We are arriving on October 11 and staying at the Hapuna Prince. Thanks for the suggestions - we ended up getting an excellent price through HawaiiGolfDeals. The package price for our oceanfront room plus convertible is less than what I could book for the hotel alone.
We will be meeting our son and his SO who has a time share in Kona. She is a tri-athlete but won't be competing this year. We will go with them to watch some of the competition.
My husband will play golf a few times. I plan to spend much time relaxing on Hapuna Beach and reading. Our son and SO will join us from time to time, plus we'll probably have several dinners together.
I seem to remember some hotels having happy hours with a little live Hawaiian music or dance. Are there still such places? And if so, which might be the best ones (not big drinkers so more interested in the entertainment).
We've been to VNP but it was probably 15 years ago. I don't think we'll do it again, but I haven't been to Hilo and would like to make a day trip. We'll play it by ear - check weather reports and try to find the "best" day to go.
I love gardens and flowers - is there anything I should put on my "must do" list - does it matter that it's October. Here we'd be looking at leaves and fall mums. What's in season in October, or is that a silly question?
Are there any festivals or hula competitions during that time frame? I looked and didn't find any. I've always wanted to come for the Merrie Monarch Festival but that's in the spring and this trip can't wait. When we went to Kauai two years ago, we happened to be able to attend a luau/hula festival and it was fabulous. There were dance teams from all over the South Pacific including Japan.
We probably won't have too many things planned too firmly as I have a health issue and there is no telling what I will be capable of by the time we arrive. If you could only pre-plan one "attraction" what would it be? Not looking for thrills and chills, just something memorable that speaks "Hawaii". Are there hot air balloon ride companies? That's on my bucket list, and Hawaii would be a great location to make that happen.
Thank you so much for your help!