With a volcano-goddess attitude and miles of rugged off-the-grid landscapes, the Big Island is real Hawaii in the raw. (And really, when was the last time you bathed in a steam vent or night-swam with manta rays?) Spend tamer days stargazing at the top of 14,000-foot Mauna Kea, on a wagon ride through wild Waipio Valley, or kayaking the crystalline Kealakekua Bay.
From the white-sand Hapuna Beach to the smoldering mouth of Halemaumau, allow Orbitz to help you map out your Big Island vacation. Our travel experts dish on where to stay, top 10 attractions and Big Island's hidden travel gems.
Want to drive the Big Island? Check out our interactive Big Island road trip guide for recommendations on attractions, restaurants, hotels and more. You can also download the included pdf to take all the information on the go.
The Big Island may be home to both fire and ice, but at sea level the island thrives in eternal summer and the water is warm (mid- to high-70s). On the Kona side, conditions are typically dry, sunny and hot. The Hilo side takes the edge off with frequent overcast days and tropical rains. Hurricane season spans from June to November.
Although Big Island travel is always in season, prices dip from September through November. The week after Easter, Hilo's Merrie Monarch Hula Festival packs the town for the largest hula event in the world. Japanese Golden Week attracts crowds as well, so plan ahead if you're travelling in late April and early May. July draws international competitors to Kona's annual Billfish Tournament. In October, the renowned Ironman Triathlon World Championship takes place in Kona.
Well-loved by Hilo residents, this busy little family shop is famous for its mochi –traditional Japanese rice cakes made in every flavor and color.
Spice up the night at Hilo’s 1920s-era theater, complete with a live pipe-organ player. Watch everything from the latest Woody Allen movie to classical-music concerts.
Hit the trails of this trippy 17-acre parkland where lava-cooked trees leave a mold of their trunks behind.
This Hamakua Coast gem pays tribute to Hawaii's golden era of railroads, sugar cane trains, plantations and memorabilia.
Escape to the secluded Honomalino Bay, and relax below coconut trees on the dark-sand beach.
Hike through bamboo groves, orchids and draping ferns. Then follow the paved pathway (past 100-foot Kahuna Falls) to Akaka Falls -- a 442-foot waterfall that crashes into a steamy gorge.
Cruise the Big Island's most scenic coastline, followed by a guided trek into exotic Waipio Valley. Visit the hamlet of Hawi or tour a working ranch in misty Waimea.
Laze on the Big Island's most impressive stretch of white-sand beach, eternally sunny with good summer swimming.
Drive, hike or helicopter across a 330,000-acre parkland of smoking vents, native forests, streaming lava and monstrous snow-dusted volcanoes -- an experience native to the Big Island.
Hit this quaint, historic fishing town with a splash of touristy sites. Shop and dine along Alii Drive or people watch on the pier.
Swim in a network of coastal tide pools – some volcanically heated and teeming with sea life. Bring snorkeling gear or sunbathe on a lava shelf.
Snorkel or kayak this pristine marine life conservation district along the Kona Coast, also the site of famed explorer Captain James Cook.
Explore the summit of a snow-capped volcano, home to world-famous observatories. The Visitor's Information Station (VIS) has a free nightly stargazing program.
Make a pilgrimage to this sacred Hawaiian refuge site filled with original village artifacts, rebuilt features, and a stunning bayside setting.