Are you vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii with a group or family and looking for some ideas for your trip? A recent visitor, Diane Gc, shared her itinerary when she was traveling with 13 people this summer and stayed for a days in Kona and few days at the Waikoloa Beach Resort in timeshare units.
Tips on Traveling With A Group
A few things: The Mauna Kea Resort is making people jump through some extra hoops to secure free parking. If you can get up to the resort before 8, you can try and park for free. If not, realize you have to spend $20 for parking AND eat in the restaurants or plan on walking in from Spencer Beach. I have done both depending on how hot it is! The beach and bay are fantastic, and thus a hot travel destination for folks NOT staying at the swanky resort. However, if you have multiple cars, you can ask if you can park at Maumee Beach and then shuttle folks to the resort and someone can take a taxi to and from the parking lot to the beach. there are usually taxi vans there waiting at the resort and its a five minute drive.
On hiking to Green Sand Beach–you can get locals to ferry you back and forth to the beach for about $20 if you don’t either have the time nor the desire to walk two miles each way. If you have a large group of people, you can also make a deal with one of the truck owners to get you to the beach.
On Charters: If you have a large group of people, reach out to some of the boat companies that may let you just book the boat for the day and save yourself a lot of money. Kona Snorkel Tours rents out their 20 person Zodiac for $1000 for the day or charges $100 per person. You can also work a deal with charter boats if you have 6 people.
The Family Trip
Diane shared: “This was a family trip with a total of 13 people. We were separated into two groups, my group consisted of 3 adults and 2 boys, 6 & 8.”
Car rental – discounthawaiicarrental, got a Standard SUV for 9 days – $312 USD with two additional drivers but was given a Nissan Armada.
Saving Money Tip: We shopped at Costco, ate all breakfast at the resort/condo. We ate lunch outside and other snacks until the evening, small dinner back at the resort/condo. We also got gas from Costco, best price.
Aug 8 – Hotel & Costco
August 9 – Green Sand Beach – Hiked both ways (Here is a video of hiking there that may help! )
Shaka for lunch
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – Great place to see sea turtles after 4 pm
August 10 – Greenwell Coffee Farm and tour
Ali’i Market, TJ’s BBQ for lunch
Kona Village Farmers Market – got strawberry papayas, solo papayas, white pineapple, rambutans and dragon fruits
Kahalu’u beach snorkeling
Dinner at Queen’s Market Place, Waikoloa
August 11 – Waialea Beach
Lunch and Happy Hours at Kawaihae Seafood Bar and Grill
Visited the Hamakua Mac Nut Farm nearby
Passed by Hot Malasadas truck in the Waikoloa area – there’s another more permanent Hot Malasadas truck in the Waimea area
A’Bay for sunset – 15 mins walk from the hotel Aston Shores
August 12 – Hawaiian Style Cafe for breakfast, arrived around 9:30, 15 minutes wait for seating for 9 people which was not bad at all.
Sandwich Isle for snacks
Visited KTA and Foodland (great freshly made poke) for more snacks
Waimea Coffee Company – a lovely place to relax and just be, nice coffee and açai bowl (the peanut one is better IMO)
August 13 – Puako Beach, we were the only people there, saw three black tip reef sharks, eels, fish and many turtles just from the rock, we did not go in the water at all.
Ippy’s for lunch
Hamakua Mac Nut Farm again for the Spam flavour Mac nuts
Visited the Fairmont Orchid Beach to look for sea turtles which did not disappoint. The kids loved playing on the sandy beach.
Aug 14 – drove to Hilo
– Akaka Falls
– Hilo Farmers Market – got more fruits, vegetables and garlic
– had lunch from multiple small shops in 330 Kamehameha Ave. – all were very nice
– food trucks for bbq in the back of the farmers market and shave ice, açai bowl
– got poke from Suisan
– Mauna Loa Mac Nuts Farm
– Carlsmith Beach – saw one big turtle
– took the Saddle Road back to Waikoloa
August 15 – Costco run for gas and other needs
– Waimea Coffee Company
– Fox BBQ, yummy ribs and beef brisket. Nathan is great, he’s been in business since Nov. 2018. He’s open from Wed – Sat from 11-4 or until sold out. We arrived at 3 and all he had left was 2 beef brisket burgers!
– dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club, 45 minutes wait for large party. Viewed sunset at Anaeho’omalu Bay (A’Bay).
August 16 – Arrived at the Mauna Kea Beach at 8:30 am, but was still too late for the free parking, they only have 30 spots.
Mauna Kea Resort: The person at the gate told us either arrive at 8 am or earlier or pay $40 for valet parking per car or eat any meal at the restaurant, then the restaurant would validate the parking ticket and would get parking for free, we went with this option by sending two people to have breakfast, we had two cars. Anyhow, the restaurant validated the parking ticket which reduced the parking cost from $40 to $20, not free per car. In total, over $90 was spent, but the in-laws enjoyed their breakfasts and stayed away from the sun while the rest of the group enjoyed the beach and sun.
– arrived at Fox BBQ by 12:00, had everything on the menu
– visited Waimea Coffee Company one last time
– drove to Waipio Valley Lookout
– did last minute shopping at Queen’s Market Place
– sunset at Anaeho’omalu Bay