Hawaii (The Big Island)

The largest, youngest and driest of Hawaii’s islands, The Big Island has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, miles of lava fields and active volcanos. It is still growing from eruptions and lava flows from the Mauna Loa and Kiluaea volcanoes.

Fly in and out of the Kona International Airport, located just 15 kilometers from Kona’s town center.

A rental car is needed to get from place to place.

EAT

Punalu’u Bake Shop Pick up malasada donuts from this bakery in Na’alehu on your way to Volcanoes National Park. These sugary, pillowy balls of goodness were brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants.

South Side Shaka Restaurant & Bar A simple restaurant and bar along Mamalahoa Highway in Na’alehu serving up authentic Hawaiian comfort food. It calls itself the “most southern bar in the USA”.

DRINK

Kona Blue Sky Coffee A shop and roastery in Holualoa offering tastings and tours of the tiny plantation next to the shop.

Kona Brewing Company Craft beer microbrewery in Kailua-Kona. Also has good food!

PLAY

Anaeho'omalu “A-Bay” Beach A stunning white sand beach sprinkled with palm trees.

Body Glove Cruises This sunset, dinner cruise from Kailua-Kona to Kealakekua Bay and back features a local historian who shares background on Hawaii, the island and historic sites along the coast.

Hapuna Beach One of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Do not miss its bleached sand.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Holualoa Village An eclectic, artsy little village in the hills above Kailua-Kona. A special ukulele shop that offers ukulele-building workshops lives here.

Magic Sands Beach Local beach south of Kailua-Kona town. Sea turtle spotting here.

Mauna Kea A dormant volcano with astronomical observatories at the summit. Go for sunset and stay for a bit of star-gazing. Bundle up, because of the elevation the temperatures are incredibly cold!

Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site Ruins of temples built by King Kamehameha.

STAY

Stay in Kailua-Kona town if you want to be close to restaurants and night life. Or one of the numerous resorts that dot the coastline nearby.

For a more authentic experience, consider renting a home with a view in the hills. We stayed at Hale Akala in Holualoa, a charming and historic Hawaiian plantation home and guest cottage. The Hale Akala ranch and main house were built and owned by Lindsay’s ancestors in the 19th century.

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Kauai

The smallest and oldest Hawaiian island, Kauai is also the most laid back and rural. Called the Garden Island, it rains nearly every day and is covered in lush rain forests. Head here for quiet beaches and rugged landscapes away from the maddening crowd.

Kauai is remote and the beaches and trails are a distance from each other. Rent a car for your visit to the island.

EAT

Foodland Princeville Get groceries before heading to your rental in Princeville or Hanalei Bay.

Pono Market This small, humble market on the Kuhio Highway in Kapaa has incredibly fresh poké.

Tiki Iniki Tiki-style bar and grill in Princeville with Hawaiian food and fun cocktails.

DRINK

Tahiti Nui Polynesian dive bar and restaurant in Hanalei. Go for happy hour or dinner.

PLAY

Anahola Beach Quiet, locals’ beach on the northeastern face of the island.

Hanalei Bay This natural bay is stunning. Spend an afternoon at the beach and then walk south a few blocks into Hanalei town for happy hour.

Queen’s Bath This natural tide pool in Princeville is beautiful, but can be a treacherous hike and dangerous. Admire the pool versus swimming in it, as this spot has been responsible for dozens of deaths.

Kapaa Town Quiet town on the eastern shore with a handful of shops and restaurants. Visit the the Wailua and Opaekaa falls, both just off the road.

Kalalau Trail Starting from Ha’ena State Park, this 11 mile trail is not for the faint of heart. While difficult, the hike rewards with stunning views of the NaPali coast and is the only way to access its lookouts and hidden beaches, including the beautiful Hanakāpī‘ai Beach.

Kayak Wailua Take a guided kayak tour through the rain forest and down the Wailua River.

Kealia Beach Long beach north of Kaapa Town.

NaPali coastline Kauai’s ancient, jagged coastline is eerily surreal… and familiar (it was featured in Jurassic Park). To appreciate it’s magnificence, take a catamaran day cruise and snorkel trip with Captain Andy’s.

The Sleeping Giant Another hiking trail. However, the Sleeping Giant himself is best viewed from a distance.

Waimea Canyon The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is seriously awe-inspiring. Admire the red canyon walls and waterfalls from one of the look-outs, hike through the Waimea Canyon State Park, or take a helicopter tour through the canyon.

STAY

Rent a house or condo in Hanalei or Princeville depending on the size of your group. Both are near world class beaches, restaurants and nightlife.

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