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    Hawaii’s Big Island towns and resorts each carry their perks for enjoying the variety of features and views of the largest island in the Hawaiian chain. There are resorts on the windward north and east sides as well as the leeward south and west. Some others inland have you within easy reach to beautiful countryside and what the island is best known for – active volcanoes and otherworldly lava landscapes.

    From scenic shores with luxury resorts and beaches in exotic colours to waterfalls and lush rainforests, enjoying the different sides of the island is better if you know where to stay on Hawaii Island to take them all in. It’s named so for a reason, and you’re spoilt for choice. Let us help point you to the best Big Island towns and resorts.

    1

    Kailua-Kona

    Big Island’s main beach resort

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    Kailua-Kona on the west side is Big Island’s beach holiday epicentre, with plenty of coastal strips and bays offering seaside fun and lots of sunshine. You’ll find plenty of accommodation choices, ranging from lavish 5-star international chains to condos. It’s an ideal place to stay for being within reach to some of the island’s best beaches and cultural sites. There’s also a variety of shops, restaurants, and hot spots to revel the night away.

    With its popularity, though, it’s not for those looking to avoid the crowds. Even so, North Kona has upper and inland areas like around the foot of Hualalai Volcano, but which puts you farther from the seascapes and swimming. Towards South Kona, you’ll find a good range of budget accommodation ranging from B&Bs and guesthouses.

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    φωτογραφία από Robert Linsdell (CC BY 2.0) τροποποιήθηκε

    2

    Hilo Town

    For lush nature escapes in the countryside

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    Choosing Hilo Town and its surrounding areas as your place to stay on Hawaii’s Big Island means you’re bound for magnificent views and natural beauty. This side of the island also lets you escape from the common crowds of the west, particularly in the popular Kailua-Kona area. Many hotels in the town also overlook the beautiful bay.

    Being the main resort area in Big Island’s eastern ‘windward’ side, Hilo experiences more rainfall than the rest of the island – a reason for its lush valleys, rainforests and gorgeous waterfalls. And with its accessibility to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hilo is simply the place to choose if you’re a nature lover visiting Big Island for splendid scenery and a taste of adventure.

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    3

    Waikoloa

    A sunny west coast for beach-loving families

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    In Waikoloa, north of Kailua-Kona, you can expect sunnier weather almost throughout the year compared to Big Island’s other areas. It also tends to be breezier than the rest of the west coast, with winds blowing around and down the long foothills of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano from the eastern ‘windward’ side of the island.

    Even so, the coast of Waikoloa offers beautiful beaches like the white-sand ʻAnaehoʻomalu Beach where families can enjoy splendid swimming, snorkelling, and even hiking. Waikoloa’s resort areas share the same well-developed feel of Kailua-Kona, with a good selection of shops and restaurants and bars alongside lavish hotels, golf courses, and oceanfront clubs. Note that the nightlife scene here isn’t as lively as the popular Kailua-Kona.

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    4

    Puako and Kawaihae, South Kohala

    For tranquillity on the west coast

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    South Kohala is just north of Waikoloa, with the main towns being Puako and Kawaihae. Hapuna Beach State Park sits halfway between both towns, and adjacent luxury beach and golf resorts overlook Hapuna Bay and Kauna’oa Beach. Both are favourite go-to spots for those staying in Waikoloa and looking for a change of scene.

    In Kawaihae, check out the national historic sites of Mailekini Heiau and Puukohala Heiau (Temple on the Hill of the Whale), which were built by Kamehameha the Great, the father of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A shoreline with black lava rock looks out to excellent surf, with tidal pools in the foreground where sea turtles occasionally swim. South Kohala is where you can take in Big Island’s quieter sunsets.

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    5

    Volcano

    Easily escape into lava land

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    Volcano, also called ‘Volcano Village’ or ‘Volcano Town’, is where you’d want to be if you're visiting Big Island for its main feature. It'll treat you to an escape from the popular beach resorts of Hilo or Kailua-Kona on both sides of the island to a more rural experience. Just outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, accommodation options include inns and lodges that serve as great bases for your exploration of the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

    The park also has plenty of huge moon-like craters and crevices, with red hot lava oozing down the volcano and into the ocean. Take a boat tour to get the best view of the lava, from a safe distance! You can also explore the 11-mile-long Crater Rim Drive for great views of sulphur, steam vents and lava tubes. For molten lava, go to the east rift zone.

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    6

    Hamakua Coast

    For scenery and serenity

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    The Hamakua Coast is arguably one of the island’s most tranquil locations, which has fantastic beaches and a lush, almost jungle-like, scenery. It’s one of the best places to stay on the Big Island if you’re looking towards hiking many of the island’s best nature trails.

    Accommodation options in Hamakua are scarcer than what you’d find elsewhere on Hawaii Big Island. Alternatively, you can opt for Honoka'a the town serves as the gateway to the Hāmākua Coast, the chain of valleys to the North (including the regal Waipio Valley), and the rolling slopes of Mauna Kea.

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    φωτογραφία από W Nowicki (CC BY 3.0) τροποποιήθηκε

    7

    Puna

    A base to escape and explore

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    Puna, Keaau and Pahoa are some of the great locations on Big Island in which to base yourself for some memorable explorations of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park next door. Note that there are fewer options here than in Hilo, so it’s worth booking ahead, particularly when there is an eruption occurring. Farmstays, meditation centres, eco-retreats and funky rentals abound in this area, which let you stay close to the volcano.

    Keaau and Pahoa are nearby alternatives to the north of Puna, with Keeau being more of a residential area and Pahoa being home to very few inns set in the lush countryside.

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    8

    Kapaau

    The windy north coast

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    Kapaau, together with Halaʻula and Hāwī on both sides of the town, is part of North Kohala, where you can stay in the northernmost part of Big Island. It’s best known for its gusty lava rock shoreline and being the birthplace of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s founder and king.

    The flowing green hills surrounding these towns offer a nice break from the typical holiday beachfront scenes of Hawaii’s popular west coast. Staying here offers as a great base for exploring the fertile and scenic Pololu Valley. There are several different scenic viewpoints along this coast besides Polulu, as well as a wind farm that makes good use of the continuous stream of Pacific winds.

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    φωτογραφία από Bill Abbott (CC BY-SA 2.0) τροποποιήθηκε

    9

    Kau

    For exploring the southern coast

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    Kau is right on Big Island's southern coast, which offers good proximity to Ka Lae – the southernmost point of the USA – and the exotic black sands of Punalu’u Beach. It’s well worth staying here for a few days if you want to check out and explore these far-flung attractions.

    There aren’t many other highlights in the area apart from the lush Kaʻū Forest Reserve, which has sprawling natural forests and waterfalls with tranquil walking trails. Unless you’re here for the natural sights and a memorable adventure, it wouldn’t be advisable to stay here for the entire duration of your holiday. There are plenty of B&Bs, inns, and plantation cottages around the forest reserve area.

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    10

    Waimea

    Stay with a backdrop of Mauna Kea

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    The centrally positioned Waimea Town lies on the north-western slopes of the Mauna Kea volcano and Pu'u O Umi Natural Area Reserve area. This puts you close to many of the island’s top attractions, making it a great place to stay if you’re doing a roundtrip of Big Island.

    There are plenty of shops and restaurants, with the volcano Mauna Kea offering a pretty impressive backdrop almost anywhere you stay or look. You can choose to stay at one of many country lodges, inns, and B&Bs around Waimea, or more luxurious options in the nearby seaside towns and golf resorts of Puako and Kawaihae in South Kohala.

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