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Places to Visit in Hilo, Kona, Volcano, Big Island of Hawaii

Things to do / Travel Guide

Windward Hawaii

This refers to the eastern side of the Big Island, from Hilo north, along the Hamakua Coast to the Waipio Valley. This tropical area sees rainfall frequently and, as a result, is lush and green. It is also where Akaka and Rainbow Falls are located.


Hilo is the only city on the Big Island, but tourists often pass it by. The climate is tropical and humid; the sights, quaint and historic. To get a good perspective of the city, you can take a walk around the Banyan Drive area.

North Kohala

North Kohala is located on the northern tip of the Big Island. It is quite remote from the main population and tourist centers, but does contain some sites of interest.
Mookini Heiau is difficult to reach, but is one of the most historically significant and inspiring sites in Hawaii. Kamehahmeha's birthplace is also nearby. Hawi is a quaint, low-key, former sugar town. There's also a footpath that leads down to the Pololu Valley at the end of the road from Hawi.

Leeward Coast

The Leeward coast refers to the western side of the Big Island. This is where the prime resort and vacation destinations lie. The area includes, from north to south, South Kohala, North Kona, Kailua-Kona, and South Kona.

South Kohala and North Kona

These are the areas that encompass the main resorts, golf courses, and the most popular beaches. While the landscape is arid, the ocean provides ample opportunity for activity-seekers to get wet.


This town is the tourist and commercial center of the Leeward coast, with entertainment, shopping, sports activities, and several sites of historical interest. The resort accommodations are not located in the actual town.

South Kona

This is the place to go for excellent diving, and to check out plantations and historical sites. The artsy village of Holualoa is a good place to sample Kona coffee, made from some of the Big Island's freshly-grown beans.

Waimea (and the Interior)

Waimea, also known as Kamuela, is the center of the island's cattle industry. This access point to Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea is also where the roads in the north part of the island meet. From here, the Saddle Road cuts across the island to Hilo. There are very limited services in this area.

Kau District

The Kau District is the remote and sparsely populated area on the southern side of the island. There are some lush spaces, but for the most part, it's a desert. This desert, however, is unique in that no cacti, sagebrushes, or camels can be found; just barren fields of black lava. Visitors to this area mainly come for the exotic, deserted beaches.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This area contains two active volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The nearest commercial center is in the town of Volcano, located outside the park.

Puna District

This refers to the easternmost part of the island. It's quite isolated from the rest of the island, both geographically and socially, as lava flows provide a natural land barrier and as the locals and visitors usually lead alternative lifestyles. The district's natural attractions are mostly lava related, with black sand beaches, tide pools, lava flows, and lava trees among the more interesting sights.

Places to Visit in Hilo, Kona, Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii

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Mauna Loa Volcano Mountain - Hawaii
Akoni Pule Highway
Beach Road
Captain Cook Monument
Chain of the Craters Road
Circle the Rim
Crater Rim Drive
Escape to Mauna Ulu
Four Seasons Resort Hualiali
Hawi, HI
Hilina Pali Overlook
Hilo Farmer's Market
Hilo, HI
Kahua Ranch
Kaiwi Point
Kalahuipuaa Fishponds
Kamehahmeha's birthplace
Kapoho Tide Pools
King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
Kohala Ditch
Kohala Mountains Road
Kona Coffee Country
Kulani Trails
Mana Road
Mauna Kea Resort
Mauna Lanai Resort
Old Puna Trail
Parker Ranch
Pine Trees Beach
Pohue Road
Pololu Valley Overlook
Ride Ainahou Ranch
Saddle Road
Suisan Fish Auction
Summit to Sea
Two Step at Honaunau Bay
Ulua Cave
Volcano House
Walua Road