Where To Stay On The Big Island: Maximize Your Vacation Time

December 20, 2023


Did you know that the Big Island of Hawaii is actually bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island? It’s true! With such a vast expanse of land to explore, it’s important to plan where to stay on the Big Island carefully so you don’t end up spending the majority of your time in the car 🚙.

In this article, we’ll cover…..

  • The Primary Sides of the Island From Accommodations: West & East
  • Top Accommodations for Budget and Luxury Travelers
  • Activities & Adventures You Don’t Want To Miss
  • Best Locations To Stay, Specifically The Kohaloa Coast, North of Kailua-Kona

Before you book your Big Island adventure, read through this vital information and plan accordingly. This will ensure you make the most of your vacation without spending excessive time behind the wheel.

Planning Your Stay On The Big Island

When it comes to the Big Island of Hawaii, the island’s size makes choosing the right location to stay a crucial aspect of maximizing your trip and making the most of your precious vacation time. Before you even set foot on the island, it’s important to have a clear idea of the attractions you want to see. Some of the most sought-after attractions are a 6-hour round-trip drive from the most popular resorts on the Big Island.

The east side of the Big Island offers a captivating adventure with its lush jungle feel, volcanoes, and stunning black sand beaches. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking thrilling experiences like hiking through lush rainforests, exploring volcanic craters 🌋, and witnessing the raw power of nature. On the other hand, the west side of the island provides luxurious accommodations not available on the east side, with sun-drenched beaches and a plethora of ocean adventures.

To truly experience both worlds of the island, careful planning is essential. You can absolutely strike the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation on the Big Island! We suggest creating a well-thought-out itinerary with your highlights, must-dos, and things to see before you even book your hotel. Trying to casually drive between destinations can result in wasting hours in the car, limiting the time you have to enjoy the experiences you came for!

Staying On The Big Island’s West Side

Staying on the leeward or west side of the Big Island during a vacation is a choice that promises an unparalleled Hawaii vacation experience. The leeward side is often considered the best place to stay for that idyllic beach Hawaiian vacation for several compelling reasons. Firstly, this region enjoys abundant sunshine and relatively low rainfall, ensuring consistently pleasant weather ideal for beach outings, water sports, and outdoor activities. The golden sands and crystal-clear waters of beaches like those on the Kohala Coast offer perfect conditions for sunbathing and snorkeling 🤿. Moreover, the leeward side is home to some of the island’s most luxurious resorts, accommodations, and dining, ensuring a comfortable and pampered stay for visitors.

Additionally, staying on the West side of Hawaii Island offers easy access to a myriad of attractions. From exploring historic sites like the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, to marveling at the wonders of Mauna Kea’s summit, travelers have a plethora of options within reach. The leeward side is also a gateway to mesmerizing marine life, with opportunities for whale watching and swimming with manta rays in the warm Pacific waters. Furthermore, the region boasts a vibrant culinary scene, offering fresh, locally sourced seafood and traditional Hawaiian delicacies, providing a delightful culinary journey for visitors.

Exploring The West Side Of The Big Island

This side of the Big Island, from Kohala to Puako, offers a diverse and enchanting tapestry of towns, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking a rich Hawaiian experience. Beginning in Kohala, the region known as the “Birthplace of Kings,” towns like Hawi and Kapaau exude a charming, laid-back atmosphere with their historic buildings, art galleries, and farmers markets. These towns are surrounded by the majestic beauty of Kohala’s rolling hills and lush landscapes, providing a serene escape.

Moving southward, Waimea, often called Kamuela, has a charming downtown nestled amidst verdant pastures and Parker Ranch, one of the oldest and largest cattle ranches 🐄 in the USA. Here, visitors can enjoy farm-to-table dining experiences, explore Hawaiian cowboy culture, and relish the cool mountain air. Despite its verdant beauty, there are few resorts and accommodations upcountry.

Further down the coast, Waikoloa Village welcomes guests with its luxury resorts, world-class golf ⛳️ courses, five-star dining, and inviting sandy beaches. This area is known for its sunny weather, making it an excellent spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, and water sports.

Continuing the journey, Kailua-Kona stands out as the lively heart of the west side. This historic town boasts vibrant waterfront restaurants, art galleries, and historic sites like Hulihee Palace. It’s a gateway to diverse adventures, from exploring lava tube caves to snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Kealakekua Bay with abundant marine life. One thing to note about the Kona area is that there are limited sand beaches. So, if you are looking for more options for white sandy beaches, the Waikoloa area may be a better choice for your stay.

Stroll along Ali’i Drive, the main street in Kona, brimming with shops, restaurants, and lively hangouts like Kona Brewing Co. For adventure seekers, Kona offers some of the best surfing and snorkeling spots on the island at Kahaluu and Banyans. Don’t forget to explore the unique lava fields surrounding the area, a testament to the region’s volcanic history.

Just south of Waikoloa lies the quaint coastal community of Puako. This small town offers a more tranquil and authentic Hawaiian experience. Puako is renowned for its pristine, lava-rock-strewn shoreline, where crystal-clear waters provide excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. The town’s charm lies in its laid-back atmosphere and the easy access it provides to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Puako is also a great spot for whale 🐋 watching during the winter months when humpback whales frequent the warm Hawaiian waters.

Staying on the west side of the island offers not only a central location for exploring various natural wonders, such as the mesmerizing Pololu Valley and the majestic Mauna Kea, but also a cultural immersion into Hawaii’s rich heritage. It’s an ideal base for excursions to ancient Hawaiian temples, or heiaus, and to the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, showcasing the island’s intriguing past.

The west side’s sunny climate, a wealth of outdoor activities, and a plethora of dining and cultural experiences make it a perfect choice for travelers seeking a well-rounded Hawaiian vacation. Whether you’re captivated by the history of Kohala or enchanted by the lively ambiance of Kailua-Kona, the west side of the Big Island promises an unforgettable stay.

where to stay on the big island

Budget-Friendly West Side Accommodations

The Big Island offers a wide range of lodging options that won’t break the bank. From budget-friendly hotels to all price ranges of vacation rentals, there’s something for every traveler’s budget. Let’s explore a few examples of these affordable accommodations and discover the perfect place to stay for your Big Island vacation.

Royal Kona Resort

The Royal Kona Resort invites you to discover a slice of paradise situated at the water’s edge in the heart of Kailua-Kona. With spacious guest rooms and suites, this resort offers a comfortable and relaxing stay within walking distance to Kona’s nightlife. Enjoy breathtaking ocean views, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, or unwind and rejuvenate at the onsite spa.

The Royal Kona Resort also features a saltwater lagoon. Additionally, it has an oceanfront restaurant where you can savor delicious meals while taking in the magnificent Pacific Ocean vista. Offering gracious Hawaiian hospitality and exceptional service, the Royal Kona Resort is the perfect choice for your tropical escape! Learn more about our venue wedding package at the Royal Kona Resort here.

Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kings’ Land

The Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kings’ Land Waikoloa on the Big Island is a luxurious retreat set amidst the tropical beauty of Hawaii. Located within the renowned Waikoloa Beach Resort, this upscale resort offers an unparalleled blend of modern comfort and Hawaiian hospitality. Guests are welcomed by spacious villas, meticulously designed with contemporary furnishings and equipped with all the comforts of home. Surrounded by lush landscapes and overlooking the stunning Kohala coastline, the resort boasts a serene atmosphere, perfect for relaxation.

Guests can enjoy a myriad of amenities, including a large lagoon-style pool, whirlpool spas, fitness center, and on-site dining options. The resort’s convenient location provides easy access to the island’s top attractions, including beautiful beaches, championship golf courses, and cultural sites. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventure-filled vacation, Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kings’ Land Waikoloa offers a luxurious oasis for travelers looking to experience the best of the Big Island.

Outrigger Kona Resort

For those seeking a blend of comfort and authenticity, the Outrigger Kona is the perfect choice. Embrace the spirit of aloha as you relax in well-appointed accommodations with ocean views. Explore the town’s rich cultural heritage, indulge in delicious local cuisine, or simply unwind by the poolside. The Outrigger Kona promises a warm and inviting atmosphere that will make your stay truly memorable. See more of this historical Big Island wedding venue here!

More Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Hilton Waikoloa Village

The Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii is a sprawling tropical paradise that offers an unmatched Hawaiian experience. Set on 62 acres of lush oceanfront landscapes, this resort is a destination in itself. Guests are greeted by man-made waterfalls, meandering waterways, and exotic gardens, creating a sense of enchantment from the moment they arrive. With multiple swimming pools, including a saltwater lagoon and waterslides for kids, as well as a serene adults-only pool, the resort caters to every kind of traveler. One thing to note though is that even though the resort family friendly, its a huge property.

The beautiful beachfront, dotted with swaying palm trees, provides a perfect setting for sunbathing and water sports. They even have a swim-with-dolphins experience too at their Dolphin Quest Hawaii, a dolphin sancturary. The resort also boasts a variety of restaurants serving diverse cuisines, from upscale dining experiences to casual beachside fare. Cultural activities, such as hula and ukulele lessons, offer guests a chance to immerse themselves in the rich traditions of Hawaii. The Hilton Waikoloa Village truly captures the essence of Hawaiian luxury, offering a blend of relaxation, adventure, and authentic island hospitality.

Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kohala Suites

Located on the Kohala Coast, the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Kohala Suites in Waikoloa offers a serene and luxurious escape in the heart of Hawaii. With spacious and well-appointed suites, stunning ocean views, and easy access to some of the Big Island’s most cherished attractions, this resort is a haven for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, teeing off at nearby golf courses, or exploring the island’s natural wonders, the Kohala Suites provide the perfect base for an unforgettable Hawaiian getaway.


Another fantastic option for accommodation, especially for those mindful of their budget, is Airbnb. Airbnb offers many vacation rental options, from cozy condos to spacious villas, catering to all tastes and budgets. In particular, the Mauna Lani area in Puako is abundant with vacation rentals. This area is renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty. It offers a wide selection of vacation rentals that can provide home-like comfort during your stay on the Big Island. Staying in an Airbnb provides a cost-effective solution and allows you to experience local life, adding an extra layer of authenticity to your Hawaiian experience. You will inevitably save more money too, if you cook at home at your rental for most of your meals.

If you opt to stay at an Airbnb, we suggest staying in the general area where you will exchange your vows. After all, the Big Island is big! Even though it’s very easy to get around driving-wise, do keep in mind the time it will take to travel to your ceremony.

four seasons big island

Luxury West Side Big Island Accommodations

Mauna Lani Auberge Resort

Escape to the serene oasis of the Mauna Lani Auberge Resort, nestled along the Kohala Coast. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of this luxurious resort, surrounded by lush gardens and ancient Hawaiian fishponds. This beachfront hotel offers stunning oceanfront suites and championship golf courses. This wealth of amenities provides an unforgettable wedding experience for you and your guests.

It’s a beautiful location to say your “I dos” and enjoy your honeymoon! What makes this an exceptionally beautiful place to say your vows is you can have a “toes in the sand” experience for your ceremony! If you’d like to see more of this beautiful venue, check out our current package offering here!

Fairmont Orchid

Luxe meets aloha! Nestled amidst 32 oceanfront acres, the Fairmont Orchid is a haven of tranquility and sophistication. This stunning resort features beautifully appointed rooms and suites with private lanais, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings. Indulge in world-class cuisine, relax by the lagoon-style pool, or embark on adventurous activities such as snorkeling or paddleboarding.

The Fairmont Orchid guarantees an unforgettable wedding celebration right on the beach, if you wish, filled with romance and elegance. Curious to see our wedding package? Check out this wedding venue on the Big Island!

where to stay on the big island

More Luxury West Side Accommodations

Four Seasons Hualalai

For the ultimate honeymoon experience, the Four Seasons Hualalai offers an idyllic setting for a romantic escape. Immerse yourself in newlywed bliss in luxury with spacious, beautifully appointed suites and an array of world-class amenities, and a private beach. Indulge in exquisite dining experiences and unwind with couples’ spa treatments. Take part in unique activities such as snorkeling, sunset cruises, and stargazing.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll be enveloped in a warm aloha spirit. Experiencing unparalleled personalized service will make your honeymoon truly exceptional when you get married on the Big Island!

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Nestled along the golden sands of the Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel stands as a beacon of luxury and tranquility. With its timeless elegance and Hawaiian charm, this iconic resort offers a truly unforgettable experience. The hotel boasts stunning architecture, designed by renowned mid-century modern architect, Edward Charles Bassett. Guests are greeted by lush gardens, swaying palm trees, and the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore.

In addition to its natural beauty, the hotel offers luxurious accommodations, ranging from spacious guest rooms to suites and private villas, each meticulously designed with modern amenities and traditional Hawaiian touches.

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a tropical haven that embodies the essence of Hawaiian hospitality. Set along the picturesque Kohala Coast, this luxurious resort offers a seamless blend of modern comfort and authentic island charm. Surrounded by lush gardens, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters, the resort provides a tranquil escape for travelers seeking relaxation and adventure. With elegant accommodations, world-class amenities, and a range of dining options showcasing delectable Hawaiian cuisine, guests are treated to a true taste of paradise.

The resort’s serene spa, shimmering pools, and nearby championship golf courses ensure a diverse range of activities for every guest. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, indulging in spa treatments, or exploring the island’s natural wonders, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa promises an unforgettable Hawaiian getaway.

Staying On The East Side

While Hilo is the largest city on the east side of the Big Island, it might not be the ideal vacation spot for every traveler. Despite its size, Hilo lacks the bustling resort atmosphere found on the west coast. The city experiences higher rainfall due to its windward location, which might deter those seeking constant sunshine and outdoor activities. The East side receives approximately 142 inches of rainfall annually, while the Kohala Coast, located on the leeward (dry) side, gets only about 10 inches of rain per year! The eastern side’s lush rainforests and waterfalls are undoubtedly breathtaking, but the abundance of rain can limit beach days and outdoor adventures. Additionally, the lack of high-end resorts and commercialized entertainment options might not appeal to travelers looking for luxury amenities and vibrant nightlife.

Hilo’s charm lies in its historic downtown and cultural attractions, making it an excellent destination for those interested in Hawaiian history and local traditions. However, travelers looking for a more resort-style vacation, with easy access to gorgeous beaches, golf courses, and upscale dining, might find the west coast a better fit.

Many travelers who opt to stay close to Hilo for its affordable accommodations soon realize that the sunny beaches they dreamed of are not within convenient driving distance. In fact, these beautiful beaches are located on the Kailua-Kona side, which is nearly a 2 1/2-hour drive away! So it’s all the more reason to plan accordingly based on what you want to do!

East Side Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Paradise Cottage At Anthurium Hale

Situated in Hilo, this affordable option offers cozy and private cottages with a tropical flair. It has received high ratings for its value for money and elevated experience. The cottage is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers stunning mountain and city views. Guests appreciate the exclusive gated access that ensures privacy and security. With access to a private beach, couples can enjoy serene moments and breathtaking sunsets. Onsite staff provide delightful amenities, including spa services for the ultimate luxury experience. The cottage also offers an outdoor kitchen with BBQ facilities that allow couples to create their own dream wedding or intimate reception of up to 35 guests. There is also an indoor dining area that is perfect for small gatherings.

SCP Hilo Hotel

This hotel is a great choice for travelers seeking affordable accommodations in Hilo. It offers clean rooms and friendly staff, ensuring a comfortable stay. Guests appreciate its convenient location and reasonable prices, making it a popular budget option. The hotel features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and laundry facilities for guests’ convenience. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast served daily in the lobby. The on-site restaurant specializes in Hawaiian cuisine with local flavors. With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, this hotel provides everything you need for a memorable stay.

Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo

Located on the stunning coastline of Hilo Bay, the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – a DoubleTree by Hilton is a perfect destination for travelers seeking a memorable stay on the Big Island. This oceanfront hotel offers panoramic tropical views and is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Hilo International Airport. For those looking to explore the wonders of Hilo and the surrounding area, the hotel’s location is ideal. Situated near Hilo Bay, guests can easily access attractions such as the beautiful Wailuku River State Park and the iconic Rainbow Falls. Additionally, the hotel is just a short drive away from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, allowing guests to witness the awe-inspiring power of nature.

The property boasts a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Guests can indulge in a round of golf on the hotel’s 9-hole golf course or simply relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. The hotel also offers free on-site parking, making it convenient for guests with their own transportation.

VRBO & Airbnb

Both VRBO and Airbnb offer budget-friendly options for staying in Hilo, making it easier for travelers to find affordable accommodations without compromising on comfort. These platforms provide a wide range of vacation rentals, including houses, condos, and apartments, allowing visitors to choose the option that best suits their needs and budget. Additionally, many of the rentals come with amenities such as pool and hot tub access, air conditioning, and full kitchen facilities.

Luxury East Side Accommodations

Volcano Village Lodge

Located just two miles from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Volcano Village Lodge on the east side of the Big Island offers a unique and enchanting lodging experience. This award-winning luxury bed and breakfast is nestled within the lush rainforest of Volcano, Hawaii. Its proximity to the national park makes it an ideal choice for those looking to explore the captivating wonders of the area.

The Volcano Village Lodge features five private guest cottages, each providing a comfortable and secluded retreat. The cottages are thoughtfully designed to blend harmoniously with the surrounding natural beauty. Guests can expect cozy interiors adorned with rustic furnishings and warm wood accents, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Volcano Village Estates

Nestled within the lush rainforest on the east side of the Big Island, Volcano Village Estates, previously known as Hale Ohia, offers a serene and enchanting escape for those seeking a unique bed and breakfast experience. This charming estate provides guests with a quintessential rainforest getaway, where they can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while enjoying the comforts of a cozy lodging. The location of Volcano Village Estates is truly remarkable, being just minutes away from the magnificent Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Guests can easily explore the park’s awe-inspiring landscapes, from volcanic-formed black sand beaches to stunning coastal stretches.

The atmosphere at Volcano Village Estates is nothing short of serene, allowing visitors to unwind and rejuvenate amidst the tranquil forest surroundings. With scattered guest quarters nestled within a two-acre estate, guests can enjoy privacy and seclusion in their own little haven. The impeccable grounds, adorned with emerald-green moss and shaded by towering sugi trees, lend a sense of tranquility to the estate. Additionally, the estate is conveniently located near Highway 11, providing easy access to other attractions on the east side of the Big Island, such as Hilo. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the nearby national park or simply yearning for peace and quiet in a rainforest retreat, Volcano Village Estates offers a delightful and memorable stay on the east side of the Big Island.

Activities On The Big Island

The Big Island offers an array of exciting activities that will make your trip unforgettable. From exploring stunning beaches to embarking on thrilling ATV tours, there’s something for everyone.

One of the most incredible experiences you can have on the Big Island is swimming with manta rays. Snorkeling alongside these gentle giants is truly otherworldly and will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders. Another must-do activity is visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Witnessing the power of an active volcano is a sight you’ll never forget.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the chance to explore Akaka Falls State Park and witness the breathtaking beauty of the ʻAkaka Falls. For adrenaline junkies, biking through the island’s scenic landscapes is a great way to get your heart racing.

The Big Island also offers a paradise for beach lovers. With its pristine shores, you can relax under the sun or try your hand at surfing the island’s famous waves. The Big Island truly has it all–natural wonders, thrilling activities, and vibrant culture. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable vacation filled with fun and excitement on the Big Island! We are going to dive into all the amazing and fun activities both sides of the island have to offer!

Puako Petroglph park

West Side Activities

Golf at Mauna Lani Resort: Enjoy a round of golf on one of the stunning courses at Mauna Lani Resort, known for its scenic views and challenging holes.

Snorkel with manta rays in Kona: Embark on an unforgettable adventure to swim with majestic manta rays at night, witnessing their graceful movements up close.

Big Island Family Portraits: The amazing beaches on the west side of the Big Island make for an amazing location for family portraits. Commemorate your Hawaii vacation with the ultimate souvenir.

Relax at Hapuna State Beach: Spend a day soaking up the sun and swimming in the turquoise waters of Hapuna Beach, one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.

Visit the Seahorse Farm: Explore the fascinating world of seahorses at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm in Kona, where you can learn about conservation efforts and even hold a seahorse.

Take a scenic drive along Kohala Mountain Road: Enjoy breathtaking views of the lush landscapes and rugged coastline as you drive through the picturesque Kohala Mountain Road.

Enjoy a scenic helicopter tour over the Kohala Coast: Soar above the coastline and witness the beauty of the Big Island from a unique aerial perspective.
Discover the petroglyphs at Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve: Explore the ancient rock carvings that depict Hawaiian history and culture, offering a glimpse into the island’s past.

Go hiking in Waipio Valley: Embark on an adventurous hike through the lush Waipio Valley, known for its stunning waterfalls, black sand beach, and breathtaking vistas.

Enjoy a sunset catamaran cruise: Set sail along the coast and witness a breathtaking sunset while relaxing onboard a catamaran, a perfect way to end a day in paradise.

Get Married on The Big Island: The Big Island is an amazing location for a destination wedding, providing some of Hawaii’s most breathtaking beaches and wedding venues.

Kilauea Volcano

East Side Activities

Explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Discover the awe-inspiring power of the Kilauea volcano and explore the diverse volcanic landscapes within the national park. Hike through lava fields, visit volcanic craters, and learn about the island’s geological wonders. We highly recommend staying at least a portion of your trip on the East Side if you want to visit the Volcanoes!

Discover Stunning Waterfalls: Witness the breathtaking power and beauty of the east side’s cascading waterfalls. Visit popular spots like Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls, where you can admire the roaring waters and capture memorable photos.

Hike to Hidden Gems: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the trails around the volcano. From the popular Kīlauea Iki Trail to lesser-known paths, there are adventures suited for all levels.

Trek Through Lush Rainforests: Immerse yourself in the lush tropical forests of the east side. Take a hike through verdant landscapes, encounter vibrant flora and fauna, and be enchanted by the beauty of hidden waterfalls along the way.

Snorkel with Marine Life: Richardson Ocean Park is renowned for its clear waters, making it an ideal place to spot various marine creatures like tropical fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating sea life.

Zipline through Forest Canopies: Feel the rush of adrenaline as you soar through the forest canopies on a thrilling zipline adventure.

Explore Lava Tubes: Venture underground and explore the captivating lava tubes created by ancient volcanic activity. Don your headlamp and wander through these natural tunnels, marveling at the unique rock formations and otherworldly atmosphere.

Horseback Riding: Saddle up and go horseback riding through scenic ranches and coastal surroundings.

big island beach resort

Splitting Your Vacation Time Between The East & West Sides

Can you experience it all? Yes, of course! Even though the Big Island is big, you don’t need to be limited to just one side of the island. Splitting your time between the east and west sides can offer you the best of both worlds. It’s wise to decide on the activities you want to experience ahead of time, regardless of which side of the island they are located on. This way, you can plan your accommodations and rental car accordingly, ensuring you make the most of your time. If you’re keen on exploring the volcanoes, witnessing lava flows, and immersing yourself in the lush rainforests of the east side, we recommend to allocate a significant portion of your stay in that area.

On the other hand, if you’re craving sunshine, beautiful beaches, and the laid-back vibes of the west side, you may want to spend a considerable amount of time there as well. So, what’s the solution? Rent a car and plan out your itinerary based on your activities!

Renting a car is essential for exploring the Big Island and getting around conveniently! Numerous car rental companies operate on the island, providing reliable vehicles for your adventure. One suggestion is to consider renting a car in Hilo and dropping it off in Kona, or vice versa, depending on your itinerary. This can save you time and make your journey more seamless. And most importantly, your vacation time isn’t wasted in the car! We can’t stress how important it is to plan your trip ahead of time, including booking any activities, hotels, and transportation as soon as you have your itinerary planned out.

Here is a list of reputable car rental companies on the Big Island:

By splitting your vacation time between the east and west sides of the Big Island, you can truly immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes and experiences this tropical paradise has to offer!

Karma Hill - Author - Wedding Photographer - wedding planner
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Karma Hill is the owner of Karma Hill Photography, Simple Maui Wedding, Simple Oahu Wedding, and Simple Hawaii Wedding, marking a significant presence in the Hawaii wedding community since 2007. With a wealth of experience and a vast collection of informative posts on weddings and photography in Hawaii, Karma Hill offers unparalleled expertise. Explore the world of photography and wedding planning across Hawaii by visiting Karma's websites.

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