Introducing Hawaiʻi the Big Island
We doubt it's possible to get 'island fever' on Hawaiʻi. The aptly named Big Island is fantastically diverse, with miles of highways and – better yet – byways to explore. From age-old fishing villages to modern mega resorts, from snowcapped peaks to sandy beaches, you'll experience tropical splendor backed by an epic history. Hawaiʻi is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and its dramatic terrain will surprise you and take you to extremes.
At 800,000 years old, Hawaiʻi is a baby in geologic terms. It's here you'll find the Hawaiian Islands' highest and largest volcanic mountains– and the world's most active volcano, spewing molten lava since 1983. Circumnavigate the island and watch stark lava desert morph into rolling pastureland and misty valleys, weathered by rain, waves and time.
Ancient history looms large on Hawaiʻi, a place of powerful mana (spiritual essence). The first Polynesians landed at Ka Lae, where the windswept coast remains pristine and undeveloped, and Kamehameha the Great was born in North Kohala. Hula and oli (chant) are powerful forms of living history, and the Big Island has spawned legendary hula masters and the celebrated Merrie Monarch Festival.
Plantation days are long past, but not the colorful legacy. The waves of immigrants who labored in the cane fields added their languages, foods and cultures to the mix. Today, there's no ethnic majority and common bonds are intangible: the pidgin vernacular, easygoing manner and deep love of the ʻaina (land).
Hawaiʻi is surprisingly untouristy. And thanks to its sheer size, there's lots of legroom. While the South Kohala Gold Coast caters to travelers en masse, most island towns are rural and cater to residents. Even the capital seat, Hilo, is a former plantation town that's still slow-paced and populated by kamaʻaina (born-and-raised Hawaiians). Wherever you go, there's a sense of freedom and frontier. The Big Island is a guaranteed big experience.
Best places to stay in Hawai'i - The Big Island
Waterfall adventures on the Big Island of Hawai'i
On Hawai'i Island (aka the Big Island), the beaches aren’t the only spectacular spots for water views. Throughout the island, cascading waterfalls leap off cliffs and tumble down canyon walls...
Hawaiʻi the Big Island destination guides
Kailua-Kona & Around
Exploring the Big Island's volcanoes & valleys
The youngest of Hawaii’s main islands – and it's still growing, with over 500 acres of new land added over the last 30 years– the Big Island of Hawai‘i overflows with outdoor adventures. Here you can hike to the edge of the world’s longest-running volcanic eruption, then climb Hawaii’s two tallest peaks...
Big Island Day Trip: Volcanoes National Park from Oahu
Take a Big Island volcano tour from Oahu on a day trip to Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park. The recent eruptions of Kilauea Volcano have captured the world's imagination, so see the extraordinary landscape for yourself on this Oahu volcano tour. This fully narrated volcano adventure is a great way to explore and learn about the Big Island's volatile geology first-hand.
Fire and Falls Helicopter Adventure from Hilo
This Big Island helicopter adventure will show you the best of Hawaii – volcanoes and waterfalls – from the air! Starting from Hilo, you’ll journey over miles of tropical rainforest on your way to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth; keep your eyes open for lava flowing from the crater.
Hawaii's Big Island: how to make the most of a short trip
Aptly named, Hawai'i the Big Island is BIG. Twice the size of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, they say; and packed with volcanoes, beaches, reefs and fascinating ancient cultural sites. So you only have four days to explore? Don't worry - it can be done. Here’s how I did it...
Sights in Hawaiʻi the Big Island
Activities in Hawaiʻi the Big Island
Tours in Hawaiʻi the Big Island
Restaurants in Hawaiʻi the Big Island
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Kohala & Waimea
Kohala is a study in contrasts. South Kohala is the archetypal sun-and-sea resort mecca, while North Kohala proudly remains rural with nary a high-rise in sight. Waimea, a long-standing ranch town in between, is a central stop for cross-island travelers. From Waikoloa to Kawaihae, Hawaiian history is evident in ancient trails, heiau (temples), fishponds and petroglyphs.