Our Island experts have compiled six itineraries to help you make the best out of your time on the Big Island. If you are unsure how to divide your time on the Big Island, or just want someone else to make the tough decisions during your vacation, you will love this section!
- 1-day itinerary: Big Island Highlights
- 2-day itinerary: Beaches and a Volcano!
- 3-day itinerary: Around the Big Island
- 5-day itinerary: Unmissable Activities
- 7-day itinerary: A great island-wide exploration
- Cruise Ship itinerary: Make the most out of your shore excursions from Kona and Hilo
We describe itineraries for a 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7-day visit, as well as an itinerary specifically crafted for cruise ship passengers. If you want to get a good taste of all the islands treasures, we recommend to spend at least a night in the following three places: Kailua Kona on the west side of the island, Hilo on the east side, and Volcano Village in between the other two, on top of the Kilauea Volcano (more on that below).
Big Island Activities that your itinerary should include
If you really want to enjoy even a fraction of what the Big Island has to offer, you should plan on staying at least 7 days. However, we understand that reality often does not allow such a lengthy stay in Hawaii. If you are visiting multiple Hawaiian islands during your visit and have a little bit of time on the Big Island, the one place that you should not miss is the Hawaii volcanoes National Park on the Kilauea Volcano. Other attractions unique to the Big Island are Green Sand Beach and the Telescopes on top of Mauna Kea.
We also recommend that you have a look at the the list of our favorite small outings on the Big Island (about 2 hours each) that are easy to add to any itinerary.
Itineraries for Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi
Many of the people that visit the Big Island, also spend time on one of more of the beautiful islands of the Hawaiian island chain.
- O‘ahu is the most diverse and multicultural island in Hawai‘i, and no other island in the chain can match the contrast of its offerings, wide-reaching and complete. Read more in our 7-day itinerary for Oʻahu and/or in our list of 14 bite-sized Oʻahu activities.
- Maui is beloved because it successfully offers a little bit of everything. From five-star, oceanside luxury resorts to backcountry cabins atop a 10,000-foot volcano, Maui can offer you both extremes and everything in the middle. See our 8-day Maui itinerary for inspiration for your next trip to Maui.
- Also nicknamed the Garden Isle, Kauaʻi is the oldest, lushest and arguably the most dramatic of the main islands of the Hawaiian chain. With a population of less than 75,000, Kauai is truly a small-town island littered with open space, protected preserves, and old plantation history. Curious? Have a look at our 1 week itinerary for Kauaʻi.
Resources for planning your vacation to Hawaii
The first things to decide on when planning your trip to Hawaiʻi are (1) which islands do you want to visit? (2) how many islands do you want to visit? and (3) what’s the best time of year to come? The answers to these questions depend of course a LOT on who does the asking, but we have written a guide to help you answer those 3 questions for yourself.
Read more in our guide to start planning your trip to Hawaiʻi.
Big Island planning tips
The following 4 points will help you find the content on the Love Big Island website that is most relevant to your specific situation:
- We wrote a complete step-by-step overview for planning your trip to the Big Island to help you plan your vacation like a pro.
- If this is the first time that you think about spending time on the Big Island, both our 7 day itinerary or our highlights for the Big Island where we list our favorite activities, beaches, and culinary activities are a good place to start.
- If you already have a rough schedule in mind you can fill that in using our city guides or activity summary.
- If you are a Big Island return visitor or Kamaʻaina (long-term resident, literally “Child of the island” in Hawaiian) and/or are just looking for specific information on the Big Island, our search function will help you on your way:
The itineraries described in this section highlight the most special features of the Island of Hawaiʻi and are meant as suggestions. We highly recommend you to tailor them to your own taste. Take more time for activities that are close to your heart and leave out those activities that are not as good a fit to your personal circumstances.