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where to stay for 1 week visit

Roxbury, Connecticut
posts: 157
reviews: 8
where to stay for 1 week visit

My wife and I will be on the Big Island for 1 week in early Sept. Not sure if we should split the stay between the Kona area and Hilo or base ourselves somewhere on the Kona coast for the entire time. Do want to see Vocanoes Park and understand it can be hard to do in 1 day from Kona. Also, what area ( north or south of Kailua-Kona ) makes a better base for exploration AND is not too busy and ( pardon me ) tacky? Thanks

Lincoln, Nebraska
posts: 164
reviews: 8
1. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit

If it can be worked out, consider splitting time between Kona and Volcano. From the latter, Hilo is an easy daytrip.

Island of Hawaii...
posts: 7,972
reviews: 24
2. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit

You certainly should stay on the East side for at least overnight. There is a lot to see there!

Roxbury, Connecticut
posts: 157
reviews: 8
3. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit

thanks for the help...............

Portland, OR
posts: 1,889
reviews: 38
4. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit


One week is good. My suggestion is dependant upon what time you get into Hawaii and if you are flying into Kona or Hilo. If you are flying into Hilo, then stay there that night so you don’t have to drive over to the other side of the island, since Hilo is much closer to the HVNP. Then you can grab a bite to eat in Hilo (me personally I go to Ken’s) and then head out to Volcano. That is an easy drive, well marked and well maintained road. Along they way to or from you can check out Keaau if you like. I suggest knowing if you want to spend one day at HVNP or multiple days, since there is a year pass one can get for all national parks, including those in your area – Lowell, Boston, Minute Man, etc. There are also 7 day passes, and tri parks. Check out the website. http://www.nps.gov/havo/home.htm

This forum also has a lot of folks that encourage staying at volcano, and there is lodging there if you like, some very good.

If you fly into Kona, you might want to stay there and do the beach, sun, sand thing first for a couple of days. From Kailua-Kona it is a few of hours to Volcano, varies by traffic and if time of day you leave. From Waikoloa it is even longer to go the South route, so I would suggest the North. One good plan is from the West side of the island take an unhurried southerly route to the volcano, stopping in Punalu’u (bake shop and black sands). Stay the rest of the day in the park, and either stay the night in Hilo or there in Volcano. Then the next day you can either go back to the park or explore around the Hilo-Hamakua coast, hitting Rainbow Falls/boiling pots, Akaka falls, Waipio, Tex’s and Waimea on the way back to the Kona side. This should bring you back onto the west side as the sun sets – which I personally love.

Either side – if you get in late at night, stay on that side for obvious reasons. In September your body clock will be 6 hours ahead of HST (it is worse going back though, after a week).

No matter what, my advice is to give yourself plenty of time depending on what you like to do. If you like hiking and expect to be in the HVNP hiking all day, you may want to stay at Volcano so you don’t have to drive to Hilo or Kona. If you just want to see it, then the Kona – HVNP – Hilo loop is for you. One other thing to consider is an aerial tour, either by helicopter or fixed wing. Check out different operators from both sides of the island to help determine if you want to stay an extra night on the East side.

Not tacky? Hmm. Either B & B or condos would be best? If you want to avoid resorts then Kailua-Kona, Hilo and Volcano. Waikoloa has mostly resorts, but not too tacky. OK, some are. Kona has gotten busier and traffic can be challenging. For the 15 minutes of Hilo rush hour, traffic is bad. Check out the hotel section of TA for Island of Hawaii and you should be set. Good luck and happy travels!

posts: 98
5. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit

We stayed at the Sheraton Keauhou just south of Kona and really enjoyed it. Not nearly as crowded as many of the resorts.

I don't know what exactly you consider tacky, but after going to Dolphin quest at the Hilton we were glad that we didn't stay there. yes, it was nice, but it also felt very much like a resort (which we personally hate) It seemed a little 'fake'. Many people, however, would disagree with me i'm sure.

We paid the extra money for an oceanfront room and had an awesome view. Fell asleep every night listening to the waves pound the shore and watched the sunset from our lanai. The money we didn't spend on the more expensive hotels was also put to very good use! It was a quick drive to town and most of the time we were able to avoid traffic when we headed out for day trips.

Roxbury, Connecticut
posts: 157
reviews: 8
6. Re: where to stay for 1 week visit

Thanks to 2 posts above for the advice--the first detailed suggestions are what we will most likely do - we are coming to Kona from Kauai so the jet-lag problem should be okay....and I think we will end up in south Kona so oue trip to either Hilo or the volcano won't be too long......Thanks very much again