big-island-vacation-girls-on-beachOf all the holiday itineraries in the Hawaiian archipelago, a Big Island vacation has the greatest potential for variety. There are so many activities available here, and so much space in which to enjoy them. Better still, there is no better place in the archipelago to confront the raw forces of nature.

Most people involved in Big Island Hawaii vacations do most of their sleeping on the west coast, where the selection of rooms, restaurants and bars is best. This allows for daytrips or short, overnight excursions to Hilo, the Volcano and the rugged Hamakua Coast.

What to do while on Vacation

big-island-vacation-swimmingThese are some of the choicest activities available on the Big Island:

Beachgoing – this is the number-one activity on any Big Island Hawaii vacation. Premium rooms in the Kohala resort district open up to spectacular gold- and white-sand beaches, while enviable tracts of coastline, some with black or even green sands, are hidden away in the backcountry and accessible only with a 4WD vehicle.

big-island-vacation-golfingScuba Diving and snorkeling – these sports dominate the Kona coast, where rain seldom falls at sea level. The waters are clear and teeming with tropical fish. Divers can get certified, rent equipment and join chartered offshore excursions. The most popular places to dive or snorkel include Kealakekua Bay and waters near the Keauhou Sheraton Resort, where giant manta rays feed on plankton.

Surfing – conditions don’t get any better than they do here in the birthplace of the sport. Surfing at the Big Island is a little precarious due to the reefs and volcanic rock shelves that sculpt the surf. There are a few beaches suitable for beginners, but most of the Big Island’s waves require some expertise.

Golf– this is a popular pastime on the Big Island, and some of best courses in the archipelago are found right here. The courses that receive the most accolades partner with the resorts of Kohala.

Hiking – this is the best way to really take in the scenery of the Big Island. Hikers can round volcanic craters to the south, hack through lush rainforests on the Hilo side, or cross majestic ridges and fluted ridgelines of the Hamakua Coast.

big-island-vacation-dancingEnjoying a luau – the luau is a staple of all Big Island Vacations. These Polynesian feasts reveal a great deal about the food, culture and traditions of the ancient Hawaiians, but they’re also a lot of fun. With an open bar and an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s kind of hard to resist joining in.

Where to Vacation

The Big Island is also a county, and it breaks down into several districts. Most tourists stay on the west coast of the island, but there are also places to stay on the east (Hilo), south (Volcano) side and north (Hamakua) sides.

Kohala – this is where most tourists are based, especially if they come to the island as part of any of the Hawaii Big Island vacation packages on offer. These glamorous mega-resorts offer the finest accommodation on the Big Island.

big-island-vacation-houseKailua-Kona – this town is located south of Kohala and the airport in the heart of North Kona. It has the best selection of condominiums as well as access to the greatest variety of shops, facilities and entertainment options.

Hilo – in some ways, Hilo is considered the “second city” of the archipelago. It’s capital of the Big Island but remains quiet and residential compared to Kailua-Kona. A few affordable hotels line Banyan Drive.

Volcano Village – on the doorstep of the south coast’s Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is a small and charming community with a handful of restaurants and a few bed and breakfasts to accommodate overnight visitors to the park.

Photos by: rocketvox_