Hawai’i (pronounced “Ha-vie-ee”) is the name of the island as well as the state. To avoid confusion, the single island “Hawai’i” is referred to as the “Big Island” (because it’s so big compared to other islands in the chain). The dramatic size and scope of the largest Hawaiian Island create a microcosm of environments and activities.
Big Island is the state of Hawai’i’s fourth youngest island of the Hawaiian Islands chain and was formed by five volcanoes. Two are still active: Mauna Loa and Kilauea.
In 2004 the resident population on Big Island was 162,971 making it the second most populous island in the State. On this island’s vast tableau, you’ll find everything from extravagant resorts and incredible golf courses to modest local towns and sacred Hawaiian historical sites, from the birthplace of King Kamehameha I to Hawaii’s first missionary church in Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona). With so much to see, it’s best to experience the island in small pieces. There’s plenty of room on Hawaii’s Big Island for your return. It is located on the southeastern end of the 6 major Hawaiian island chain; Kauai, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, and Mau’i.
Big Island Airports
Kona International Airport (KOA) in Kona on the west or Hilo International Airport (ITO) in Hilo on the east.
Major Industries of Big Island
- Sugar cane
- Sustainable tourism
Hawaii’s Big Island is 4,028 sq. miles with greatest dimension at 93 miles (150 km) across from the southern to the northern tip. From east to west it is 80 miles.
Did you know?
- The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, at just over one million years old.
- The daily lava flow keeps the island growing larger every day it is so big in fact, the other Hawaiian Islands could fit on it nearly twice.
- Kilauea is the Earth’s most active volcano and has been erupting since 1983.
- Kona coffee is the only gourmet coffee grown in the United States.
- Just below the summit of Mauna Kea, inside a cinder cone, is Lake Waiau, the only glacial lake in the mid-Pacific. At 13,020 feet above sea level, it is also one of the highest lakes in the world.
- The Big Island has the most diverse weather of any Hawaiian island, including tropical, monsoonal, desert, and permafrost.
It’s easy to feel small on Hawaii’s Big Island. The island was traditionally divided into 7 main districts called moku. With this vast tableau, you’ll find you’ll also find bed and breakfast accommodations, condominiums, vacation rental homes and cottages, as well as B&B’s and hostels. And with so much to see, it’s best to experience the island in small pieces. There’s plenty of room on Hawaii’s Big Island for your return.
The most desirable areas and major resort destinations on Hawaii’s Big Island include; the West Side – Kohala Coast (including North Kohola), South West – Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou, both in Kona, East Coast – Hilo and Puna and North East Coast – Hamakua.
LODGING ON BIG ISLAND
Click on the links below to navigate to each area to explore accommodation options or contact us to discuss and start planning your Big Island paradise vacation today!
NORTH EAST SHORE
LEEWARD/SOUTH and WEST SIDE
Plan your trip during one of Big Island’s many annual special events. Some of the biggest events on the Big Island include the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, the biggest hula competition in the world; and the Ironman World Championship race from Historic Kailua Village in Kona to Hawi and back. No matter what time of the year, you’re bound to find one-of-a-kind festivals, cultural performances and musical events to entertain you during your stay on Hawaii’s Big Island. Here are some not to miss celebrations:
Polynesian Canoe Exhibit (June – September)
King Kamehameha Celebration (June)
31st Annual Cultural Festival (July)
Big Island Hawaiiana Music Festival (July)
Breadfruit Festival (September)
Ironman Triathlon World Championship (October)
41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (November)
The dining choices on Big Island are as vast as the landscape here, from fine dining to laid-back local mainstay comfort food in neighborhoods like Downtown Hilo, to award winning Hawaii Regional Cuisine in Waimea and the resorts of the Kohala Coast. Creative chefs like Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurant take full advantage of the island’s cattle ranches, fresh fish, and local vegetables grown in rich volcanic soil. Bring a hearty appetite to Hawaii’s Big Island.
And no trip to Hawaii’s Big Island is complete without celebrating at an authentic Hawaiian luau. Watch hula performances and dine on traditional Hawaiian food at these fun and festive events. No matter what you eat, a cup of Kona coffee is the perfect way to finish off a big, Big Island meal. Here are some suggested favorites:
Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid in Kohala
Keei Café in South Kona
Merriman’s in Waimea
Pahuia at the Four Season Resort Hualalai in Kohala
Lavas, Legends and Legacies Polynesian Luau in Kailua-Kona
Maha’s Café in Waimea
Whether you’re trying on designer aloha shirts or discovering art inspired by Pele’s fire, leave extra room in your suitcase for some mementos from Hawaii’s Big Island.
From Hawaiian quilts and jewelry to handmade glass and rare koa wood bowls, you’ll find plenty of unique, handcrafted keepsakes by local artisans on Hawaii’s Big Island. Plenty of shopping malls but be sure to get off the beaten path and visit the art galleries and boutiques in the small towns of Holualoa and Hawi. And don’t forget to bring home some Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, jams and other local flavored confections from specialty stores like Hilo Hattie, Big Island Candies and the Maunaloa Macadamia Nut Factory.
Kealakekua Ranch Center – Kona
Keauhou Shopping Center – Kona
Queens’ MarketPlace – Kona
The Kings’ Shops – Waikoloa Beach Resort
No other island lets you see a fiery volcano, a 420-foot waterfall, and a relax on a black sand beach. While offering you a place to swim with manta rays, horseback ride, and whale watch, all on the same visit. Whether you’re visiting Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park in sunny Kona, taking photos with the original King Kamehameha Statue in Kapaau near lovely Hawi, or walking through Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube) in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Learn more about things to do and see why the Big Island is known as “Hawaii’s Island of Adventure”. To help you get started on your Big Island adventure, contact us today for more details, quote and bookings.
Average temperature ranges from 71° – 77° F (22° – 25° C) with cooler climates of 57° – 63° F (14° – 17° C) at the 4,000-foot Hawaii Volcanoes National Park headquarters, and 62° – 66° F (17° – 19° C) at 2,760-foot Waimea. The lush east-side town of Hilo gets more than 130 inches of rain annually, while the Kohala Coast near Kawaihae usually gets no more than five inches a year, which makes for some of the most beautiful, lush scenery around. Ranging from the fern forests of Puna and the cool, misty breezes of Waimea, to the sunny lava plains of Kona and the dry heat of Kau, Hawaii Island is a place of stunningly distinct environments.