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Trips & Activity Planning

Things to Do on the Island

Vacationing on the Big Island is a once–in–a–lifetime experience, although you certainly wouldn’t be faulted for making a habit of it. Covering more than 4,028 square miles and surrounded by impeccable, velvety-blue waters, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago provides its guests the ultimate in relaxation and opulence, with exhilarating outdoor adventures in equal measure. Whether your idea of an island holiday is soaking up the warm rays of the sun on an Eden-esque beach covered with golden sand or scuba diving amidst vibrant sea creatures, the Big Island exceeds expectations.

Traveling to the Big Island

The Big Island is home to a few airports, but its two most common points of entry are Kona International Airport and Hilo International Airport, which are strategically placed on opposite ends of the island. 
For those staying on the sun-splashed Kohala Coast, you’ll want to fly into The Kona International Airport. For those who are visiting the northeastern side of the island, ensure you take a flight into Hilo. While several airlines fly into Hawaii (the Big Island’s is it’s real name), two of the most popular airlines are Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
From its historical, artsy villages to its award-winning restaurants, the Big Island can take months to explore. That said, you may have the itch to visit its outlying islands, which you can simply do with an interisland flight to:
  • Maui
  • Molokai
  • Lanai
  • Oahu
  • Kauai

Getting around the Big Island

Because there is so much to see and do on the Big Island, we recommend renting a car. Several reputable rental car companies service the island; each has a wide selection of vehicles to accommodate your needs.


With romantic bed and breakfasts tucked onto lush volcanic slopes, elegant waterfront resorts mere steps away from the sand, historical retreats located (literally) in the clouds, and high-end Airbnb’s with luxe amenities — the Big Island abounds with extraordinary and even unusual accommodations. If you’re staying on the Big Island for some time, you may want to travel to different accommodations to gather a deeper and more complete understanding and appreciation of the island. This will also help you minimize transportation times.

Things to Do

When visiting the Big Island, it’s less about what to do than where to start? For individuals who feel the freest and happiest in the ocean, the island has a seemingly limitless number of water activities available, including:
  • Snorkeling 
  • Scuba diving
  • Kite-boarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Surfing
  • Kayaking
  • Stand-up paddling
  • Swimming with manta rays
  • Snorkeling with dolphins
  • Sailing
  • Fishing
And yet, landlubbers are just as delighted with the Big Island’s magnificent array of choices. 
Hiking trails are found across the island, whether you want to trek to a towering waterfall, into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or down to a beach glistening with green (yes, green) sand. 
Luxury shopping is also amply available on the western side of the island, where upscale, open-air plazas display fashion, accessories, gifts, and decor from locally-owned and world-renowned brands. 
Watching the magnificent sunset, which is wildly different every night, is another local favorite. This can be savored at any of the island’s glorious beaches or over mai tais and Big Island-crafted artisan beers at the bars and taverns along the Gold Coast. 
Then there are the beaches themselves. Kua Bay, Papakolea, and Mauna Kea Beach are all fantastic in their own way. The island also has a rich, nuanced history that can be glimpsed everywhere, from historic coffee farms to immense heiaus. Indeed, from golfing the pristine greens at Makani Golf Club to indulging in a Lomi Lomi massage at one of Hawaii’s refined spas, the breathtaking island soothes, delights, and thrills around every corner. 

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