destination hawaii island

Destination: Hawaii Island

On the Big Island of Hawaii, all roads are less traveled

With an area more than twice the combined size of its island siblings, the Island of Hawaii is all about open space. Its landscapes are vast and diverse, wild and raw, and offer endless opportunities to experience outdoor adventure.

There’s always something to discover on the Island of Hawaii.

See the island with Paradise Helicopters.

Many of the island’s most spectacular spots are inaccessible by road or trail, so you’ll want to begin your adventure with a bird’s-eye view of the Big Island’s offerings. Take a Safari Helicopters tour of the Kilauea lava flows at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the lush rain forests and waterfalls of the Hilo and Puna districts.

See one of the world's most intense natural phenomena at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

For the more adventurous, Paradise Helicopters offers a number of flexible tour options, including its Circle Island Experience and tours that make swim stops at secluded waterfalls. 

Safari Helicopters offers flexible and customized tour options.

Now that you’ve oriented yourself, outdoor adventure awaits. Come face to face with one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Ski island snow on Mauna Kea, one of the tallest mountains in the world. Ramble to windswept South Point for a day of cliff diving. When white sand beaches start to bore you, you can try the black sand. And if black sand isn’t doing it for you, try the green sand beaches. Ride into the sunset on horseback with Waimea’s rolling ranchlands as your backdrop. Or go night swimming with manta rays off the Kona coast. The possibilities are endless.

hi forest & trail
Zipline adventures with Hawaii Forest and Trail.

Hawaii Forest and Trail, located in Kailua-Kona, offers a number of guided tours that showcase Hawaii Island’s unique landscapes and ecosystems. More than a mere hike with tons of photo ops, Hawaii Forest and Trail’s tours offer a hands-on education in the island’s geology, biology and cultural history. 

If all of the adventuring has you beat, take a few days off to recharge. If you’re looking to shop, why not spend a day in Hilo Town shopping Bay Front surf shops and boutiques. You can also cruise the shops along Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona.

bi candies
You can't go wrong with a gift from Big Island Candies.

When in Hilo, stop by Big Island Candies and get yourself some goodies for your friends and family. Renowned for its hand-dipped shortbread cookies, Big Island Candies has grown steadily over the decades. Big Islanders know that when you need a gift, you can’t go wrong with something sweet from Big Island Candies. Though it’s made its name with its dipped shortbread, the macadamia-nut brownies and blondies are amazing, too.

kona coffee fest
Celebrate Kona's famous coffee harvest at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. 

If on the Kona side, celebrate the annual coffee harvest by visiting the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, held in November and recognized as Hawaii’s oldest food festival. Coffee has been an integral part of the island’s economy for more than 200 years and its significance to the region goes beyond economics. 

tori richard
Outfit yourself in the latest Island fashions at Tori Richard. 

Stop in at Tori Richard at the King’s Shops in Waikoloa and get yourself some cool island threads. With nearly 60 years in the aloha apparel industry, Tori Richard clothing is island style at its most stylish. It’s perfect for a candlelit dinner overlooking the ocean.

Experiencing the Big Island in one trip can feel frustrating because you’ll always find something you missed, something you wished you would have seen or explored, tasted or took home with you. Don’t worry. There’s always next time.


This special sponsored section can be found in our September/October 2017 print issue, "Hidden Kauai." Get your copy by contacting our Circulation Department at or call 800-788-4230.