MI OLA Ambassador @MarinJayden is a yogi, mother, influencer, and entrepreneur who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. One of Marin’s favorite things to do is to get out there with her family, especially if yoga and digital media are involved! Of all the places in the world she’s traveled to, the Big Island of Hawaii was so remarkable that her family just had to move there. Check out her #GetOutThere Guide to the Big Island of Hawaii below!
#GetOutThereGuide: Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and the youngest. It hosts roughly 187,000 residents on its 4,028 square miles. In my opinion, the Big Island has the most diversity in natural beauty, activities, and Aloha spirit of all the Hawaiian chain. From Mauna Kea (the tallest mountain on Earth – much of the mountain is under water), Pele’s volcanic lava, gorgeous tropical beaches, lush jungles, cool country land, to beautiful snorkeling, diving, hikes, tours, helicopter rides, and resorts, the Big Island has plenty for people of all interests!
How to get there:
The Big Island is the furthest South East in Hawaii. It’s located roughly 2,400 miles off the coast of California. The most efficient way to get there is to fly. There are two main airports located on either side of the island: Hilo International and Kailua-Kona. If you’re looking to save, check into flying to Honolulu first, then island hopping over to Big Island. This can often reduce the cost of flights significantly.
What to do:
The biggest reason we moved to the Big Island is because there’s tons to do, but it still maintains that local island flavor and feel. If it’s your first time on the island, I always recommend taking the time to tour the entire island. Just be aware, unless you are here for an extended period, you most likely won’t get to it all! Some of the major must-do’s are:
- See both Sides: Check out Kona Town and Hilo’s farmers market for some good eats.
- Get an underwater view!: Whether you dive, snorkel, or just prefer looking down from a glass boat, you must check out marine life while you’re here! Two-Step is my favorite snorkel spot and if it’s whale season, get up early and head to a bay to see the gentle giants play.
- Visit Pele at Volcano National Park: If you can get on a helicopter, the sights are well worth it. Click here to to see where the action is before you go and be sure to check the weather.
- See some waterfalls: Waipio is a top notch spot. You’ll have to rent a 4 wheel drive or hike down (and back up the steep cliff). This pristine, sacred land, with breathtaking sights and wild, roaming horses, is worth the trek.
- Get above the clouds on Mauna Kea and visit the observation center: You will also need a 4 wheel car or hire a shuttle to take you up. If you love physical challenges you can schedule a hike to the top by foot.
- Eat local!: Coffee, macadamia nuts and cacao are some of the islands many fresh agricultural draws that are worth checking out if you’re a foodie, so pick your poison and get on a farm tour or tasting.
Where to stay:
I think it’s totally worth spending nights on both sides of the island as the social feel can be as diverse as the climate and geography. VRBO is growing here like everywhere else and the value of staying with residents can not be overlooked. At the same time, if you want a plush getaway and to be on one of the best beaches, Mana Kea Resort is probably the most ideal. Waikoloa Beach, and Kailua Kona also have nice resorts on smaller beaches and with different amenities.
Big Island tips:
- Look for car rental options from local groups or Harper trucks that allow off road use. So many of the really cool adventures here require getting a little bumpy.
- Pack reef safe sunscreen.
- Drive slowly with aloha and see more of the hidden gems.
- If you are a member of Costco, stop at Costco if you land on Kona side. It’s a great place to get deals on local adventures, water and snacks for long adventures or beach bum days.
- Pack genuine smiles and family attitude! Hawaii is tight nit and aloha driven, so if you want to fit in and feel the splendid warmth of the people here, you need to bring it yourself. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of love and generosity that is the real magic of Hawaii outside of the beautiful landscapes.