Big Island Must sees

Jul 8th, 2008, 02:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
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Big Island Must sees

I will be on Hawaii working for a month with a few days off. We are staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village and will have a car. For my 2 days off, which are not consecutive, what would you say is a must see on Hawaii? I will also have several evenings and some mornings free so if there is anything fantastic in or near the Hilton Waikoloa that would be good to know as well. I enjoy beaches, hiking, museums, open air markets for antiques and food, just hanging out soaking up the lifestyle, and great food! I would love to hear about any special places you have found. Thanks everyone.
Artgirl is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 03:59 PM
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Three bests you are asking for:
- Hapuna Beach. Tops!
- Hilo farmers market. Probably the best in the state. Wednesday and Saturday.
- Daniel Thiebault. For me, the best restaurant on the Big Island.

beatofhawaii_com is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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A very special experience is the Mauna Lani Talk Story night, on the Saturday closest to the full moon. It is held by the beach, and involves a variety of musicians, dancers, story tellers, who are acquainted with Danny Akaka (the son of the senator) who is the cultural advisor to the Mauna Lani Hotel, and a wonderful man.

Call the concierge at the hotel before you go, because the timing can vary.

I would also venture up to North Kohala, and explore the two small towns of Hawi and Kapa'au. There is usually Hawaiian music on Friday and Saturday nights at the Bamboo Restaurant, including John Keawe and his wife, Hope. He plays slack key guitar, and she dances, and the effect is magical.

There is a newer place in Hawi, called Luke's place, at the Kohala Village Inn. There is music most every night and a very relaxed living room style bar lounge.

In Kapa'au, I like Pico's Bistro, which is delicious mediterranean food, and is connected to the most charming small museum, Kenji's house, which is a preserved home of a fisherman artist, and upstairs is wonderful art gallery cooperative.

If you continue past Kapa'au, you'll come to Pololu, which is a beautiful overlook, and you can hike down to a black sand beach.

There are many interesting galleries in North Kohala, and a lot of history.

I enjoy going to both Lapakahi and the Heiau at Kawaihae (which is where the movie WaterWorld was filmed).

All the resorts along the Kohala coast are fun to explore, and most have free music and petroglyph trails, and pleasant beaches.

North Kohala is the birthplace of King Kamehameha, and it is lush, rural, charming and historical.

Be sure to check out the local papers for festivals and events as you'll be there for a while, lucky you! Pretty much everything is wonderful on the Big Island (except for Kona traffic).
Kailani is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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There's a really neat place on the Big Island called Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. AMAZING place!! It will be a long drive from Waikoloa, but VERY well worth it! The museum and visitor's center is great.
ChristieP is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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Leave very early one morning and drive the entire island. My dh was attending his yearly stockholders meeting and we stayed at the Hilton. Us wifes, with nothing to do, rented a car and drove around the island one day. Awesome!! Also there is a market in the parking lot of the Catholic church in Hilo. It was awesome!!!
fosterag is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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You must see the volcano and visit Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. You won't see anything like it on the other islands.
Marginal is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Mt favorite spots were the Place of Refuge -- and Akaka Falls. BEAUTIFUL!
Songdoc is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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Just got back from the Hilton Waikoloa this morning.

As for things to do...Agree with beatofhawaii - Hapuna beach is great. Just a 10 minute ride from the Hilton. I would go in the afternoon since the waves were better then. (We went twice, once in morning and once in the afternoon).

Also agree with the others who recommeded Valcano National Park...worth the trip however if you want to see lava you will have to travel appx 20 miles south of the parks main entrance (the Park Ranger at the park told us about this) to highway 130 then another 20 miles down to the end of highway 130 to see the lava flow. Go in the evening around 6:30 and walk to the site. As the sun sets the red glow of the lava gets brighter and brighter. Bring a flashlight for the walk back. Another highlight of the evening visit...watching the lava flowing down the mountain off in the distance. It was spectacular.

On the way to the valcano...the black sand beach is worth checking out.

Kona is about a 30 minute drive from Waikoloa. Not much to see or do in Kona. Shopping isnt so great and the VOG (Volcano Fog) is very bad now making it a dull visit.

One other piece of advice...the "Hidden Hawaii" book for the big island was great. That is how we found the amazing Green sand beach. A long hike (took us 50 minutes each way) but worth it.
basch0902 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 10:13 PM
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We just returned from the newly renovated Marriott right next door to the Hilton Waikoloa. (we also stayed one night in a thatched-roof hale at the amazingly low key and romantic Kona Village Resort--it's north of the airport, you should check out their luau and snorkeling)

We left for Volcanoes National Park around 2pm, stopped by the botanical garden and the dramatic black sand beach (very unlike the ones on other Hawaiian islands!)
We popped into Volcanoes National Park for an hour or so then headed to where the park ranger told us the lava flow was bursting into the ocean. GET THERE AROUND 6:00 FOR A GOOD "SEAT". If you have a high-pwered camera with special shutter speeds, I suggest it. A regular digital won't do the view justice.


I also recommend snorkeling on The Fair Wind. . .my husband and I happened upon 23 wild spinner dolphins (including 2 babies!). We were so close, we could have touched them. . .but of course, didn't. We were the only lucky ones on the boat that day! Amazing!
TravellinAmy is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Lots of sites that are good for all islands. Just ignore the Oahu info:
dusty56438 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Look at Mauna Kea Summit tours -- unbelievable beauty (especially in the summit is snow covered) Expensive but worth it.
ladystack is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Regarding: "if you want to see lava you will have to travel appx 20 miles south of the parks main entrance (the Park Ranger at the park told us about this) to highway 130 then another 20 miles down to the end of highway 130 to see the lava flow.z"

Is this flowing all the time? We will not be there until Feb 09. Will it still be flowing?
cd is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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You can't possibly predict where the lava will be flowing 7 months from now.

You should keep checking on the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park website.
Marginal is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Wow, a month at the Hilton Waikoloa? You are a lucky duck!

It is a self-contained resort, so for the first week or so, you might want to just relax there and pamper yourself.

It's quite large. We walked from end to end, for light exercise. It's a beautiful property, even though slightly Disney-esque with the boat and all.

Hapuna Beach-- another vote.

And definitely a real snorkeling excursion (don't waste your money 'snorkeling' on the Waikoloa property). We did it once with our kids, but wouldn't suggest it.

PeaceOut is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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Thanks Marginal, I will.
cd is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:02 PM
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You can also get good information on updates on
Marginal is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 05:45 PM
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Bookmarked, thanks.
cd is offline  
Aug 15th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Waimea (Kamuela) is a cute town and respite from beach life. Hapuna, as noted, is the best--serious body surfing so watch out. City of Refuge (hawaiian ruins) is interesting and nearby and make sure you visit is worth spending the night (try Kilauea Lodge for dinner (lilikoi margaritas, alsatian soup and a giant fireplace--it can get cool up there-- and accomodations) for a great location and experience. The malasadas (like sugared--not powdered--beignet donuts) and chili rice are a local favorite at Tex's Drive-In in Honokaa. I hear that there is a rock slide but I've never tried it. Enjoy
alexxt is offline  
Aug 15th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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I loved the Hawaii Tropical Botanical, which is 8 miles north of Hilo. It's a tropical rainforest with wonderful rare plants. I visit it every time I go to the Big Island. It's just fascinatin.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 08:59 PM
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Wow, I'm headed to Big Island and Maui for 10 days in in December and am trying to decide how many days to stay on each island. With the vog, I was planning to spend just 2-3 days in BI.

It sounds like the vog isn't that big of a problem if you were still able to go see the lava flow? I'd heard about issues like crops dying, 2 evacuations of VNP, and general air quality issues as far away as Kona. Any advice or details from folks who've been in BI since the new vent opened in March 08?

vmonk is offline  

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