At a Glance
When to Go
Mainland domestic travelers can land directly at both Hilo and Kona international airports, but most international and many domestic flights connect through Honolulu International Airport on Oahu. Honolulu serves major U.S. airlines alongside international carriers like Japan Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Air Canada. Hawaiian, Island Air, and Mokulele airlines operate interisland flights for travelers arriving from within the state of Hawaii.
The Island of Hawaii may seem small, but it is large and low-density enough to warrant a car rental. Guests who prefer to stay in one place for most of their trip can rely on taxis and shuttles, and tour companies typically provide pickup services and meet guests at their hotels. But a car is recommended for a trip including both sides of the island. Allow two hours to drive between Hilo and Kona, an hour from Hilo to Volcanoes National Park, and 90 minutes from the town of Volcano to South Point. With some scheduling flexibility, travelers can take advantage of plentiful roadside stops.
Food and Drink
Historians believe that the first South Pacific islanders to reach the Hawaiian islands landed their boats on Hawaii's South Point. Other important historic sites include the birthplace of King Kamehameha I, thousands of petroglyphs etched by the island's first settlers, and Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook was killed. Also notice the sugar, coffee, and macadamia nut plantations, which have been a mainstay of Hawaii’s agriculture for generations.
In addition to U.S. federal holidays, Hawaii observes a unique calendar of state holidays that honor the history and culture of the Hawaiian people. Parades and festivities mark Kamehameha Day, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, and Statehood Day. The Island of Hawaii hosts the Merrie Monarch Festival to honor King David Kalakaua with music, a parade, local crafts, and an internationally acclaimed hula contest. If you're on the island in October, don't miss the annual Ironman World Championship, held in Kona.
What the Locals Know
Born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Washington State, Andrea calls North America home with a predisposition to the Pacific states. She most recently lived and worked in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she relished long weekends on the neighboring islands and searched for the best fish taco on Oahu. A marketing professional, Andrea is currently developing her own travel, photography, and design business, The Earth Ink, with postcards and travel items in the development pipeline.