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Hawaii Island

Hawaii
Honokaa which includes general coastal views

Discover the stunning natural beauty and fascinating history of this paradise island, the largest in the United States.

Hawaii’s Big Island, or officially Hawaii Island, certainly lives up to its name. It is nearly twice the size of all of the rest of the Hawaiian Islands combined. The island consists of five volcanoes that rise up from the Pacific Ocean, creating stunningly beautiful landscapes and picture-perfect beaches, complemented by a rich and fascinating history and culture.

Hawaii Island has many resort regions with top-notch facilities, including gourmet restaurants, luxury spas and superb golf courses, as well as the two main towns Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Car rental companies operate out of these two towns, as well as out of both international airports, as public transport is limited. Driving is the best option if you are planning to spend some time exploring the island.

Head to Kohala Coast to discover some of Hawaii Island’s most popular beaches, such as Mauna Kea Beach and Hapuna Beach State Park. Relax on the pristine sands, or dive into the crystal blue water to swim with the dolphins, turtles and tropical fish native to these waters.

Inland, there are many natural wonders to discover. Hike through the tropical rainforests, see and hear stunning waterfalls, or take in the awe-inspiring spectacle of the island’s two active volcanoes at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will also be able to climb to the peak of Maunakea, Hawaii Island’s tallest peak which, when measured from the sea bed, is taller than Mount Everest. Don’t miss the spectacular views from the remote Pololū Valley Outlook at the north of the island.

As it was once home to the Hawaiian royal family, the island has many sites of strong cultural and historical interest. Visit the 72 hectare Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, once the site of royal grounds, as well as a place of refuge for those who broke the Kapu, or sacred laws. The Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is home to fascinating archaeological sites where you’ll discover petroglyphs, or kii pohaku, native Hawaiian carvings into lava rock which date back hundreds of years.

Hawaii Island’s tropical climate, with over 300 days’ sunshine per year on the west coast, ensures that it is a popular destination all year round. The busiest time falls between December and March, so if travelling in the period it is recommended to book accommodation well in advance. Many surfers head to the island in winter, as the rough winds cause large sea swells, but temperatures remain warm. Hawaii lies in the North Pacific Ocean, 3,219 kilometres from the US mainland.

Hawaii Island Travel Guide Video

Popular cities in Hawaii Island

Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Known for Shopping, Island and Snorkelling
“E komo mai Kona!” That means “Welcome to Kona!” in the native Hawaiian language, and you’ll hear it a lot when you escape to this fabulous tropical rock in the Pacific Ocean. Where is Kona, anyway? It’s on the eastern side of the island of Hawaii, and it’s a perfect destination for your next trip. Why? Because Kona holidays will get you lei’d the second you walk off the plane.

Reasons to visit

  • Magic Sands Beach
  • Kahalu'u Beach Park
  • Kua Bay
Kamuela
Kamuela
Known for Island, Snorkelling and Flower
Relaxing Kamuela is calling! Discover its snorkelling, beaches, sunsets and more.

Reasons to visit

  • Mauna Kea Beach
  • Hapuna Beach State Park
  • Parker Ranch Center
Volcano
Volcano
Known for Volcano, Rainforest and Island
Trip time! Discover the volcanoes, art and gardens in Volcano.

Reasons to visit

  • Kilauea
  • Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
  • Kilauea Iki Crater
Captain Cook showing boating and a lake or waterhole
Captain Cook
Known for Island, Snorkelling and Secluded
Come to secluded Captain Cook and enjoy its snorkelling, natural setting and coffee.

Reasons to visit

  • Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
  • Captain Cook Monument
  • Painted Church
Hilo
Hilo
Known for Dining, Island and Garden
Marvel at the wonders of the natural world and discover traditional Hawaiian cultures, America’s colonial past and modern science all in one place.

Reasons to visit

  • Rainbow Falls
  • Liliuokalani Park and Gardens
Ocean View
Ocean View
Known for Adventure
Escape to Ocean View! Enjoy its adventures and parks.

Reasons to visit

  • MacKenzie State Park