Yes, everyone loves the Big Island for its rustic black beaches, incredible hiking trails, and laid back towns like Hilo and Kona. But what you don’t often hear is how great the destination can be for gay travelers specifically. With LGBTQ-friendly accommodation, bars, and even clothing-optional beaches, here are five spots that can’t be missed on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Where to stay
Ka’awa Loa Plantation
A gay-owned and operated B&B on the Kona side of the island, the Ka’awa Loa Plantation is situated close to some of the less touristy beaches for snorkeling in the area. The five-acre property sits above Kealakekua Bay, a storied patch of water that’s home to one of Hawaii’s most vibrant coral reefs. The Plantation is also a fully functioning farm, growing avocados, papayas, dragon fruit, and perhaps Kona’s most famous crop, coffee.
Absolute Paradise B&B
This B&B outright caters to LGBTQ clients. It’s a clothing-optional establishment with a swimming pool, and they’re just short walk from another clothing-optional black-sand beach, Kehena. Absolute Paradise B&B is a great place to set yourself up on the east coast of the island, especially if you’re planning to hike Hawai’i Volcano National Park.
Where to celebrate
This establishment’s claim to fame is that it’s the only full-on gay bar in Hawaii outside of Honolulu, but it’s so non-descript—tucked in a strip mall off of the island’s west coast highway—that it can be easy to miss. However, with karaoke, trivia, drink specials, and friendly bartenders, missing a night out at Mask-querade Bar would be a true mistake.
More LGBTQ-friendly than all-the-way-gay, My Bar is a fun locals spot around Kona with pool tables, DJs, and karaoke. The bar hosts a regular raucous party cruise with whale watching that ends with a BBQ about once a month.
Where to sunbathe
Tucked away in a small corner of the Kohala coast, this pristine beach attracts the largest gay crowd in town. The snorkeling is incredible—clear conditions and so many varities of fish—and it’s not so far from what are considered the Big Island’s most pristine sands, Hapuna Beach. No suit needed, if that’s your thing.
>> Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Hawaii