Hawaii is beautiful! Each Hawaiian Island is unique in different ways. Seven of the eight major islands to visit, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit. Out of Niihau, Kauai, Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, or the Big Island (aka Hawaii island), Kahoolawe is the only island not open to tourists. Every island offers a different experience, scenic views, activities, restaurants and eateries, and much more. This blog will be focused on Big Island and Maui.
WHERE TO STAY IN BIG ISLAND
We only stayed three nights but a week is more ideal. Big Island is large (twice the size of all the other islands combined) and very diverse. There are a wide variety of accommodations available. If you have a week to spare you’ll want to stay four nights in Kailua-Kona on the west side and three nights in Hilo (or Volcano) on the east side.
We stayed in Royal Kona and is located on Kailua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. All the resort’s rooms have private lanais. You will like their private saltwater lagoon and their short walk to downtown nightlife, restaurants and shopping. They have luaus three times a week. The restaurant/bar area is located right on the water and make sure you capture the beautiful sunset. There are also local musicians playing on some nights. Although the resort is about 50 years old, all the public areas are very well maintained.
Staff are friendly. Keep in mind, parking and WiFi are separate charges. The room was great with ocean view. The balcony was the nicest feature of the room, very spacious and has two comfortable rocking chairs.
BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII – THE ORCHID ISLE
Big island of Hawaii, also known as Big Island, encompasses 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones. Renting a car is a good idea.
THINGS TO DO ON THE BIG ISLAND:
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
If you want to see a somewhat active volcano then come here. It’s an amazing park and best to come on a sunny day. There are a number of easy to moderate hikes here that go through hardened lava tubes, magma and lush green vegetation.
Explore the village of Kona
You can drive further south to explore some of the beautiful west coast beaches. Stop at Kealakekua bay for some swimming and snorkeling and to check out the James Cook Monument, and then get back in your car and drive 4 miles south to Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau (also known as the city of refuge or Honaunau bay).
Go shopping or window shopping and take a little stroll along the shops at the boulevard and/or visit the Farmers Market and Tsunami Museum.
Then drive north over highway 19 via the rainbow falls to the Hamakua Coast. Visit the ‘Akaka Falls state park to see the most famous waterfall or the World Botanical Gardens.
Visiting a Luau while vacationing in Hawaii is a “must-do” event. A luau is a memorable and fun dinner show with local food and island entertainment. At Royal Kona Resort they were held in a gorgeous setting and the show was entertaining.
Other must visits in Big Island are
Snorkel at Kahaluu Beach Park, also known as “Turtle Beach” and “Two Steps” by Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.
Crater Rim Drive.
Kilauea Iki Trail.
Green Sand Beach – Papakolea.
WHERE TO STAY IN MAUI
The island offers a large range of accommodations, from budget hotels to 5-star hotels and bed & breakfasts. Many of the luxury resorts are located along the west coast near Kaanapali. There are a few major resorts are in South Maui, especially in Wailea. You will find beautiful beaches and good weather no matter where you look. In South Maui, Kihei is also a popular place to stay. We stayed at Maui Beach Hotel.
MAUI – THE VALLEY ISLE
The second-largest island is home to one of the best beaches in the world.
Pa’ia is a charming and eclectic town and is home to some of Maui’s most distinct shops and best restaurants. There is something for everyone within the few short blocks of Pa’ia. It was fun watching the surfers at Pa’ia Bay and stroll along the dozens of unique shops. Then grab some delicious food in town.
Visit Haleakala Crater. According to Hawaiian mythology, the demigod Maui lassoed the sun, it’s also one of the most beautiful places you could possibly watch it rise. Notice the dormant volcano’s multi-colored hues of the sweeping red, black, brown and green-colored crater make for the perfect backdrop to a Hawaiian sunrise. One of the most popular (and shorter, at 4 miles roundtrip) is Pipiwai, which leads to the Waimoku Falls and the Pools of ‘Ohe’o.
Tour Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery
It’s located in the middle of nowhere but once you arrive their lush landscape and scenic surroundings will take your breath away. The tour guides are friendly, and knowledgeable. Take some time to stroll around the property. The vodka is smooth and delicious. Don’t forget to take home some souvenirs.
Road trip to Hana
This 65-mile road to Hana is one of the most picturesque drives on anyone’s list. While the road is narrow and winding but it’s worth it. Notice the turquoise waterfalls, wild birds, lush plants and mesmerizing ocean views. Stop by at the many snack shacks.
Mama’s Fish House
Have lunch or dinner here and I would suggest making reservations as this place gets booked completely esp. for dinner. The place is scenic and you would want to arrive early to take some pictures. The restaurant is right next to the Beach at Paia. It’s on the way to the famous Road to Hana. The decorations inside and outside are tasteful and very islandish and they have big open windows. Gorgeous flower arrangements are everywhere, it’s a perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
The food was fresh, the drinks were tasty, and the desserts were divine. Th prices are high but it’s well worth it for the overall experience.