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Maui & Big Island Itinerary

posts: 16
Maui & Big Island Itinerary

My family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children, ages 10, 14 and 16) will be in Maui and Hawaii in August. We are looking forward to an adventurous vacation.

After lots of research and advice, I've come up with this itinerary.

Day 1 - 6 - Staying at Honua Kai Resort in Maui. Canopy Tour at Piiholo Ranch Zipline. Discover Lanai tour through Trilogy Excursions. Luau. Snorkeling. Black Rock Beach. Relaxing.

Day 6 - 7 - Arrive in Hilo, Hawaii. Spend night at Volcano House. Volcano National Park and Kilauea Caverns of Fire.

Day 7 - 11 - Drive over to Kona, Hawaii. Stay in Castle Hali Kai. Secret Warrior Tour through Pack & Paddle. Akaka Falls, Waipio Valley Lookout. Snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay. Relaxing.

I'm hoping I chose accommodations and adventures that will fit my adventurous family. Of course, cost is a factor, but we realize this is not going to be an inexpensive vacation.

Are there any adventures or specific beaches you would recommend?

Looking forward to your thoughts.


6 replies to this topic
Portland, Oregon
posts: 2,703
reviews: 30
1. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

It's not practical to snorkel at Kealakekua unless it's with a tour, either boat or kayak. But you don't have to drive very far from where you're staying to find good snorkeling, whether it's Honokaope or Makaiwa Bay(s) in the Mauna Lani Resort property, or Waialea Bay, a bit farther north.

On Maui, the snorkeling at Kahekili Beach Park is just as good as at Black Rock, less crowded, and closer. Kapalua Bay Beach would be another good place to go.

I like that you've not over-planned, but think you'd also enjoy some of the cultural sites along the Kohala Coast of the Big Island.

Edited: 1:40 pm, April 10, 2014
Stockholm, Sweden
posts: 1
2. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

I would't drive from Kona to the Akaka falls - it's just north of Hilo. If you're flying in to Hilo from Maui, you'll be very close to the falls. Do Hilo and the surroundings the first day, then drive up to the Volcanoes for the night. Spend the next day in the national park and then continue to Kona for the night. First or second day, try to make to a black sands beach.

In Kona, be sure you go to Hapuna beach.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
posts: 15,333
reviews: 69
3. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

Halii Kai is not in the Kona districts, it's on the Kohala Coast.

You can visit Akaka Falls and the Waipio Lookout on your transit drive from Hilo to the Halii Kai, I wouldn't drive back east on a separate day.

Agree that you have plenty of great snorkeling closer to your hotel, no need to go to Kealakekua Bay. If you want to do a kayak snorkeling tour look at Kohala Kayak.

Please do read through the Top Questions on the right hand side of the forum on things to do, snorkeling, beaches....

Hilo, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
posts: 29,227
reviews: 4
4. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

You don't need to do a lot of excursions to have adventure here, but Hawai'i Forest % Trail is an excellent company for interesting tours. You can check out their offerings on their web page.

If you do a kayak tour of Kealakekua Bay, I would pick Kona Boys over Pack n Paddle, which I can't recommend. Do check out Kohala Kayak as Shea said. August is a great time for calm water on the Kohala Coast, and it can even have south swells affecting Kealakekua (not all the time though).

The WV Lookout and Akaka are as Shea said on your way to Volcano. If you want to see more of Hilo area, you might have time on this east side foray.

If you want to add any educational experiences for the children, Imiloa would be an option, especially it the day is rainy.


Also Mokupapapa Discovery Center on Saving the Coral Reefs near Cafe Pesto in Hilo.


Newly expanded and spruced up.

Hotels here usually do not put 5 people in a room, so I wonder about Volcano House. If not (and we think this place is overpriced), there are a bunch of wonderful cottage and cabin rentals in Volcano. See the Top Question on where to stay east side for a topic that lists many rentals that do one night stays.

If you are interested in rental and tour activities on the water near home, check out Mauna Lani Sea Adventures based at Makaiwa Bay in Mauna Lani resort.

posts: 16
5. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

Thanks for your recommendations!

We will be arriving in Hilo from Maui - hopefully an early arrival in Hilo. VNP the whole day. We will be meeting up with another family and plan on getting 3 rooms at Volcano House to accommodate all of us with the crater view. Hope to get good views of the glow from there.

2nd day, caving in Kazamura Lava Tubes with Kilauea Caverns of Fire 3 hour tour. I makes sense to stop at Akaka Falls and possibly Waipi'o Lookout on the drive over to Hali i Kai. Questions...Given the 3 hour caving tour and the time to drive from Hilo area to Hali i Kai, is there enough time to make both stops? Another option would be to stop only at Akaka Falls that day and save Waipi'o Lookout on another day.

If we do the Waipi'o Lookout on another day, would you recommend also Waipi'o Na'alapa Stables while we're there?

Finally, if we do the Lookout and possibly horseback riding, it would likely be on our last day. From the map, it looks like Waipi'o is about the same distance from both airports (Kona & Hilo). Our flight is around 9pm. If we fly out of Hilo, we can possibly stop at the Discovery or Astronomy Center also. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for your advice!

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
posts: 15,333
reviews: 69
6. Re: Maui & Big Island Itinerary

I would reconsider Volcano House. It's very overpriced IMO. The best view from Halema'uma'u is from Jaggar Museum.

When does the caving tour end? Basically from Hilo to the Halii Kai via the Hamakua Coast is about 2 1/2 hours without stops. I would see what time you leave Hilo and play it by ear. You should have time for Akaka Falls which only takes about an hour.

Yes, I think a horseback tour of Waipio is an excellent idea but I would definitely not do it on your last day. It can be very wet and muddy and you'll have no way to shower. There's a Top Question on what to do your last day if you have a late flight. I'd fly out of Kona and go to a beach with showers and changing rooms and a secure spot for a car with luggage.

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