located here, so you can also arrange some time to learn about the real "history of Hawaii".

Kona is very suitable for people who like snorkeling, snorkeling can choose to bring their own equipment to find the beach snorkeling, we went to the nearby beach every morning snorkeling, also joined the local snorkeling trips. The advantage of joining the trip is that the time to the light is good, there is also a boat to take us to their own more difficult to reach the snorkeling sites, the boat trip is also a different kind of tour experience, in the middle of the scenic spots to explain, and with a little bit of luck you can also see whales and dolphins, after snorkeling the boat will provide drinks and snacks. We joined theSnorkeling trips with Captain ZodiacThis is a very exciting ride on a Navy SEAL motorboat. This tour is an exciting ride on a seal team motorboat. On the way there, you can see the Kona Old Town from the sea. You can also see the Devil Fish (Ghost Stingray).Night Dive ItineraryIt's also very special.

There are so many great Kona features, and the full tips are organized in this post below:

West Main Attractions | Kohala Coast and Waikoloa Village

Kohala Coast, like Kona, is located in the dry western half of the island. It receives little rainfall and like Kona has beautiful beaches with good weather for snorkeling, and Hapuna beach state park is the largest white sand beach on the Big Island. Hapuna beach state park is the largest white sand beach on the Big Island, and is rich in Hawaiian history and culture. The reason why this area is independent of Kona is because twenty minutes north from the Kona airport is Waikoloa village, a concentration of high-class resorts, and most tourists who come here spend a lot of money to come to the resort to enjoy life. The resorts here are not just big, they are also very gorgeous, and you can spend a whole day just walking around Waikoloa village. This article introduces the sightseeing spots in this area.

East Main Attractions | Hilo

The east coast of the island is centered around Hilo, the second largest city on the island, which is relatively cheap, rainy, and very different from the Kona side of the west. Distance fromVolcanoes National ParkThe proximity of Hilo to the airport has attracted many tourists who are looking for a day trip to the Big Island for a short period of time, and there are a lot of good food in Hilo, so if you are looking for good food, you must visit Hilo. In addition to Hilo town itself, there are also Wailuku River State Park and Akaka Falls State Park nearby, and some of the attractions in Hilo are organized here:

Don't Miss | Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii Volcanos National Park is a must-see attraction on the Big Island. This is the world's largest volcano national park, where Kilauea, an active volcano that erupted 45 times in the 20th century, is still active and erupts magma from time to time. Visiting Hawaii's volcanoes to see the lava is one of the most popular activities on the Big Island.

Detailed tips for Volcanoes National Park:

Self-drive | More Attractions to Visit

Oshima Chuo | Mauna Kea

The volcano in the center of the island is called Mauna Kea, and there is an observatory on top of Mauna Kea.Observatory on Mauna Kea volcanoIt is also a must-see attraction for astronomy fans because it is actually the first astronomical observatory built on a high mountain and the largest astronomical observatory in the world. Since it is located on an island, the terrain is high enough, the weather is stable and there is no light pollution, making it an excellent place for astronomical observation. If you want to go to the top of the mountain to see the stars, there are two things to note:

  1. The road to the top of the mountain requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, so special care must be taken when renting a car.
  2. Because of the high altitude of the peak, it is necessary to take a rest at the intermediate rest stops for about an hour before going up the mountain to prevent altitude sickness.

We didn't go to the top of the mountain because we couldn't rent a four-wheel-drive car. What were we doing here? Actually, we came to watch the sunset. Because the Observatory is so famous, many tourists don't know that the hill opposite to the rest stop is actually the holy place to watch the sunset on Big Island, which is highly recommended by the local residents.

Driving North Shore | Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park

If you are going around the island like we are, you will definitely want to stop by some places. On the north coast, Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park is a beautiful beach park located on the Hamakua coast, the name Laupahoehoe means "the leaf of lava", which describes the small half-island formed by lava in ancient times. The view of the sea is spectacular and it is very quiet with few tourists.

Although it is a beach park, it is not a suitable place for swimming and snorkeling due to the strong wind and waves. In fact, this large green area used to be a village with 2,000 people living in it. Originally, there was a school on the large grassy area, but after the tsunami in 1946, the village was destroyed, and it is now used as a recreational park. Many students were swept away by the tsunami at that time, and we can still see the memorial monument here to record this event.

Driving North Shore | Waipio lookout

Waipio lookout is a famous viewpoint, from the vantage point, you can see the Waipio Valley surrounded by mountains on the north coast, although it was drizzling when we came here, the sea view was still very beautiful. The valley of the kings.

Driving South Shore | Punalu'u Black Sand State Park

Punalu'u Black Sand State Park is actually quite famous, the beach here is different from other places, it is a black sand beach. Besides the special color, there are also a lot of sea turtles here, many people like to come here for snorkeling and turtle watching. If you are going to Volcanoes National Park from Kona, there are many tourists on the way.

Driving South Shore | South Point

South Point is the southernmost point of the island, and the sea view is quite beautiful. The closer you get to South Point, the harder it is to drive. After driving to the end of the road, stop the car and go down for a walk. On the way, you can see the monument of the Kingdom of Hawaii and other ancient Hawaiian ruins.

Hawaii Island | Dining

When you're on the Big Island, don't miss out on the local cuisine. We've spent the last week or so eating all over the island, and we've become obsessed with Hawaiian food. In terms of food, our favorite place was Hilo, so if you're a foodie and have enough time, you might want to spend more time in Hilo. For more details, please refer to the following article:

Further Reading

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