Are you headed to Hawaii? Here’s your travel guide for a perfect week on the Big Island.
Big Island Travel Guide
Brian and I decided last minute to travel to Hawaii for a week. We booked our flights to Kailua-Kona and a few days later we took off for a week of sun, drinks and relaxation. We flew out of San Diego, had a short layover in Seattle and landed at Kona International Airport in the evening. After settling in our hotel room, we went to Kona Brewing Company for dinner with some friends who were also visiting the Big Island.
On our first day, we woke up early and headed out in our rental car to Hilo. We stopped to see two different waterfalls, Rainbow Falls and Peepee Falls. Next, we went to the Hilo Farmers Market to grab some lunch and pick up some gifts for our friends and family. We explored around Hilo and we found an amazing black-sand beach at Honoli’i Cove. It was pouring rain but we still made the most of it. Once we drove back to Kona, we grabbed drinks and appetizers at Kona Canoe Club. Their Happy Hour is from 2 to 5 p.m. daily and I would definitely recommend checking it out because they had amazing deals!
The next day we drove out to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and took a hike down to a volcanic crater. After, we had lunch at Uncle George’s Lounge at The Volcano House. We drove back to the west side of the island and went to check out the Hilton in Waikoloa Village. It’s an absolutely gorgeous resort and the pool area is beautiful. If you have the opportunity to stay at the hotel, you definitely should! For dinner, Brian and I went to Splasher’s Grill across from our hotel. It was one of our favorite restaurants we went to during the trip.
After a few days of adventuring, Brian and I wanted to have a relaxing day at the beach. We reserved a cabana for the day at our hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott in Kailua-Kona. It was $50 to reserve the cabana for the full day and the fee was waived with a $60 purchase of food and drinks. It was a perfect deal to take advantage of so we spent the day drinking next to the beach under the shade of our cabana. For dinner, we went to Paradise Brewing Co, another restaurant across from our hotel. I loved that there were so many restaurants within walking distance of our hotel.
We happened to be in Hawaii for King Kamehameha Day. On day four on the Big Island, there was a festival and parade to celebrate King Kamehameha Day. We walked around the festival at the Hulihe‘e Palace and I got an açai bowl for lunch there. Walking back to our hotel, we decided to stop at Chill’n On The Bay to grab some afternoon drinks. That night we had my favorite dinner of the trip at Honu’s on the Beach at our hotel. On Friday and Saturday nights, they have an amazing prime rib and seafood buffet. I think I had the best fried rice I’ve ever had in my entire life there.
On day five, we decided to rent some paddleboards and go out on the ocean. We rented them from the Kona Boys Beach Shack on the beach outside of our hotel. It was so peaceful to be out on the clear, blue water. After paddleboarding, we relaxed at the pool at our hotel. I was a little obsessed with the pool and loved relaxing with a book in my hand there. For dinner, we went to Bongo Ben’s and I got a delicious chicken alfredo meal. We picked up some gelato for dessert at Gypsea Gelato and watched the sunset right at the water.
Brian and I knew we wanted to go on a snorkeling trip while in Hawaii so we booked the Kealakekua Bay and Wild Dolphin Adventure with Hang Loose Boat Tours. This trip included finding wild dolphins and jumping in the water with them. They told us it wasn’t the best day for finding the dolphins but we were still able to see a pair a few times. Swimming in the water, the dolphins looked fake, like something out of a movie. After seeing the dolphins, we went snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay. This is the reef that inspired the “drop-off” in Finding Nemo. There were so many fish in a multitude of colors and the water was so clear. Our tour also included a light lunch of sandwiches and chips. Brian and I both really enjoyed it and I would highly recommend the tour! For dinner, we went to a nice dinner at Fish Hopper.
I was very lucky to have spent my birthday in Hawaii. Day seven on the Big Island was my birthday and Brian let me choose how we spent the day. We went to Splasher’s Grill for breakfast. I got french toast and a flight of mimosas which included 5 different juice flavors. All I wanted to do was relax by the pool all day and that’s what we did! I finished Crazy Rich Asians and we had some appetizers and drinks. For our last night in Hawaii, we went to a Hawaiian Luau! We went to the Island Breeze Luau located at the Courtyard Marriott. We had delicious food, got some turtle fake tattoos and saw some amazing dancing. Overall, I had an incredible birthday on the Big Island and I’m so grateful for the amazing day we had.
On our last day on the Big Island, we rented a car again and decided to head out for the day. We went to Kiholo Bay and spent a few hours relaxing on the beach. For dinner, we went to the Aloha Wine Bar. We decided to stop at the Hilton in Waikoloa Village again and chilled at the pool until sunset. It was the end of our time in Hawaii and we headed to the airport for our red-eye flight home. I’m not the biggest fan of red-eye flights, but we made it home safe and sound.
Brian and I had the most amazing time in Hawaii and I hope this trip recap helps you plan your own trip to the Big Island. A week on the Big Island definitely isn’t enough, but it’s a good start!