Where To Stay In Hilo
The Hilo side of the island is as lush a place as youll find anywhere in Hawaii. This side is all jungles and rainforests and its green, green, green. And its that way because it rains a lot. Like, all the time. Which is why youll find some of Hawaiis most spectacular waterfalls right outside of Hilo. But the rain situation is why most visitors forgo staying on the Hilo side and opt for sunnier Kona instead.
Hilo has some of the Big Islands absolutely must see spots so you HAVE to spend some time here. Hilo will be your base for exploring Hawaii Volcano National Park, driving Saddle Road to the summit of Mauna Kea, and seeing the north shore sites.
Hilo town is one of the most charming towns in Hawaii. It was originally built to be the capital but because it rains all the time here, that honor went to Honolulu. Hilo is not near as touristy as Kona and you wont find any big resorts here but you will find plenty of budget options that make a great home base from which to explore this part of the island.
There arent really many swimmable beaches near Hilo . If you decide to stay a couple of nights in Hilo , its primarily to adventuring and exploring and not so much relaxing.
The Hamakua Coast, Puna, and Punaluu are also all remarkable regions of the Hilo side that are absolutely worth being explored but I would recommend hitting them as day trips from Hilo instead of trying to stay there as theyre all pretty remote and lack many accommodation options.
Kaumana Caves State Park
Just off Kaumana drive, youll find the entrance to a lava tube created by Mauna Loas 1881 lava flow that stopped just outside of Hilo. Descend the staircase through the collapsed skylight of the lava tube, then enter either the north or south entrance, past the lush ferns and tropical vegetation that hang near the entryway.
Kona Hotels Map: Where To Stay On The Big Island Hawaii Travel Blog
Below is a map with Kona hotels alongside some of the best things to do on the Big Island.
Hopefully this can help you decide where to stay in Kona based on what activities you want to do on the Big Island, as you can see how far away a given activity is from Kona hotels.
The vast majority of hotels and located on the Kona side, and many people stay the overnights on this side for their entire stay on the Big Island and make day trips to different parts of the island.
On the Big Island, there are also a few hotels or small accommodation options on the other side of the island, most notably around Hilo or around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. So you may also consider staying a few days in Kona, and then a night or 2 on another part of the island.
Aside from Hilo and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you may also consider staying in Puna too.
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Best Places To Stay In Kona
For the ultimate in luxury, consider the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu in Kona.
Featuring a well-appointed spa, shops and a golf course, the resort boasts stunning guest rooms dotted along the perimeter of the beach and golf course. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Similarly, the Mauna Lani offers a wide variety of activities for guests of all ages. Immerse yourself in the beauty of mountain views from this luxurious resort. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Families will enjoy centrally located, Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehamehas Kona Beach Hotel. Located near the Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark, this beachfront hotel is perfect for families. Check out the latest prices and more details.
The hotel is close to restaurants, shopping, and the Kailua Pier. It provides the perfect home base for exploring the Big Island.
Another family-friendly hotel is the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Perfect for families of all sizes, this 4-star, kid-friendly resort features 4 restaurants and is located near the Kahaluu Beach Park. Check out the latest prices and more details.
For budget-minded travelers wondering where to stay on the Big Island, the Kohala Village Inn in Kona offers family-friendly accommodations.
This eco-friendly inn, with its upbeat but rustic decor, is a warm, welcoming respite for a Big Island vacation. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Where To Stay In Waimea
Not really Kona side or Hilo side, Waimea is considered the upcountry which is a unique area/climate in the Hawaiian Islands that youll only find on the Big Island and Maui. At a higher elevation on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the air is a bit cooler and if you couldnt look out and see the ocean its easy to imagine youre in the high meadows of Colorado or the Texas Hill Country.
This charming paniolo town used to be a company town for the Parker Ranch and offers a completely different experience than either Kona or Hilo. Unless youve been to the Big Island numerous times and youre looking for something unique, I wouldnt recommend staying here but its definitely worth a day trip.
Also, pro tip to save you some confusion: this town actually has two names: Waimea and Kamuela. Waimea is its traditional name but since there are two other Waimea-s in Hawaii, theyve also adopted the name Kamuela .
Kamuela Inn: This small 30-room inn on Parker Ranch in the Big Islands upcountry region is absolutely darling. Youll get a real Hawaiian experience here although its more cowboy style than beach bum. Pricing starts at $129/night. Click here to check rates and availability during your stay.
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Best Places To Stay In Hawaii Big Island For Honeymoon
Youve made a great choice for celebrating your new life in one of Hawaiis most exotic locations, Hawaii Big Island.
Youll want to start your romantic getaway with pure indulgence in the local beaches, parks, hideaways and restaurants.
Once settled, youll want to delve into some of the many romantic day-trips frolicking in the exotic rainforests, exploring the volcanoes and lava fields, and embracing togetherness with the amazing views at places like Pololu Valley and Waipio Valley.
The best places to stay in Hawaii for a honeymoon are all on the west coast, the one with more sun
Resorts In The Kona Disctrict
Staying in a resort is the most luxurious lodging option on the Big Island, and takes almost all the chores of planning your vacation out of your hands. We recommend staying in a resort if you want an ultimately relaxing vacation and dont mind paying for it. The Kona coast resorts offer on-site luxuries such as relaxing spas, world-class golf courses and private swimming pools and tennis courts.
Read more about the 11 resorts in and around Kona here.
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Where To Stay In Hawaii Big Island On A Budget
The east shore of Hawaii Big Island is the cheapest part of the island to book your accommodation.
Unfortunately, this is also the side of the island where you will be more likely to experience rain, year-round.
For the sun head to the west coast, however, expect also higher prices.
If on a budget, you may split your stay between the east coast and the west coast .
Captain Cook Where To Stay Near Kailua
Captain James Cook was the first-known westerner to have set foot on the Hawaiian Islands, and he did so right here. Shortly after arriving, he was killed in a battle with local Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay, where a memorial now stands in his name.
Captain Cook, is a small and laid back island town, much quieter then Kailua-Kona. The village is ideal for those who like nature, and Kealakekua Bay is the crowned jewel of the area. The bay waters are calm and clear, and outstanding for all types of water activities. Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing are all brilliant ways to pass the days!
As a small community, there are far fewer accommodation options available in general, but most of the ones you will find are very budget friendly! Captain Cook is home to the cheapest hostel beds on this side of the island, as well as many other reasonably priced Airbnbs and hotels. For that, it is our ultimate recommendation for where to stay near Kailua-Kona if you are on a budget.
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Hawaiian Oasis Bed & Breakfast
Hawaiian Oasis Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful property close to historic Kailua-Kona town and a few minutes drive to beaches, restaurants and shops. This property features lush landscaping, salt-water swimming pool, hot tub, koi pond, tennis court and lots of relaxing spots.
Location: A few minutes drive, up above Kona town
Lodging style: Bed and Breakfast
- Tennis court
Everything was wonderful and I would highly recommend staying here again. | This was one of the most beautiful bed and breakfast homes we have ever stayed in. We had an excellent stay mostly because of the exceptional services provided by Nina and Tom. | The location of the B& B is perfect for visiting the whole island and the rooms are beautifully decorated with Hawaiian design and aloha spirit!
Hawaii Island Travel Guide: Where To Stay On The Big Island
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Hawaii Island Overview:Where to Stay on the Big Island:My picks for the best places to stay include: Mauna Kea Beach HotelFairmont Orchid, HawaiiThe Westin Hapuna Beach ResortFour Seasons Resort HualalaiMauna Lani, Auberge Resorts CollectionRoyal Kona ResortWyndham Kona Hawaiian ResortCourtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach HotelHilton Waikoloa VillageSheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou BayWaikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & SpaHilo Area Hotels:The Palms Cliff HouseGrand Naniloa Hilo – a DoubleTree by HiltonThe Family Travel Guy
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What Is There To Do On Kona Side Of The Big Island
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
In my opinion, I saved the best for last! My favorite part of the Big Island is Hawaii Volcanoes, National Park. If you are active and want to hike in the park, Id recommend staying a few nights in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, since the park is small, you could be fine just spending the day here.
Since its only about 40 minutes from Hilo, this would be an accessible day trip.
Things to do
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has no shortage of things to do. Luckily, many of them are accessible, close to each other, and quick to do. You can drive right up to the Jagger Museum, Sulphur Banks, Steam Vents, Thurston Lava Tube, Holei Sea Arch, and the parks biggest attraction, Halemaumau Crater. At night, you can see red lava glow coming out from the crater.
Theres not much nearby. The closest big town is Hilo.
Pros of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
You can stay at Volcano House, located in a great spot with views of Halemaumau Crater. If you are a military family, you can stay at the Kilauea Military Camp. You cant beat the prices of the cabins there.
If youre staying the night, you can go late at night to Halemaumau Crater and see the lava glow. The darker it is outside
Cons of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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If You Are Not Fully Vaccinated And Allowed To Travel To The United States By Air Through An Exception
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after arrival, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
- Stay at home or in your hotel room and self-quarantine for a full 7 days, even if you test negative, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
- Isolate if your test result is positive or you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
- If you intend to stay in the United States for 60 days or longer, you must become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States or as soon as medically appropriate, unless you have a medical contraindication or are too young to be vaccinated.
Best Condo In Kahaluu
This giant condo is a marvelous home base for any stay in Kahaluu-Keauhou. With enough beds to sleep six, you can easily fit the whole family into this spacious home. Out the back, there is a private patio and garden space with stunning views of the ocean. Inside the complex, you will find a swimming pool and three tennis courts. Schedule a lesson with the local tennis pro if you want to improve your game.
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Is Kona Better Than Hilo
Both Kona and Hilo are great places to visit. Kona isnt necessarily better than Hilo, but it does offer more perks for those who want to spend time relaxing on beaches, playing in pools and enjoying restaurants. It has a resort-like feel to it, which some people want when traveling to a new area. The weather is often beautiful, making Kona a great place to stay on the big island of Hawaii.
It does rain a lot in Hilo. Not everyone is fond of dealing with rain, especially when on vacation. If you dont like the rain and want to avoid it, youre better off staying in Kona. However, if you dont mind the rain, you want to see some fantastic falls, and you dont care about fine dining, Hilo could be the spot for you.
Is The Big Island Of Hawaii Called Kona
There is a whole lot going on in Kailua-Kona, the center of this exciting region on the western coast of the Big Island. Located just a few miles south of Kona International Airport , this historic seaside town has been here for several hundred years. There are many tourist attractions in this city on the Big Island.
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The Kona Hotels Map For Places To Stay On The Big Island
This map may not work very well on this page on mobile, sorry!
In that case, have a look at this Kona hotels map in Google Maps.
Whether youre on mobile or desktop, click on an icon to know whats there!
Best Hotel Near Kailua
The Royal Kona Resort is a great option as it offers things that no other hotel can. It has its very own private lagoon with remarkable turquoise water, an on-site spa and wellness center with masseuses, and has a renowned in-house restaurant that uses locally sourced food. From the private beach you can occasionally see migrating humpback whales. And all of that is on top of their exceptional rooms!
Kailua-Kona is not only the largest community in the area, but the heart and soul. In the morning, you can walk around the historic neighborhood to see monuments and landmarks and learn some local history. Cool down by jumping into Kailua Bay, and going for a swim where the World Ironman Championships are held every year.
Holualoa sits beside Kailua-Kona, and makes for a great base to explore the island. It is heaven for coffee lovers! Not only are there wonderful cafes all around where you can enjoy a delicious cup of joe, but this is where the coffee is grown! There are more farms than you can count, and all of them offer unique tours and tastings that are absolute must do experiences.
If your mind is set on staying in a luxury condo or hotel, the resort area of Kahaluu-Keauhou is for you, and just a 20 minute drive from Kailua-Kona. The resorts are so nice, you may never want to leave! It is also home to some of the best snorkeling and diving on the island, and where many of the manta ray trips depart from.
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Hilo Or Kona: Location On The Big Island
First, lets get our bearings. Hawaii is big, but how big.
I could throw out stats like it is 4,028 square miles, 63% of the State of Hawaiis landmass, bigger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined, and bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. But who really cares.
It takes 1-hour and 40-minutes to drive from Kona to Hilo. That is the shortest route, taking you between the massive shield volcanoes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on the aptly named Saddle Road.
The northern route taking you through Parker Ranchs cowboy country is 2-hours and 10-minutes. The southern route taking you through the southernmost point in the United States is 3-hours.
Kailua-Kona to Hawaiis Volcanoes National Park is a 2-hour drive. From Hilo, the drive is 50-minutes .
Therefore, Hawaii is big but also a manageable drive. You can go to Volcanoes National Park from Kona on a day-trip. A lot of driving but one can still see all the sights and get back to their resort or vacation rental.
With our toddler and dog, during our trip in January, we stayed in Kona but did one-night outside of Volcanoes National Park. We were able to see everything on the windward or east side of the Big Island plus the park during this 1-night, 2-day trip.