Visitors are usually unprepared for the sheer size and diversity of the Big Island. The island is over 4,000 square miles, and a circular trip around, on Highways 19 and 11, is a hefty 222 miles. During that drive, you pass through dozens of different terrains and climates. (And that doesn’t even include Saddle Road, Lower Puna, any of North Kohala or scores of other places.) Put simply, this island is too big and too diverse to try to see in a few days.
Big Island - Different Regions to plan your trip

 

If you are on the island for three days or less, we recommend that you don’t try to see the whole island; you’ll only end up touring Hawai‘i’s exotic blacktop. Pick a side. Since one of your days should be spent at the volcano, that leaves you with a scant two days to experience either Hilo’s and Puna’s beauty or the Kona side’s range of activities.

Deciding which side of the island to spend the most time on is a difficult decision, but the numbers are definitely skewed. Most visitors spend most of their time on the western, or Kona, side.

How did the islands begin?

The Hawaiian Islands were born of fire thousands of feet below the surface in the icy cold waters on the Pacific Ocean floor. A rupture in the earth’s crust caused a vent to spew hot magma that built upon itself as it reached upward. When it began, no one knows exactly, but the first of the still-existing islands to boil to the surface was Kure. Nothing remains of that island today but its fringing coral reef called an atoll.

As the Pacific plate shifted over the opening of the vent like steel over a cutting torch, more islands were created. Midway, French Frigate Shoal, Necker, Nihoa—all of these once-great islands were….

Read the full chapter in our app. Download here.

Getting there

In order to get to the islands, you’ve got to fly here. While this may sound painfully obvious, many people contemplate cruises to the islands. Here’s a tip—there isn’t a single speck of land between the west coast and Hawai‘i. And 2,500 miles of open water is a pretty monotonous stretch to cover.

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BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII

What to bring

This list may assist you in planning what to bring. Obviously, you won’t bring everything on the list, but it might make you think of a few things you may otherwise overlook:

  • Water-resistant, reef-safe sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher, with the ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) or use a rashguard
  • Two bathing suits
  • Light rain jacket
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • Shorts and other cool clothing
  • Warm clothes (for Mauna Kea or other high-altitude activities) and junk clothes for bikes, etc.
  • Shoes—flip-flops, trashable sneakers, water shoes, hiking shoes
  • Flashlight, if you like caves or for the lava field at night if there’s a surface flow
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Mosquito repellent for some hikes
  • Cheap, simple backpack or mesh gear bag—you don’t need to go hiking to use one; a 10-minute trek to a secluded beach is much easier if you bring a simple pack

Download our Hawaii Revealed app to keep this checklist handy or read everything you need to know about the Big Island before you plan your trip to Hawaii.

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Featured Resorts

Resorts aren’t actually rated 5 or 4 stars in Hawaii per se. We’ll call them the “Top Resorts on the Big Island”

We have also included the best values on each island.

Top 10 Resorts on Big Island

Top 10 Best Resort Values on Big Island

That’s a lot of resorts to choose from! But we didn’t stop at simply reviewing the resorts, we’ve organized them based on amenities, prices and region in one app. If you wanted to know more information, such as which resorts have an outdoor lanai, weddings on site, and a swim-up bar, we’ve catalogued all of that information on our app, which you can filter through.

We have the same custom maps found in the book on our app, only now you can zoom in and quickly see what’s nearby, then tap on the activity to read more. The maps will also show you the distance between the resort and the attraction, making it easy to plan your Hawaii trip.

You can also find the following in our app:

  • Restaurants Reviews
  • Sights Information including their location, pricing, contact details
  • Adventure activities and their reviews
  • A planner to save your favourites spots
  • Maps to view nearby activities, resorts, restaurants and more.

Download the Hawaii Revealed app to see all the real gems and not to be missed sights on the islands.
Download Now!