A Big Island With a Larger Than Life Attitude
The island of Hawai’i is the largest of the island in the Hawaiian chain. Affectionately known as the Big Island (to reduce confusion between the island and the state), Hawai’i Island embraces the idea of ‘Thinking Big’ as not only is it the largest island in the state, but also in the entire United States.
Big Island Overview
The Big Island is remarkable for more than just its size. Indeed, from its crystal-clear bays to tropical rain forests, the Big Island is all things quintessentially Hawaiian. There is a larger than life atmosphere here.
Whether it’s Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world (and to the longest volcanic eruption in recorded history) or the indescribably beautiful summit of Mauna Kea, the opportunity to snorkeling with manta rays, go horseback riding in Waimea or sailing along the splendid Kona Coast is more than enough to pull thousands of visitors to Big Island.
Though life on the Big Island is a little bit slower than the others; it’s still easy to see that this island is about fun and adventure.
Big Island Highlights
The big island provides the complete Hawaiian experience. From the idealistic sand and sea to the small commercial hubs that dot the landscape.
With a rich evidence of native culture, it’s easy to feel awed on Hawaii Island. From molten magma flowing from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to long white-sand beaches and crystal-clear bays embellished by exotic flowers, and birds, all things Hawaiian are well represented here.
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How to Get To Big Island
With Honolulu International Airport (HNL) being the largest in the state, most visitors opt to travel to HNL then to the Big Island by connected flight.
If you choose to do this, you will may arrive at Kona International Airport (KOA) located seven miles northwest of Kailua-Kona on the leeward side of the island or Hilo International Airport (ITO), used principally for inter-island air carrier, located two miles east of Hilo on the eastern shore of the island.
Most visitors arrive in Kona as it serves domestic overseas, international, inter-island and general aviation flights. In fact, major air carriers from the U.S. and Canada fly directly into Kona. With this option, getting to Big island is easier than ever.
Since the island is relatively large, a great way to explore Big Island in its entirety is to arrive on one side of the island and departing at the other.
For example, you may decide to fly into Kona and explore that section of the island then driving to the Hilo side (about a 2 and a half hour drive) and explorer that side of the island before leaving from Hilo Airport.
When to Go To Big Island Any time of year is a good time to visit the Big Island. In general, the weather is great all year round.
As with the entire island stretch, the average summer temperature ranges from 75 to 85 F; while lingering on the lower end in winter.
Getting Around Big Island
Like a number of other areas in Hawaii, there is little public transportation on the Big Island. Still, there is a network of long two-lane highways so it’s relatively easy to traverse the major thoroughfares.
For the keen traveler looking to do serious exploring, a rental vehicle is almost a requirement as even the two-lane highways do become narrow and at times considerably congested along the Kona Coast, Hamakua Coast and through the Volcanic area.
In keeping with the size of the island, the Big Island boats a wide variety of accommodation options including stellar hotels, resorts, rental condominiums, bed and breakfasts, villas, timeshares and rentals homes .
In the town of Hilo, the majority of hotels are clustered along the oceanfront roadway known as Banyan Drive. There are also a number of hotels in Puna. Most rental condos however may be found in Keaukaha, an area with several beach parks east of downtown.
Through the rest of the island, visitors will find several bed and breakfast accommodations, condominiums, vacation rental homes and hostels. Check out these Big Island accommodation options.
Whether venturing out for a majestic boat ride on the clear, open waters to an adrenaline-pumping dirt bike excursion, the Big Island will ensure its visitors don’t miss out on the island’s best activities.
· Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: What’s more daring than visiting the site of an active volcano? It’s no wonder why this national park is Big Island’s number one site. Here, visitors can inspect hardened lava and hike trails through smoking craters and lush rainforest. Indeed, this park is for the daringly adventurous.
· Beaches: With the longest coast in the state, the Big Island hosts the largest number of beaches in Hawaii. Major beaches include Hapuna Beach, Hamakua Coast Beaches and Hilo Beaches. Popular activities along these strips include swimming, snorkeling and surfing.
· Mauna Kea Star Party: One of the Big Island’s more serene and romantic locations, Mauna Kea offers visitors stunning views of the sun going down while the star simultaneously appear. There are several telescopes for stargazing.
· Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park: This park is for the historically conscious. Here, visitors will find ancient temples, monuments and various other ruins. This is one of the best places to gain an understanding of ancient Hawaii.
Without a doubt, the Big Island is fantastically diverse; from age-old fishing villages and sandy beaches to modern mega resorts and snow-capped peaks, its large town meet tropical splendor.
The island is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and in many ways, this speaks to the larger than life attitude an island that serves to take even the most sophisticated tourist to unbelievable extremes.
Is the Big Island The Best Place to Live than Oahu?
It matters who you are and what you’re looking for. There are lots of reasons to prefer Oahu over the other Islands and most of those pros are the opposite of the cons that I listed above:
- More people means a better social scene.
- A city means more jobs and industry. That means more jobs.
- More people, more jobs, more industry, more businesses…usually means more culture. More of a variety of activities. (i.e., you’d be hard pressed to find theatre, opera or sporting events on the other islands)
But, seriously, if you’re looking for the same type of Hawaii that I am then you’re best bet may be one of the other Islands, particularly the Big Island.
Pros of Moving to/Living on the Big Island:
- Same weather…with minor variances.
- There’s a cool volcano.
- You still get beaches, tours, dolphins, turtles, and the like..but on the Big Island there are less people, less crowds, less traffic, less aggravation.
- The worlds tallest mountain from base to summit…for realz!
- Two major residential and industry areas: Hilo and Kona.
- No crazy traffic. Awesome!
Cons to Living on the Big Island:
- Same high cost of living…and higher. Gas ran me about 20 cents more per gallon on the Big Island a week ago.
- There’s a frikkin’ volcano.
- Less people.
- No sign of a city.
- A lot less opportunity to find a job you’re looking for.
- Two major residential and industry areas: Hilo and Kona.
There’s some valid reasons why people don’t live on the Big Island. Honestly, besides the highest energy costs in the nation, the other reasons why not are the precise reasons that I am leaning towards wanting to move there.