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Old 01-26-2023, 11:25 PM   #1
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Big Island Suggestions?

Jane and I are off to the Kona Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island next week. We’re retired and were able to visit the island up until the pandemic but have been missing our visits.

Not many Escape trailers on the Islands, I know, but this section of the forum is entitled Trips and Travel Planning so here we are.

Any tips you’d like to share from your visits to the Big Island? In the past we’ve spend most of our time on the Hilo side but this time we want to focus more on the Kona side and are staying in Kailua-Kona. Snorkeling, food and fun all sound good.

Any suggestions? Thanks. Ed
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Old 01-27-2023, 12:27 AM   #2
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Hapuna Beach & what the locals call A Beach next door at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel are two of the best beaches on the Big Island. Good snorkeling off Mauna Kea; they have limited public parking so get there early. Walk through the lobby there too- this was originally a Rock Resort and has some great artwork.
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Old 01-27-2023, 01:46 AM   #3
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Snorkel with the big ones at night. https://www.viator.com/tours/Big-Isl...el/d669-8571P1


Costco in Kailua-Kona btw.........
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Old 01-27-2023, 11:45 AM   #4
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tractors1 - I agree, snorkel at night with rays was a highlight of the trip. Also flying over the active volcano, and hiking at night to see the active lava flows...bring your own flashlight!
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Old 01-27-2023, 01:32 PM   #5
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Wrong island, but I've always kicked myself for not doing the Hana Road during my one trip to the islands.
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:06 PM   #6
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Since you've been to the Hilo side you know the Big Island is paradise with much to see and do. If you haven't been to the top of Mauna Kea for the view and observatories I recommend that. Last time I was there four-wheel drive was required so we rented one for the drive up. At around 9,000 ft. is a visitor center where, after sundown, amateur astronomers let you look through their very powerful telescopes. Beatiful Puuhonua o Honaunau National Park is a short drive from Kona for an interesting look at Hawaiian history. Go whale watching, you'll never forget it. We used Captain Dan McSweeney and glad we did. You'll find plenty to do.
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:58 PM   #7
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I agree, snorkel at night with rays was a highlight of the trip.
Nothing quite like swimming with the rays. We were doing that before Xmas in Antigua and M. loved it. There're very friendly, especially if you have a small squid in your hand.

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Old 01-28-2023, 07:03 AM   #8
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Wrong island, but I've always kicked myself for not doing the Hana Road during my one trip to the islands.
Done the road to Hana both times we went to Maui. Lots of beautiful scenery and be sure to stop drive thru nature park. Load of flowers to see and picture opportunities while walking the trails located there
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Old 01-28-2023, 11:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye Ed View Post
Any tips you’d like to share from your visits to the Big Island? In the past we’ve spend most of our time on the Hilo side but this time we want to focus more on the Kona side and are staying in Kailua-Kona. Snorkeling, food and fun all sound good.

Any suggestions? Thanks. Ed
We haven’t been to the Big Island (Maui, Kauai, and Oahu for us so far), but the talk of Maui’s Road to Hana (which is incredible, btw) reminded me of a guide book we used on that island. It’s, “Maui Revealed,” and has many off-the-beaten path things to see and do.

I just checked Amazon, and there is a guide book by the same folks called, “Hawaii, The Big Island Revealed.” If it’s as good as the Maui book, you’ll find it very helpful for your trip planning.

P.S. A funny story. Rockhead mentioned plenty of picture opportunities. On the Road to Hana, I took so long at the many stops taking pictures that my wife got kind of exasperated with me. It turns out the best picture I took on that whole trip was one of her leaning on a split rail fence staring off into the distance impatiently waiting for me to finish taking pictures. We still get a laugh out of that one. Haha.
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Old 01-28-2023, 12:48 PM   #10
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Two step beach south of captain cook has lots of snorkeling. Large groups of yellow tangs.

I really enjoyed it. When you leave, take the road up the mountain and there’s a place renowned for its fruit smoothies, run by some Dutch lady if I recall correctly.

Two Step Beach
https://maps.app.goo.gl/5k8YRYkVD4rgni5x5?g_st=ic

Edit: mongoose mountain at the top of the road is good for Kona coffee, we still order from them
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Old 01-28-2023, 01:44 PM   #11
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Yeah, two step is good and not far from City of Refuge:

https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm
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Old 01-28-2023, 05:41 PM   #12
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Couple of suggestions, although it sounds like you have been to the area before so these may be redundant for you:
1. There is a small black sand beach next door to the Hilton Waikoloa Village (looks like they now call it "49 Black Sand Beach". Get there early for parking. About 25 years ago you could rent a kayak at the Hilton and just take a leisurely paddle to the beach and it was usually deserted, but now they have opened it up and put a small parking lot so you can drive to it. Snorkeling is excellent at this small beach, well worth it IMO.
2. Hilton Waikoloa Village lagoon. If you can park in the main parking area for the Hilton, and just walk up with your towel and swim/snorkel gear and snorkel in the lagoon. Early in morning is best and over the years it has transformed into a sea turtle spot. The freshwater waterfall in the lagoon apparently encourages algae to grow and the turtles love it.
3. Merrimens restaurant and the Sushi place at the Hilton are fabulous. Again, this was 5+ years ago since our last trip there, but don't feel bad as we were in Oahu and Maui in October!
4. This was probably 8 to 10 years ago, but during the last volcano irruption at Mauna Kea, we took a boat to tour the lava flow going into the ocean. It was probably the BEST tour we have ever taken anywhere. So IF the lava is still flowing and there is a boat option available, consider it. There was probably a 6 to 8 ft diameter flow jetting/arching into the water when we were there. The micro environment that creates is fascinating to see and not something you are going to get from a helicopter tour (although that would be my second choice if the boats are not running).
5. AVOID Hilo.
6. Cheap eats, try the sandwiches from the grocery at Kings Shops near the Hilton and Marriott.
7. Groceries can be had at Costco, Safeway (Kona), or the Grocery store in Waikoloa.
Have Fun!
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Old 01-28-2023, 09:41 PM   #13
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As you wait for your luggage there is a magazine kiosk, one of the magazines is 101 things to do on the Big Island. Costco has a book of beaches and things to do on the Big Island (not sure about the name).
Lunch at Kona Brewing is a must, pizzas are great. Swimming at “A” Beach ( the Hawaiian name is complicated) in Waikoloa turn off to the beach is just by Kings Market.
Enjoy.
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Old 01-28-2023, 10:52 PM   #14
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We spend 1/2 the year here in Kailua-Kona (on island now) and are Escape owners. Email
me at lynn_5789@msn.com and I will send you our land line phone # here for
answering any ?? you may have. Lynn (a he) N.
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Old 01-29-2023, 09:45 AM   #15
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We took a several months vacay to the big island about 35 years ago, and had a great time. Indeed, the Revealed series of guide books are spot on. We stayed 3 weeks at Kona Village (rip), a couple weeks in the north saddle country at a guest ranch, then a couple weeks in Hilo. We explored every corner of the island with a rental Jeep... It was 1990 and Mauna Loa was taking over Kalapana....

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Old 01-29-2023, 01:46 PM   #16
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I believe you & DT6 mean Kilauea volcano.
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Old 01-29-2023, 02:01 PM   #17
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I believe you & DT6 mean Kilauea volcano.
Probably better to not to be reading my astronomy journals before I write notes about Hawaii! Thanks for the correction.
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Old 01-29-2023, 03:05 PM   #18
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I believe you & DT6 mean Kilauea volcano.
yes, you're right.


btw, re Hilo, while we didn't much care for the town itself, it made a great base for exploring the north side of the island, including things like Umauma Falls. Wai'po Valley (serious 4x4 only!!!), etc etc.
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Old 01-29-2023, 04:04 PM   #19
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yes, you're right.


btw, re Hilo, while we didn't much care for the town itself, it made a great base for exploring the north side of the island, including things like Umauma Falls. Wai'po Valley (serious 4x4 only!!!), etc etc.
Watching the fish market happening is cool; plus you get a free can of Raid when checking in at Uncle Billy's
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Old 01-29-2023, 07:16 PM   #20
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Just got back from the big island a few weeks ago. Really liked Hapuna beach but the restrooms and showers are out of service long term so be prepared for that. We just missed the new activity at Kilauea by a few days but had a great day in the park exploring. With the lava now visible that is a great destination. Magic sands beach was great for sunsets but the sand had recently "magically" washed out. Friends were vacationing there at the same time and said the Kanaloa octopus farm tour was very good.

We had the big island revealed companion tour guide app which uses your phone location to give info and recommendations. It was great and helped the miles pass by on the longer drives.
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