The Big Island

Aptly named "The Big Island," the island of Hawai'i is the youngest and biggest island in the Hawaiian island chain. It also boasts the highest number of national parks in the state. Whether the Big Island is the only island you'll visit or it's your first stop while you're island hopping, there is a diversity of landscapes and habitats on the Big Island that will make a visit an experience to remember.

Learn more about a visit to the Big Island below.

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Watch this short video for a taste of what you can find in the National Parks of Hawaii Island.

Know Before You Go

  • How long should I plan on visiting the island? Though many people think of the islands as small and may try to fill it all in in one day, the Big Island is a large and diverse island. It's twice the size of Delaware! Plan on spending two or three days on the island at least.
  • Can I visit without a car? Although it has limited schedules, check out the Hele-On Bus schedules and maps to use the island's mass transit for your visit.
  • It's warm, right? Should I only bring tank tops? Weather in Hawai'i is extremely varied. You can find snow on its highest mountains even in summer, If you're on the wet side of the island, rain is inevitable. Plan to dress in layers and be prepared for wet and dry weather. Sunscreen is a must, but please purchase "reef-safe" sunscreen to protect our ocean ecosystems.
  • Should I only bring flip flops? If you're visiting Hawai'i national parks, you'll be walking over many uneven surfaces. Much of Hawai'i is lava rock, which can be sharp or bumpy. We recommend good hiking or walking shoes.
  • What's going on with the volcano? Funny you should ask. We have a page for that!

Getting to the Big Island

Hilo and Kona, the island's two biggest towns, are serviced by airports. Hilo Airport, on the eastern side of the island, is serviced by inter-island carrier Hawaiian Airlines. Kona Airport, on the western side of the island, is the most popular and is served by inter-island carriers Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines. Some airlines fly direct to Kona, and most major airlines fly direct from the US mainland to Oahu and then offer a short 35–40 minute flight to the Big Island. If you're island hopping, consider flying in on one side of the island and departing on the other to make the most of your visit.

More About The Big Island

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    Last updated: August 22, 2019