Hawaii - Big Island/Kona Vacations
Twice the size of all other Hawaiian islands combined, the Big Island of Hawaii features striking black- and green-sand beaches, orchid farms, two active volcanoes, and a snow-covered mountain during the winter. Visit Volcanoes National Park and see preserved footprints in an ancient lava flow, and, if you're interested and lucky enough to be there when one is happening, view an active lava flow from close up. For tamer sightseeing, visit Hulihee Palace, King Kalakaua's summer palace, built in 1838, used by Hawaiian royalty until 1916, and now a museum. Or sample Kona coffee where it is grown and milled, and macadamia nuts where they are cracked and canned.
Earn bonus miles with SkyMiles® when you purchase a vacation to this destination. More details
- Choice of accommodations
- Hotel taxes
Good to Know:
|April – November
|Spring and Autumn
|Kauai is four hours behind Central Standard Time and five hours behind Central Daylight Time.
|None needed for U.S. citizens
|Leave 15% or 20% if the service was excellent.
|Hawaii is very casual. Shorts are allowed at most restaurants, except fine dining establishments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
Adventurers & Nature Lovers
Active volcanoes, spectacular hiking and a lush countryside
Beautiful beaches, cultural tours and activities galore
Courses cut from lava flows and shots across an inlet make golf on Hawaii’s Big Island a memorable experience
Scenic views and private getaways make for a romantic paradise
What's the climate like?
The west side of the island is usually sunny and dry, except in January and February. Hilo, to the east, is usually rainy in the winter.
How do I get around town?
Transfers between the airport and hotels are not included, but are available for purchase.
A rental car is highly recommended.
A local bus company goes between Hilo and Kailua-Kona, in addition to offering service within each town. Another local company offers service between Waikoloa and Kailua-Kona.
Bicycles are an excellent way to see the island. However, many roads do not have bicycle lanes, so ride with caution. Visitors can join local clubs for their weekly rides.
Taxis can be found at the airport, most hotels, popular resort areas or by calling directly. Long trips can be expensive, so taxis are recommended when going a short distance or out to dinner.
When are the local events?
Annual Western Weekend in Honoka’a
May. A 3-day event featuring a Hawaiian country-style dance party, paniolo parade, paniolo film night, rodeo and block party.
King Kamehameha Day Celebration Floral Parade
June. Floats, marching units, Pa’u riders, bands and more. Parade begins in downtown Kailua-Kona.
Waiki’i Music Festival
June. Two days of entertainment by Hawaii’s top music groups, cultural exhibits, food, crafts and children’s games. On the Saddle Road at Waiki’i Ranch.
Dolphin Days Summer Fest
June. A 3-day extravaganza including a charity golf tournament, a tropical heat wave pool party and the Great Waikoloa Food, Wine and Music Festival, featuring 20 of Hawaii’s best chefs and concerts with top jazz musicians. Held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
Parker Ranch 4th of July Horse Races and Rodeo
July. Includes action-packed rodeo events, horseracing, food and more. The rodeo gives visitors a rare glimpse at real-life paniolo in action. Held at Parker Ranch in Waimea.
Aloha Festivals Hawaii
September. Experience the very essence of Hawaiian customs, cultures and tradition. An abundance of activities and events are held throughout the island, including the Royal Court investiture, a hulafest, paniolo parade, live music, arts and crafts, food and more.
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
November. Hawaii’s oldest food fest features more than 30 events, including art exhibits, tastings, sporting events, contests and a parade.
First Trip to Hawaii's Big Island
For first-time visitors to Hawaii's Big Island, the sites and activities not to miss include stargazing from atop Mauna Kea at the W. M. Keck Observatory, a visit to Volcanoes National Park and a stroll on a black-sand beach.
Hawai‘i, the Big Island is still growing due to the active volcanoes. King Kamehameha the Great was born and raised on Hawai‘i Island. The Island is home to Parker Ranch, one of the largest cattle ranches in the country. You’ll find 11 of the world’s 13 climatic zones, everything from a snowcapped mountain to tropical beaches.
Take time to notice the architecture of downtown Hilo when you're perusing the shops. Many of these charming old wooden buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. And, every Friday night the doors open wide to welcome art lovers and collectors to their exhibits. Visit with the artists and enjoy the music, wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Visitors to Hawai‘i, the Big Island are usually well aware of the many spectacular white-sand beaches. Some visitors even know about the majestic black-sand beaches. What many do not know is that the Big Island is also home to a green-sand beach. To see the green-sand beach, take your four-wheel-drive vehicle or hike six miles from South Point, Ka Lae, to Mahana Beach.
Though you may be perfectly happy to spend your entire vacation soaking up the sun on a gorgeous beach, sometimes the kids have a different idea. A fun activity for the whole family is a visit to the Parker Ranch Center in Waimea. Here, the Visitor Center and Museum provide a glimpse into both historical and modern-day life at Parker Ranch. Enjoy wagon rides and learning the ways of the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy.