Inside Tips To Enjoy Your Trip To Hawaii Island


I know there are a few of you coming to the Big Island who are time crunched and don’t have time to research all that there is to do and enjoy on the island. Of course, everyone has their own idea of fun and adventure, but here are some insights from answering many questions about enjoying a vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii so you can spend more time packing than researching:

Start with an overview of my Top Ten List of Things you Can Not Miss On The Big Island 


Pick an activity. If you just spent a small fortune to travel here and you may not get here again, do something off the hook memorable and spend a little money. There are SO MANY things to do here for free that you will love, (our beaches, the ocean, the sun, the sunset!) that you should seriously consider doing something amazing with a professional guide.   I recently wrote about the coolest activities to do on the island.   I did not include a helicopter ride, but if you want to see the innards of a volcano, here is your chance!

DRIVE AROUND THE ISLAND.  The best 11 hours of your vacation here will be seeing all the cool spots from Punaluu Black Sand Beach, to Volcanoes National Park to Hilo and Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls to the misty mountains of Waimea and the arid resort region of the Kohala Coast. PLEASE schedule at least one day to adventure away from your chaise lounge at your resort to see all that the Big Island has to offer. You will seriously be amazed at the beauty, the culture and the landscape features that our island holds. And no, you can not see it all in one day, but you will see enough that you WILL want to come back and venture down to Waipio Valley or Pololu Valley and Hawi. We are the ADVENTURE island and you will soon see why when you start your trek north or south of the Kona Airport!

Enjoy a Beach in West Hawaii: You came to Hawaii to jump into beautiful blue water, right?  We have the warmest, sunniest coastline in the entire Hawaii Island chain. There is no reason why you can not find a place on a beach, to soak in the warmth of the sand and the sound of crashing waves and go say aloha to the creatures in the sea! If you are not familiar with the beaches, we created two videos recently to help you pick a few to explore! Please keep your eyes on the waves at all times and listen to the lifeguards.

Top Five Beaches in West Hawaii 

White/Black/Green Sand Beaches in One Day! 

Eat Well! Here is a list of top West Hawaii restaurants to enjoy! 

Go to a Luau , go on a hike or get your teens excited about your trip! 

2019 Update With Urging from My 365Kona Fans: 

If you love a tropical garden, consider checking out the Botanical Gardens in Hilo. The Four Mile Scenic road is amazing as you wind through a tropical paradise from the main road to get to the gardens. The Botanical Garden is a “one stop shop” for just about every tropical plant in Hawaii and you will see a gorgeous view of a hidden bay at the bottom.

The Garden is open from 9am to 5pm everyday, except Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, with Garden admissions ending at 4pm.This self-guided tour takes an average of about an hour and a half. The walking distance is just over a mile, round trip. Admission for a day is $25 for adults, children ages 6 – 16 are $12. Children under 6 are free. It can be humid and there are mosquitos during the summer months, so bring that bug spray and plenty of drinking water!

Stargazing Update:  At this time, December 2019, the access road to Mauna Kea Visitor Center and observatories are closed due to a conflict about building the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mauna. No resolution has been reached, so no time frame for when it will be open to the public at this point.  (This is an amazing experience on Mauna Kea, but THE BEST when it is a new moon. You can see the Milky Way stretched across the cosmos as you stand there at 9000 feet at the Visitors Center sipping hot chocolate.   Many people pay the extra bucks to book a tour to the observatories to watch the sunset and stars at 13,000 feet, but you can also get to the Visitors Center by 4, and have a free experience. Walk across the the road from the Visitor’s Center and watch the sun set on top of the lava mound (PUA).

Join me over on my 365 Things to Do in Kona Facebook page, too!  If it’s going to a luau, or a hidden beach or a swanky restaurant, I put out tips, insights and fun things to do there almost on the daily. When you are on island, I can set you up with a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, an affordable OR luxurious place to stay, and a private 4WD adventure to a remote beach. If interested, contact me at [email protected].

If you would like to consider making Hawaii home, please go to my Moving Resources page or check out 

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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