Lv 4
April asked in TravelUnited StatesHonolulu · 9 years ago

Traveling to Hawaii - the big island?

We are planning a trip to the big island of Hawaii at the end of April. I'm trying to figure out where to stay and which airport to fly into. We are not into cities and nightlife and we're looking to stay in an area where there is a lot of natural beauty and hopefully a beach. We want to spend time at Volcano National Park. Which town should I try to find a house in to rent? Any suggestions? Which side of the island would be better?

9 Answers

  • Randy
    Lv 4
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I sometimes wonder if some of the people giving answers on here have actually been to places they talk about. First of all, let me correct some incorrect information previously given, Hilo does get a lot of rain, but nowhere near 300" a year...try 70"! As a result, it also is much greener than Kailua-Kona, which is where most of the hotels/resorts are because people come to Hawaii for sunshine, not rain. On the other hand, if you want lush, tropical scenery, you need rain!

    The other benefit you get when you have rain is that you get waterfalls. There are two in particular that are easily accessible near Hilo, Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls. On the west side of the island, not only are there no waterfalls, there are no permanent streams or rivers...just those that occur when they do happen to get a heavy rain.

    If you are interested in visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you would do best to base your stay on the Hilo side of the island. That could be in Hilo, Mountain View, Keeau, Kurtistown, and Volcano Village.

    And, while it is possible to drive around the island in a day, it is not advisable unless you just want a windshield tour of the island. You can easily spend a full day or days exploring the Volcanoes National Park and its uniqueness makes it well worth the effort. In this one location, you can see endangered native species of birds and fauna, an excellent field of Hawaiian petroglyphs, and, if you're lucky, an active volcano. (I say lucky because while the eruption has been continuous for quite some time, it is not always in an area that is accessible for viewing.)

    If you take a drive to the eastern end of the island, pass Pahoa, you will find a few nice black sand beaches, although, they are frequented mostly by locals. I would recommend going Mon-Thur and leaving it to the locals on the wknds to minimize the chances of running across some of the less-than-friendly types. (Always go with your gut, if you're not comfortable with those around...leave!)

    Or, you could drive about 30 miles beyond the HVNP entrance towards Kona and stop at Punaluu State Park, a black sand beach just a mile off the main highway. No food facilities, but restrooms and a covered pavillion is there, if not already in use. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles love to frequent this bay and beach for both food and resting.

    I invite you to go to my blog, www.myhawaiifoodfun.com, and view the posts on A Drive Around The Big Island (Parts 1-3) for more information, as well as my website, www.myhawaiionline.com/islands.html and click on the Big Island for more information that you might find helpful.

    Source(s): www.myhawaiifoodfun.com www.myhawaiionline.com
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  • c c
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    You will probably fly into either Hilo or Kailua-Kona. If you want beaches, go to Kailua, then drive around the island to visit the volcanoes. If you want greenery, flowers, etc, go to Hilo or Puna area.

    Kailua Kona is practically a desert (hence the name KONA which means 'dry side') receiving an average of 7 inches of rain per year. Yes. Seven. Hilo, on the other hand, gets more than 300 inches per year.

    There really isn't a lot of nightlife on the Big Island. You can find it if you search for it, but you really have to try. Most of Hilo town practically shuts down at night.

    We rented a really nice cottage in Volcano Village. No beaches, but the scenery was dreamy and we were really close to the Park. Fairly easy drive to other scenic areas. http://www.volcanogallery.com/lodging/CarsonsCotta...

    Or split the difference and stay in the North Kohala area. As long as you stay away from the 'turn' (Kona side) you will see greenery and have access to beaches. Kona has lots of beaches though, but not as 'green' if you will. Then you can drive the scenic coast drive to the Volcano National Park or Saddleback road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

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  • 9 years ago

    Most airlines fly into either Kailua Kona or Hilo. As for where to stay, it really depends on what you want to do during your stay. Most of the nicer swimmable beaches, snorkeling and big resorts are on the western, Kona side of the island. Kona is also home to the world-famous Kona coffee so if you're a java junkie, it's worth a trip to check out how they grow and process coffee.

    There are hiking trails throughout the island. Volcanoes National Park is on the East side about 30 minutes' drive from Hilo (the major East-side town) and Mauna Kea is around 30-45 minutes' drive from Hilo and is most definitely worth a visit if you want to see some of the clearest star-gazing on the planet.

    It's about 2.5 to 3 hours to drive from Volcanoes to Kailua Kona so it's totally doable to drive around the entire island in a day - something I'd also recommend since our island is so diverse (it has 12 of the 14 climate zones found on earth).

    You don't say whether you're visiting any of the other islands at all. If you are and are limited on time, I would recommend staying in Hilo so you have easy access to Volcanoes Park and the lava viewing at night (which is outside of the park) since none of the other islands have an active lava flow.

    Good luck planning your trip! Aloha!

    Source(s): Resident of Kailua Kona for the past 5 years
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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    In Hawaii will energizes you the fresh, floral air energizes you. The warm, tranquil waters will refresh you and the breathtaking, natural beauty renews you so now is about the time to know this amazing place, starting from with hotelbye because look around! There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. In Hawaii, the six unique islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveller. In Hawaii you will discover your ideal travel experience. Waikiki is one of the Hawaii islands and is the Hawaii's biggest tourist attraction. A suburb of Honolulu, Waikiki is easy to reach and offers all the amenities and entertainment of a modern city. At the end of the crescent shaped beach is the extinct volcano known as Diamond Head Crater, adding a spectacular backdrop to the incredible sun drenched beach.

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  • 9 years ago

    I've only been to the Hilo side because that is where the volcanoes are; it is too far as a day trip from the Kona coast which is the beachier and sunnier side.

    Hilo does have coastline and there are beaches on that side. The volcano park is like nowhere on earth and I highly recommend it. Also take a trip up Mauna Kea.

    Book your rental car in advance as they run out!

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  • Louise
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Unless you're taking a 7-day cruise among the Hawaiian islands, you'll probably have to fly at this point. You can take a jet with bigger airlines like Hawaiian, or you can fly in a propellor plane with Island Air (about the size of a school bus), or Pacific Wings (9-seaters). The smallest planes get much closer to the islands and towns, and the windows are bigger--better for photography. On the other hand, you may not want to eat before you get on one of the smaller planes. Pacific Wings asks you to carry your "aloha bag" off the plane if you use it.

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  • 9 years ago

    Hi if I can offer a suggestion... I would go to Oahu. My husband and I went to Turtle Bay Resort for our honeymoon and it was beautiful. Its like 45 min out of Wakiki and so beautiful! We are not into clubs and stuff at all so we didnt want to stay in the city. You can charter a plane and Island Hop as they call it if you want to see Volcano Park. Pearl Harbor is also on this island, if you go to Oahu you must visit it! I know Oahu is beautiful, and I heard Maui was even better. My friend went to the Big Island for her graduation trip, and she said she wished she had went to another island. There is so much natural beauty in Hawaii. At turtle bay there are miles and miles of walking trails(if you have ever seen LOST some of the scenes were filmed at this resort), and as the name represents there were tons of sea turtles! I hope ya'll have an awesome time! Oh, if you book through travelocity you can save a ton! Make sure you rent a car and drive around the island!

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  • DeAnne
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Hilo side is more beautiful because it gets so much more rain. It has mosquitos and no beaches.

    You could arrive at Hilo Airport in a.m., drive south, see the big lava tube, and the Volcano info center which has a movie.

    Drive down to Volcano just before sunset. Clouds of red and orange steam rise as hot lava enters the ocean. Stay at Volcano house or one of the many pricy B&B's there. Stay there longer if you want to hike some of the trails but it's barren, hot and awful...usually smells of sulphur.

    Next day stop at Black Sand Beach - water is choppy but if you dare to swim, there are turtles.

    Stop at City of Refuge - an outdoor museum.

    Then north up the Kona Coast. Taste free coffee at any of the coffee mills.

    Cheapest hotel in Kona is Kona Seaside, across from ocean, water activities, pier, fishing, boats, para-sail, etc. Homes cost much more than hotels.

    You can visit swimming pools at any of the hotels as long as you look like a tourist (wear a hat, sun glasses, carry one or more tourist magazines). King Kamehameha has live music at sunset.

    Warning: If you visit, you may want to stay. I absolutely could not wait to move here. Hoped for a vacation but my dream came true. Living here! On the big island, the largest and most affordable of the islands.

    Hawaii is the best place to live as far as beauty, climate and culture. I'm retired so I don't know about jobs but you can check those at the main newspapers: westhawaiitoday.com and staradvertiser.com.

    Also craigslist.com and Hawaii's Dept of Labor.

    1 bdm or studio apts start at about $700/mo. Mine is a large studio, turnkey furnished for $725/mo plus tax = $755. That's rare. It was a miracle, so pray first. God can perform miracles for anybody.

    You can get on a 2-3 yr waiting list for HUD Section 8 and other state/city/county housing programs. Wait lists are long because everyone wants to live here. They will write you when your name comes up on the list. Then you have 30 days to leave where you are, come to HI and find an apt.

    So, after about 2 yrs, you can start paring down, selling stuff gradually or giving it to a charity for tax receipt.

    Cheapest condos to buy are on Big Island where I live. 400 sq. ft 1 bdm/studios for $99,000 right on the ocean. That's a steal. Most other condos - especially oceanfront - are $300,000.

    Sign up at aadvantage.com for American Airlines credit card. After you buy and pay for $750 worth of purchases in the first 4 months, they give you 25,000 air miles. Enough for round trip on mainland or 1-way to Hawaii. That's how I got here - WHAT A DEAL!!

    It's in 70s at nite and 80's during the day. Spring/summer every day. We don't allow winter here. haha. Also no road rage, bill boards, no a/c needed, no heating bills, no snow tires, anti-freeze, no wardrobe. Everyone wears t shirts and shorts - even to church.

    Electric is high but you can get gas stove. Most apts and condos now have solar heated water heaters.

    Gas is about $3/gal but you can save 5 cents/gal by joining hicommfcu.com (credit union) or getting a Shell card. A tank lasts me 2 months. We don't drive as fast or as far so tires and gas last a long time.

    Food is higher because most everything is imported But you can plant trees and grow veggies. Papayas bear fruit the first year. Ocean full of fish, mountains have wild bigs. You can almost live off the land. Year-round growing season.

    No bottled water needed; ours is very safe. No air purifiers needed, either. Air over the Pacific is some of the cleanest there is.

    There's Plenty of fun things to do. Lots of clubs and support groups. Beaches and parks are free.

    Hawaiians are very laid back. Everyone drives with aloha. Nobody cuts in, nobody honks.

    Very peaceful contented place.

    Source(s): Been here since 1978 which makes me somewhat of an expert :)
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  • KONA. do not go Hilo side. Kona is more peaceful, much more beautiful, better beer, and their saturday market is always fun. Kona side also hosts some of the best beaches north or south of the city, especially if you go up towards Waimea, just before anaehoomalu Bay area, I would say about 3/4th a mile before, that entire stretch is nothing but quiet, deserted beaches. If you have any questions email me sista. aloha.

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