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Hawaii Big Island

Island of Hawaii, the "Big Island"

The Hawaii Big Island is the perfect vacation spot no matter what you love to do when you’re away.  From the Volcanoes National Park’s flowing molten lava to Maunakea’s snowy cap, the black sand at Punaluu Beach, and the Hamakua Coast’s lush green rainforest, this is the ideal place to wonder at everything nature has to offer.

The Big Island has received its nickname in order to minimize confusion with the name of the entire state of Hawaii, since that is the name of the largest island, as well.  This nickname is rather appropriate, after all, as it is two times larger than the rest of the islands combined.  On its shores, all but two of the climatic zones in the world are represented.

Across the Big Island of Hawaii, you’ll see a tremendous number of environments, in which a virtually limitless amount of activities are available.  There is everything from historical sites to resorts, golf courses to local towns.  You’ll be awed by King Kamehameha I’s birthplace and fascinated by Historic Kailua Village where the first missionary church in the state is located.

Even if you already live in the United States, you’ll feel as though you’re traveling to an exotic new world.  Though there is a great deal that is familiar, there is also a tremendous amount of unique experiences and adventures to be had.  There are two main airports on the Big Island, which are Kona International Airport on the west side of Hawaii, and Hilo International Airport in the east.

It should be noted that this state is one of only two in the country (the other is Arizona) which do not observe Daylight Savings time.  Therefore, from the months of March through November, you’ll need to add an extra hour to the difference in time when you set your watch.  It follows Hawaii Standard Time (GMT -10 hours). 

When you visit the Big Island, remember that you’ll be headed somewhere warm, so you’ll need to pack your summer clothing.  You’ll also want to make sure that you have a waterproof, light jacket so that you’ll be appropriately attired if you head out into the tropical rainforests or if you go hiking.  Warmer clothing will be necessary if you intend to travel up to the higher elevations, such as in the Volcanoes National Park or in the Waima uplands.

One of the best parts of traveling to the most recent state to join the country is that it is always the right time of year to travel there.  The temperature remains relatively warm and pleasant all year round.

Island of Hawaii Travel Guide

Island of Hawaii Map

The Island of Hawaii (called the Big Island or Hawaii proper) is a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean and one of the eight main islands that compose the U.S. state of Hawaii.

Click on the map for a more detailed view.

The Big Island and the five other major islands that make up Hawaii were formed from volcanic eruptions. Each island is home to at least one shield volcano – the Big Island has the largest collection with 5 (Hualalai, Kilauea, Kohala, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.)

The Island of Hawaii is sometimes called the Orchid Isle or the Volcano Isle, but to its residents it's always "the Big Island of Hawaii." A Big Island vacation excites the senses and inspires the adventurer. You can hike into a volcano crater, catch marlin weighing hundreds of pounds, stare into the heavens from the snow-capped summit of Mauna Ke'a, and relax, swim, kayak, and snorkel at a black sand, white sand, or even green sand beach.  The Big Island has the world's most active volcano: Kilauea has been spewing lava since January 3, 1983.

What makes the Big island so popular is its unique landscape that includes all 11 climate zones. This lends to the extreme beauty of the Island of Hawaii and makes it an exciting place for outdoor excursions. You can start from sunny tropical beaches, travel through a rainforest, and end up perched atop a snow capped mountain in only one day.

The Big Island of Hawaii is a paradise for watersport enthusiasts – parasailing, surfing, kayaking, kite-boarding, hiking, and biking and much more. There are also numerous tour operators that will take you to see all the main highlights, including the active volcano Kilauea.

Hawaii’s Big Island is not all about xtreme living. The island is also home to some of the finest resorts and hotels such as The Fairmont Orchid, The Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Kona Coast Resort, The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and The Hilo Hawaiian. Visitors can also enjoy some of the finest dinning experiences – why not book in at Kaikodo or have a quiet lunch down at the acclaimed Hilo Bay Café.

Kona is the where you will find all your mainstream forms of accommodation – i.e. all your super resorts and plush hotels. So it is fair to say that a large proportion of tourists flock to this side of the island. Many tourists also like Kona because it is the driest and sunniest part of the island to stay.

If it's soft white sand beaches you are after then make your way down to Hawaii’s gold coast. The Kohala Coast is also home to the Hapuna Beach State Park and a number of high-end resorts like the Hapuna Prince.

The main city on the Big Island is Hilo and is likely the most beautiful city you will see, with it's ocean bay backdrop, parks and fountains - it is impossible to be disappointed when visiting the Island of Hawaii.

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Hawaii Big Island

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February 24, 2012 10:56 AM

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