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The Big Island

Should we drive around the entire Island?

We will be spending two weeks in Hawaii (2 adults, 2 kids) and are trying to decide if we should have a home base or keep moving.  We want to see as much as possible but not feel like we are rushed or moving every single day.  Can the entire Island be seen in two weeks or should we pick 3 or 4 destinations and explore out from there?  Any budget suggestions for lodging or car rental would be appreciated as well.

5 Answers

top answer by
J from Seattle

Two weeks is plenty. Definitely get up to Hawi and hike the Polulu trail in Waipio valley if your kids are old enough. Stay at Airbnbs or VRBOs. The hotels on BI are older and not that great anyway. All beaches are public, so there's no need to stay at a fancy hotel to get a nice beach. 

3 thanks

answered by
Crystal from Anchorage

Hi there,

I agree with the first answer that splitting your time between two bases would be the best idea. Half of your time in Hawaii could be spent on the Kona (west) side of the island which typically has calmer beaches, better for snorkeling. You could do most of your beach time on the Kona side, and maybe also do a day trip to the south west coffee growing region. When you move to the Hilo (east) side of the island you could devote more time to land based activities such as exploring Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National ParkVolcano Trees State Park, the Hilo Farmers Market (Wednesday and Saturday), horseback riding in Waipio Valley, or visiting the observatory at Mauna Kea. Oh yea, there are some nice beaches on that side too, but the waves tend to be a little rougher!

This does depend on your family's interest and children's age, but if you have an active bunch this is a great option!

Happy Travels!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hawaii (attraction)
  2. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (attraction)
  3. Hilo Farmers Market (restaurant)
  4. Waipio Valley (attraction)
  5. Mauna Kea (attraction)
2 thanks

answered first by
Jonathan from Durham (North Carolina)

I love the BI and there is much to see and do. How old are your kids? What are your interests? My first instinct is stay a week in Kona and week on the Hilo side. But that answer could change due to your personal interests. You can do day trips from both without too much drive time.

2 thanks

answered by
Bill from Detroit, Michigan

You cant! Flowing lava has cut the South road for over 25 years. You can see the lava and the other side of the road closure, but you cannot get there from here. DO drive around the northeast corner and take LOTS of pics!

1 thanks

answered by
Alecia from Kailua Kona

Hi sunny! I lived on the big island for 6 months and have a special place in my heart for it! You'll have a great time for sure and it's a wonderful island with so much diversity. 2 weeks is a good amount of time to see most important things I think but I was there for 6 months and kept finding fun things to do. If you don't want to keep moving and feel rushed, I suggest staying on the kona side most of the time and the Hilo side for a few days too. You can drive to everything else from those two places as day trips. You could also stay in volcano a couple nights if you want. There's a lot of hiking and such a different feel than the other parts because it is a lot cooler. I would be happy to give you specific recommendations from each places, etc or pretty much anything you want to know ask me! Definitely need a car though! And be prepared to have an adventurous trip!

1 thanks

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