In order to make getting the Big Island more easy we have split the Island of Hawaii into four zones. Each of these regions has its own highlights and unique atmosphere so please consider spending a few nights of your itinerary in each of them if you spend enough time here.
4 Regions to explore on the Big Island:
You can find our super quick-and-dirty overview of why we like each of these regions below, together with a link to the part of the Love Big Island website where you can find more information:
- Hilo + the Hamakua Coast
- North + South Kona
- Volcano and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Waimea and Waipi’o Valley
Hilo (the capital)
Hilo is the capital of the Big Island and lies on the rainy windward (east) side of the Island. The city is not your typical tourist town but very easy to fall in love with. Hilo is rainy and charming, tropical and laid back. People here are friendly, and time seems run just a bit slower than on the Kona side of the island.
This is our favorite city on the Big Island! Read more in our Hilo area guide.
The weather in Kona is almost always warm, with an occasional afternoon shower. It is close to picture-perfect white sand beaches towards the north, and the lush, tropical coastline with great snorkeling and delicious Kona Coffee to the south.
Kona is the closest you’ll come to nightlife on the Big Island with a small but varied offering of restaurants, bars and two great brewpubs. Read more in our Kailua Kona area guide.
Volcano Village is a small town right next to the world famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hidden in a lush and dense rainforest at the 4,000 ft. elevation line, Volcano is a place to relax, reflect and find inspiration in the slower pace of life.
Far away from the traffic, crowds, and even streetlights, Volcano is our favorite place on the Big Island to spend a few nights exploring the national park and the surrounding (Puna and Ka’u) regions. Read more in our Volcano Village area guide.
Waimea with its rolling green hills is home to the Hawaiian Cowboys (the Paniolo) and has great access to the spectacular Waipi’o valley and Pololu Valley, and is close to some of the prettiest white sand beaches on the Big Island. Read more in our Waimea area guide.
Where is Waikoloa?
People that already know the Big Island will notice that we do not include the Waikoloa region in this map. Waikoloa lies on the border of our “Kona” and “Waimea” districts and is also known as the resort area of the Big Island.
Waikoloa is a beautiful part of the Big Island, with great (dry and warm) weather, stunning beaches and breathtaking snorkeling spots. It is not a place that you should miss! You can find plenty of information about the good stuff (beaches!) on the Kona and Waimea sections of our website.