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Where to Stay on the Big Island of Hawaii

Where to Stay on the Big Island of Hawaii

The scenery, weather, accommodations, and atmosphere of the Big Island all vary dramatically depending on location, from the lush rainforests on the west side of the island to sunny white sand beaches on the east. To pick a vacation home base, here's what to know about the island's top towns and what they have to offer.

Kona

Set on the sunny eastern side of Hawaii, Kona is a common entry point to the island. Its proximity to the international airport, picturesque bays, shopping, and historic attractions makes it ideal for those looking for a classic tropical vacation. Enjoy the area’s white sand beaches and historic parks or book a kayaking, snorkeling, or parasailing adventure. 

Hilo

Surrounded by lush mountains and waterfalls, Hilo is an adventure lover's paradise. Set on the west side of the island, Hilo is the opposite of Kona when it comes to geography and climate. Plus, it has its own international airport, making it a great spot to stay if you want to explore the alternate side of the island. For spectacular views accompanied by an adrenaline rush, take an open-door helicopter tour or zipline over the region’s many waterfalls. 

Waikoloa Village

A historic village set on dramatic black lava fields, Waikoloa has blossomed into a hamlet of luxury resorts. History buffs and nature lovers can get a window into ancient Hawaiian culture on a tour that combines historic sites with splashing in waterfalls. Plus, take advantage of the area's sunny weather and vibrant marine life on a cruise and snorkeling adventure along the Kohala Coast.  

Volcano Village

Ideal for those who prefer an intimate vacation rental and mountains over expansive resorts and beach towns, Volcano Village is nestled in the jungle close to the entrance of Volcano National Park. If you want to see the famous volcano, staying in the quaint village saves you time you would otherwise spend traveling there on a tour. Here you can spend the whole day exploring the park on a hiking or biking tour. 

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10 Tours and Activities

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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

star-5
1825
The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.19
From
$204.19

Night Manta Ray Adventure
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Night Manta Ray Adventure

star-5
1419
Have a unique Big Island experience snorkeling with manta rays on this tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll take a short cruise out to the manta site, where you’ll watch the beautiful Hawaiian sunset before dipping into the water to watch the manta rays up close. All necessary equipment will be provided for your excursion, as well as light refreshments and snacks to enjoy on board. Your tour will conclude at its original departure point. If you don't see manta rays on this excursion, book again for another night--no charge.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.00
From
$70.00

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

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683
Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Join no more than 28 guests for a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$246.07
From
$246.07

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

star-4.5
160
A must-do for adrenaline junkies, this aerial adventure takes you over the island’s volcanic landscape, so you can peer into craters and spot lava. Plus enjoy views of waterfalls and other natural features of the Big Island while aboard.
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  • 55 minutes to 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$352.03
From
$352.03

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

Historical Dinner Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

star-4.5
351
Journey back in time — when ancient, powerful Kings ruled the rugged, fertile land of the Hawaiian Islands — on this 3-hour dinner cruise to Kealakekua Bay. Travel 12 miles down the Kona Coast to the Captain Cook monument. Learn the many secrets of the Big Island as a local historian points out more than 50 points of interest along the way.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$160.00
From
$160.00

Big Island Zipline Over KoleKole Falls

Big Island Zipline Over KoleKole Falls

star-5
262
The city of Hilo is surrounded by some of Hawaii’s most scenic wonders, and on this 7-line Hilo ziplining tour, you can literally soar past thundering falls as you zip through a tropical rainforest. Learn about traditional Hawaiian agriculture as you zip by Akaka Falls State Park, and once you’re comfortable sitting in the harness and feeling the exhilarating rush, prepare for the dramatic crossing that’s one of the longest zipines in Hawaii, and feel the rush of wind on your face as the forest opens up beneath you.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$198.50
From
$198.50

Kohala Waterfalls Small Group Adventure Tour
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Kohala Waterfalls Small Group Adventure Tour

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154
Delve into Hawaii’s history and prepare to get wet on this full-day waterfall adventure tour of the Big Island’s Kohala coast. Begin with a drive up the Kona coastline past lava flows, and take in sweeping views from the old Kohala Mule Station lookout. Rumble through the rugged landscape in an off-road vehicle and hike along the tunnels and aqueducts of a historic sugar plantation. Admire the seven Kohala waterfalls and cool off with a dip under the final cascade. A picnic lunch and hotel transport are included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.19
From
$204.19

Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo
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Hawaii Volcano Adventure Tour from Hilo

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63
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is famous for its ever-flowing lava and the planet’s most massive active volcano. This tour journeys to top natural landmarks in and around the park. Visit Rainbow Falls, Richardson black sand beach, Historic Banyan Drive, Liliuokalani Gardens, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, Akatsuka Orchid Nursery, and the active volcano of Kilauea. You also get the opportunity to walk through a lava tube.
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  • 6 hours
From
$195.99
From
$195.99

Triple Crater Hawaii Volcano Hiking Adventure
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Triple Crater Hawaii Volcano Hiking Adventure

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54
Explore three volcanic craters during one great trip on this 11.5-hour excursion on the Big Island. Travel aboard a high-end Mercedes van as you trek to the still-steaming Mauna Ulu, enjoy an amazing hike across Kilauea Iki crater and discover the summit of Kilauea Caldera. All entrance fees, plus a deli-style lunch and and local-style dinner are included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$1,281.06
per group
From
$1,281.06
per group

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

Big Island Snorkel Cruise Along Kohala Coast

star-5
38
Discover the best snorkeling off the Kohala Coast on this 3 hour Big Island snorkel cruise. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, admire Hawaii's postcard-worthy beaches, mountains and shoreline. Then, dive into the pristine Pacific waters for a chance to see beautiful tropical fish, acres of healthy coral reefs and maybe even a green sea turtle!. Marine life briefing, snorkel instruction (both onboard and in the water) and all snorkel gear and flotation devices are included too. Enjoy personalized service from your expert captain and crew and unlimited single-serve beers, wines and soft drinks as well as individually wrapped picnic sandwiches and snacks.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$159.00
From
$159.00