Big Island Itinerary - Intro

5 stars from 2 reviews
Getting started with our Big Island Itinerary travel guides.

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Guide Series: Big Island Vacation Itinerary
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Big Island Itinerary - Day 1
It's technically called Hawaii Island but because it's the largest in the Hawaiian Island chain, we just called it the Big Island. If you're planning a trip here it can be tough to know where to start. Where can I see lava? What are the best beaches? What are the must-see attractions? Where's the best place to snorkel? Where can I find a black sand beach? How do I get to see a waterfall?

These are just some of the common questions we get from those planning an epic vacation to Hawaii's Big Island. So we'll answer those and many more as we guide you through the ultimate Big Island vacation itinerary. Even if you've been here before, we're sure to have some new stuff that you haven't yet experienced.

Because the Big Island is so enormous, the best way to see it is to split your trip into two home bases. The single most popular attraction that the Big Island offers is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. That park is located roughly on the southeast side of the island which means it's easiest to access from the east, or Hilo side. So you'll want to start your trip with lodging somewhere in or near the Hilo area. This gives us a good home base on the east side of the island which will cover days 1 through 4 of your vacation.

On day 4 we'll have you drive over to the west, or Kona, side of the island where you'll spend days 4 through 9. When looking for lodging on the Kona side, the most popular areas will be Waikoloa, Kailua-Kona, and Captain Cook with the Waikoloa Resorts being the most popular by far.

As with any travel planning guide or itinerary, this is just meant to give you ideas. While you certainly can follow it exactly as we've written it, you may want to move things around, skip some items, or otherwise rearrange what we have in here to best fit your vacation style.

With that in mind, consider this a Big Island vacation guide template that's meant to be customized to fit your personal tastes and mood. As you decide on which places to stay, which activities to do, and which beaches to visit, be sure to add them to your Hawaii vacation planner. You can then access all of the items on your planner from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone on the go.

We've separated our Big Island Itinerary Travel Guides into 9 separate articles for up to 9 full days of ideas that show some of the Big Island's most popular attractions and things to do. We've generally written these in order of importance so those who are only visiting Hawaii Island for a few days will want to look at the early days the most. You can view them in order or skip around as you wish. Happy planning...

Big Island Itinerary - Day 1

Big Island Itinerary - Day 2

Big Island Itinerary - Day 3

Big Island Itinerary - Day 4

Big Island Itinerary - Day 5

Big Island Itinerary - Day 6

Big Island Itinerary - Day 7

Big Island Itinerary - Day 8

Big Island Itinerary - Day 9

If you're visiting other islands be sure to check out our other itineraries:

Oahu Itinerary - Intro

Maui Itinerary - Intro

Kauai Itinerary - Intro

Lanai Itinerary - Intro

Molokai Itinerary - Intro

Joined: Feb 2018
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
I went on this trip over christmas in 2016. What I learnt was this: Big Island is amazing. But rent a car here, the island IS big! So that was what we did. The active volcano, the snow on top of the Mauna Kea (you really go dizzy driving all the way up there from air deficits).

The Akaka falls state park was nice to see, however a little crowded. I loved Volcano National Park, especially the real flowing lava that was there to be seen!

Further north we saw all these wild streams due to rainfall, also went to this deli place near an avocado farm. There I was told that Big Island grows over 100 avocado varieties. I only knew 3 types. But more important we stepped by the Macadamia farm, which is operated by the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm and Factory. Interesting, and also great to try all Macadamia flavours.

Anyway I enjoyed Hilo, being a fun town and less tourism then you would expect. The rain is OK, it is warm anyway. I was here at New Years eve so we found this party of locals a little north of Hilo. We had fun dancing, however Waikiki might be more the place to spend New Years if you want to experience some parties. Also Kona was nice to visit but more being a tourist. Lots of restaurants and hotels here.

In Kona we did a night scuba tour and saw some Manta Rays while snorkeling. Amazing must do experience.
Sue E
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 27
Likes Received: 3
So much to see, definitely use the guide to judge what you want to see first.
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