Big Island Favorites

The big Island of Hawaii is strikingly beautiful, naturally diverse and, well, really BIG. It has an “old Hawaii” feeling, white, green and black sand beaches, and 2 active volcanoes. Snorkeling on the island of Hawaii in October was the best EVER! The water was warm and calm and there were so many species of fish and other sea life just seconds from shore. Having visited most of the other islands, I was surprised that a day of exploring the big one didn’t get us very far. This is also because we found so much to do and see within an hour’s drive from our hotel so we didn’t keep going. Next time!

For now, here are just a few of my favorite places, beaches and restaurants along the northwest coast of Hawaii from Captain Cook in the south to Hawi in the north. Even if you stick to this short list, you will have an amazing time on Hawaii! If you have more time, definitely check out Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the east side. I can certainly recommend places to stay and things to do over there, too.



Mauna Kea

Fairmont Orchid

Four Seasons

Marriott’s Waikoloa Vacation Club

Off-Resort Dining

Lava Lava Beach Club Waikoloa


Daylight Mind Cafe and Restaurant

Bamboo, Hawi (and such a cute town, too)

Huggo’s, Kailua-Kona

Kona Inn


Snorkel Bob’s (two locations on the Island are a perfect place to rent snorkel gear and you can return it on any island!)

Kahaluʻu Beach Park, Kailua Kona


Kealakekua Bay, Captain Cook

Honaunau Bay/Two Steps, Captain Cook

Hapuna Beach State Park

Mauna Lani Beach Club

Waialea Beach/Beach 69

Other Activites

Volcano sightseeing (drive, hike, bike or helicopter)

Stargazing on MaunaKea


Visit a Kona coffee farm (try Greenwell Farms

Portuguese Sweet Bread Baking at Kona Historical Society (Thursdays from 10:00-12:30) 

Farmers markets 

Night Snorkel with Manta Rays

Luaus and Hula