The Island of Hawaii

The Big Island

Welcome to the Big Island

Hawaii Island–Experience the Awesome Power of Nature

From molten magma flows at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to snow-capped peaks of Maunakea, no island captures the power of nature quite like Hawaii Island. This dramatic fire and ice contrast are balanced by lush Hamakua Coast rainforests, Kona coffee farms, waterfalls and sacred valleys.

Castle runs the range with accommodations in the upcountry’s paniolo-infused Waimea, charming Hilo, golf-centric Waikoloa Beach Resort and the lively fishing village of Kailua-Kona that hosts major fishing, paddling and endurance events. Whether it’s a sunrise hike, sunset selfie-fest or manta ray night dive, this diverse, mellow island packs a powerful punch.

Explore the Island

Big Island Facts

Explore the Island

Sizing up at some 4,050 sq. miles, Hawaii Island is approximately the same size as the state of Connecticut. And for an island in the middle of the Pacific, that’s big! Comprised of five major volcanoes, the youngest in the Hawaiian chain has origins dating back some 800,000 years. And it is still growing daily thanks to Kilauea Volcano on the eastern coast. 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tops the list. Four months after closing due to intense and damaging volcanic activity, the park reopened in mid-September 2018. Aside from its stark lava landscapes that make for great hiking, HAVO protects some of the most unique geological, biological and cultural landscapes in the world. Extending from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 ft., the park encompasses the summits of two of the world's most active volcanoes–Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The latter is a 4,000-foot-tall mountain that has been spewing, oozing and spitting since Jan. 3, 1983. 

Absolutely! Although the eruptions have stopped and some of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s infrastructure is temporarily closed for repair, visitors still have access to Chain of Craters Road, Halemaumau Trail via Crater Rim Trail by Volcano House, Devastation Trail, Puu Puai Overlook, Mauna Loa Summit and Kahuku. Unfortunately, Jaggar Museum is closed at this time. Be sure to check inside the Kilauea Visitor Center to see if any ranger-led activities coincide with your visit.

Not known for an abunance of great swimming beaches, the island features a handfull of popular picks along the Kona and Kohala Coasts. Among these, people love Hapuna Beach just north of Kona for its long stretch of soft sand fringing clear Pacific water. Swimming conditions are usually perfect, and experienced snorkelers can work their way nearly a mile down the coast to reach Wailea Bay. Just north is Kaunaoa Beach that’s also known as Mauna Kea Beach for the resort that rests above it. Protected from the surf by a natural rock reef, the beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and boogie boarding.

Also check out Maniniowali Beach on Kua Bay in Kona, Makalawena Beach that is accessible via a 20-minute hike across an unpaved lava path and Waialea Beach (also know as 69 Milemarker Beach) located on the southern portion of Kawaihae Bay. 

Boasting some of the best snorkeling in the Hawaiian Islands, Kealakekua Bay is marked by a monument that honors explorer Captain James Cook who lost his life there in 1779. Here, you can meander amid abundant marine life within coral and lava rock reefs where below-the-surface visibility is up to 100 feet deep. Companies like Fair Wind daily tours to experience the flurry of fish at Kealakekua Bay and beyond.

Mellow Hilo has a time warp appearance with its historic buildings, parks, museums and lush gardens. Queen Liliuokalani Gardens wows those into botany with 30 acres of Hawaiian and Oriental plantings, pagodas, walkways, ponds and bridges. At the daily Hilo Farmers Market, local purveyors and artisans sell everything from seafood, fruit and produce to clothing and handicrafts. “Big Market Days” are Wednesday and Saturday. And most travelers agree there's no better place on the Big Island to sample local produce and purchase local crafts. Other town points of interest include the Pacific Tsunami Museum, Imiloa Astronomy Center, Mokupapapa Discovery Center and the East-West Cultural Center.

Just outside of town, be sure to check out Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots. During heavy water flows, Boiling Pots’ terraced pools that are fed by Peepee Falls appear to be boiling–which explains its moniker. 

Most agree that traveling along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor on the northern coast is one of the island’s most beautiful drives. This beautiful drive meanders along sea cliffs and through lush rainforests punctuated with waterfalls. Along the way, you can view two cascades at Akaka Falls State Park, the stunning Waipio Valley Overlook and Laupuhoehoe, a small town that was destroyed by the “April Fools Day” tsunami that hit the area on April 1, 1941. 1941. 

Home of the paniolo (cowboy), Waimea Town is beautifully perched in rolling hills at some 2,500 ft. above sea level. Its 225,000-acre Parker Ranch owns bragging rights as the largest single-owned cattle ranch in the U.S. For recreation, Kahua Ranch allows visitors to explore Waimea’s dramatic landscapes by on ATVs or by horseback riding. After a day of roaming the range, stay on for a famous Big Island sunset and barbecue dinner with dancing, live music and warm campfire. 

An ancient playground of Hawaiian royalty, this former fishing village more commonly known as Kona is coveted for extreme sports, deep sea fishing, historic sites and an easy-going vibe. On Alii Drive, you’ll find Mokuaikaua Church, Hulihee Palace and Kamakahonu, the restored compound where King Kamehameha spent his final years. Ocean lovers can also tap into stand up paddling, kayaking, swimming and outrigger paddling in typically gentle waters.  

Yes, as a member of Castle's rental program, you are automatically enrolled in our Castle Owner Circle Program. This will allow you to save an additional 10% off our best available rate at all of our participating Castle properties in Hawaii and New Zealand. All Owner Circle members also enjoy free room upgrades and save when booking with Dollar-Rent-A-Car.

A former retreat for Hawaiian royalty, the village of Kailua-Kona was the last home of King Kamehameha I until his passing in 1819. Today, the endurance-centric town pays homage to recreational royalty during the IRONMAN World Championship each October. 

On Labor Day Weekend, the Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races finds some 2,500 diehard paddlers from across the globe competing in such events as a grueling 18-mile race, Hukilau OC4 8-Person Relay and Double Hull Race. In late July-early August, Kona also hosts the Hawaii International Billfish Tournament that attracts anglers and teams from across the globe.  

 

Big Island Attractions, Tours and Activities

 It’s called “The Big Island” for a reason. There are so many things to do that you'll never be able to do them all in just one visit. Spend a day experiencing Kilauea, the most active volcano in Hawaii. Then visit the man family-friendly attractions, which include Hawaiian Luaus , Dinner Cruises and swimming with Dolphins , Manta Rays .Check out more activities and attractions 

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