Hawaii's Big Island-How Many Days?

Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 05:16 AM
  #1  
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Hawaii's Big Island-How Many Days?

We are planning a trip to the Big Island toward the end of April. We want to stay in the Waikoloa area. We are a couple in our 60's, and both of us have knee problems. We will be renting a car. We know that we want to visit Vocanos National Park, beaches, and a coffee plantation. The scenery is very appealing to us. Are there other places we should include? We are not sure whether we should plan a 4 day or 5 day stay excluding the days of arrival and departure. Can you advise?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 07:50 AM
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Are you doing any other islands? If yes, 4 will work. If not, I go for 5 at a minimum.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 10:25 AM
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mailmate, the Big Island is big, so prepare for some extensive driving distances between attractions. E.g. The Orchid to Volcanoes NP is 2-2.5 hours one-way. Waikoloa to the coffee plantations of South Kona is 1-1.5 hours. Etc. You mentioned knee problems and I bring this up just in case that includes limited driving ability.

Also, if by scenery you're thinking of something from "South Pacific", nearly the entire west side of the Big Island is covered with barren lava flows. The Orchid and other Kohala resorts are oases of green in vast deserts of black and brown. If you haven't seen satellite and aerial shots of this coast, you might want to take a look. The east and north sides of the island are much greener, and are great places to stay for visitors who're looking more for a rain forest experience in Hawaii. But these two sides are moreless devoid of nice white sand beaches.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 10:35 AM
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The more nights the better. Spend a couple of nights at Volcano Village to explore the surrounding area before the day trippers and after they leave to take in the evening glow is wonderful. How much better to spend your time with a very few people or alone to explore Thurston's then with busloads of tourists. That means you can visit other east coast areas during the day.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 11:08 AM
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I've stayed in the Waikoloa a couple of times now, always with a car, as a single female traveler (in my 60s) and I really enjoy driving around the big island. The landscape changes from black lava rock to lush green tropical vegetation as you drive around the island. I do not tire of the black rocky setting! I find it interesting, but I come from cornfield country!

Driving all the way around the island (on the main road(s) is something I enjoy doing. With minimal stops I can make the drive in roughly 6 hours. Obviously it takes more time if stopping at Volcanos Nat'l Park and in Hilo, etc.

I have done the drive up to the Mauna Kea visitors station, and it is scenic! To go beyond the visitors station requires 4-wheel drive. I wasn't that curious to keep going!

Kona is busy, lots of traffic, but that's where the bulk of the shopping can be done, if you are a shopper. I also like the two shopping villages at Waikoloa Beach resort area. One is the King's and the other is the Queen's. There are also dining places in both villages.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:26 PM
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Try and stay for at least a week if possible. My first trip to the Big Island was only 5 days and nights (husband was tied up on business for most of 2 days) and barely saw much. Volcanoes Park is great although we did not stay overnight, also really enjoyed the Fairwinds boat to Kealakekua Bay and visiting City of Refuge (sorry forgot the proper Hawaiian name) which emitted such a strong tranquil feeling.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2015, 08:22 PM
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Love the Big Island and we often go for just 5 nights. I think it depends on how much traveling you want to do. We stay in the Kohala resort area where we can unwind, beach it, drive to dinner, drive to other locations for an adventure (Flumin the ditch for one!) With knee problems I can't imagine doing the Volcano as there is walking involved. It is called the big Island because it is big and takes a goodly amount of time to drive from one side to the other. How about a helicopter ride which would give you an great overview of the island. when I am in Hawaii, I need to have ocean view or ocean front and if that is you you might want to reconsider your hotel, condo, etc.
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Old Dec 24th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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For sure, go to the Lava Lava Beach Club for drinks at Sunset - it's a pleasure to sit on the beach in beach chairs/couches, have a nice drink, chat with other travelers, and see the spectacular sunset all at the same time!
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Old Dec 24th, 2015, 12:27 PM
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There's a great deal to see without extensive walking in Volcano National Park; lots of short hikes with no elevation gain. Thurston Lava Tube is stairs leading down, an extremely easy uphill back out, and if you go down to the sea on Chain of Craters road, it's level once you are down. Even if you didn't take little hikes, the drive to look into the crater, etc., is well worth it.
While on the Hilo side, you might consider the loop of Lava Tree State Park; very pretty and interesting, or maybe stop at the transfer station in Pahoa to see where the last lava flow stopped.
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Old Dec 28th, 2015, 12:30 PM
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I'd want at least a week for Big Island. I'd want an overnight in the town of Volcano.

Many visitors fly into one side, and out from the opposite. (KOA and ITO)
ChiSue is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2015, 04:29 PM
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"The scenery is very appealing to us."

Snorkeling around the Big Island is the best in the state, so if underwater scenery is at all appealing to you, you'll want at least a week on the island. We're about the same age as you, with similar interests, and we typically stay 10 - 14 nights each visit, then return home wishing we could have stayed longer.
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