Big Island Destination Guide

This Island is Big!
The Island of Hawai’i (the Big Island) is known for many things – among them are having the most active volcano in the world, hosting one of the largest herds of cattle in the U.S., and displaying ten of the world’s 14 or 15 climate zones.  Still, the island is small enough that you can drive around it in a day.  While the slopes aren’t well known to many, it’s possible to ski on Mauna Kea in the morning and swim at the beach in the afternoon.

Each side of the island experiences its own unique climate and personality and each offers stunning vistas, beaches, and attractions.  Lava Lava Beach Club is located on Anaeho’omalu Bay in Waikoloa Beach Resort on the island’s west side; also known as the Kohala Coast.  The Big Island’s west side is the sunniest, and has the most tropical feel.  Waikoloa is famous for their world class golf, majestic rolling black lava fields and white sandy beaches.  Whether you go exploring or stay in sunny Waikoloa, have your camera handy and we know you’ll end up with incredible photos!

Get Some Sand Between Your Toes – Big Island’s Stunning Beaches
The Big Island offers beaches for every taste! Some of the world’s most pristine white, black, and green sand beaches are located on the Island of Hawai‘i and are waiting to be explored.

Cowboy-up in Waimea, Paniolo Country
Paniolo means “cowboy” in Hawaii.  Waimea town, Hawaii’s “upcountry,” is a short 20 minute drive from Lava Lava Beach Club.  It’s home to historic Parker Ranch, one of the largest and oldest operating ranches in the U.S.  It also offers picturesque, green pastures nestled between two of the world’s largest volcanoes.  Options for adventure in Paniolo country include taking horseback rides through scenic pastures that give way to lush valleys of vibrant green foliage, visiting Parker Ranch, playing a truly beautiful and unique round of golf at Big Island Country Club, and much more.

Explore an Active Volcano
A trip to the Big Island, especially for first-timers, calls for a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you can witness a lava flow from Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano.   The park is easily visited by car and offers drives through the stunning calderas where giant pools of lava bubbled less than 100 years ago and down to the shore where lava flows into the sea today.  For those more active travelers, the park offers a variety of hikes and trails for you to get better acquainted with the land.

Stargaze at Mauna Kea Observatory
For the best stargazing on the island, head to the top of Mauna Kea, where it feels like you could touch the stars. The Big Island is home to some of the world’s most powerful telescopes.  The summit of Mauna Kea hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from eleven countries. The combined light-gathering power of the telescopes on Mauna Kea is fifteen times greater than that of the Palomar telescope in California — for many years the world’s largest — and sixty times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.  If you would like to visit Mauna Kea Observatory we recommend you begin at the visitor information center of the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, 9,000 feet above sea level on Mauna Kea access road.

Shop ‘til You Drop
The Big Island gives shoppers their choice of retail adventures with everything from locally produced handmade arts, crafts, and delicacies to luxury handbags, apparel, and surf and sporting equipment. Many of these are available in the Waikoloa Beach Resort shopping centers of the King’s Shops and the Queen’s Marketplace, both just a short walk from Lava Lava Beach Club.  For those shoppers on a mission, the town of Kailua-Kona also offers a wide variety of shops and stands perfect for those hard-to-find souvenirs.

Run Big Island
Running is big, but running on Big Island is even bigger.  Known as Hawaii’s most active island, the Big Island is home to more races than we can count, and is an ideal place to test your mettle. The biggest or most famous race held on the Big Island is the Ford Ironman World Championship in October of each year.  If you want to practice before your big race in October or just experience what all those Ironmen and Ironwomen do, give yourself a shot at the course!  The swim segment begins and ends at Kailua Pier, in Kailua-Kona. The bike race travels north on the Kona Coast through lava fields and then along the Kohala Coast to the small village of Hawi, and then returns along the same route to transition. The marathon course travels through Kailua-Kona and on to the same highway, the Queen Ka’ahumanu, used for the bike course. Contestants then run back into Kailua-Kona, coming down Ali’i Drive to the finish line.

Learn Hawaiian History
The Big Island has an incredible history and is a very special place.  It was the home to King Kamehameha the Great, who united the once divided Hawaiian Islands, and it was the landing place of explorer Captain James Cook.  The Big Island offers many historical sites including these two must-see sites.

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park
In old Hawaii, if you had broken a law, the penalty was death. Perhaps you had entered into an area that was reserved for only the chiefs, or had eaten forbidden foods. Laws, or kapu, governed every aspect of Hawaiian society. The penalty for breaking these laws was certain death. Your only option for survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest puuhonua, or place of refuge.  Today, you may visit Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, and still feel the spirit of peace and forgiveness that continues to surround and bless this special place.

Pu‘ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
The great temple of Kamehameha the Great, Pu’ukohola Heiau, rises majestically above the turquoise waters of the Pacific, a silent testament to the most renowned king of Hawai’i. Mailekini Heiau, the temple-turned-fort that once thundered with the sound of cannons, continues to stand guard. Sharks patrol the waters at Hale o Kapuni Heiau, the submerged ruins of a temple that was once dedicated to them. This is where the history-makers of Hawai’i lived and where their history comes to life.

Visit Historic Kailua-Kona Town
Historically a residence for Hawaiian royalty, Kailua-Kona is now a thriving town with delicious restaurants, fun shops, and lots of activities for the adventurous traveler.  Take a deep-sea fishing or scuba diving excursion from the pier, get a different perspective while para-sailing, or paddle the bay.

Experience a traditional Hawaiian Luau
The sunset luau at Waikoloa Beach Marriott is billed as the Big Island’s most authentic luau show at sunset.  The entertainment takes guests on a journey to Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii through the songs and dances of these Pacific Island cultures, including the spellbinding Samoan fire knife dancing. It is a spectacular sight against the dazzling backdrop of the picturesque sunsets over Anaeho‘omalu Bay and it’s just steps from Lava Lava Beach Club!

Sip at a Kona Coffee Plantation
Over the past 180 years Hawaii farmers have developed and nurtured a surprising crop, coffee.  The slopes south of Kailua-Kona now produce one of the most desired coffee beans in the world – Kona coffee.  Farmers of the Big Island have even pioneered new ways to grow the fruit, tying it to lattice or wires, a process vintners have been using to grow grapes for centuries.   Visiting Big Island coffee farms is highly recommended for coffee-lovers, where you can taste fresh roasted Kona coffee, learn about the history of the crop in Hawaii, and maybe pick up a few souvenirs.