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