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Where to stay on the Big Island

Boston...
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Where to stay on the Big Island

I would love any input on 'where to stay' on the Big Island! My husband and I are planning to spend 4 nights there in early March (in between weekends on Oahu visiting my sister). It's a huge trip for us - our first time away from our 2-year old and my first time in Hawaii - kind of like a second honeymoon :) We're coming from Massachusetts (brrr!) so we're leaning towards staying on the west coast. What we would really love - and I haven't found so far in guidebooks and online - is a small walkable town on the beach that is not over-touristy but still has some shops and restaurants. Activity-wise, we plan to do a lot of snorkelling, beach walking, and hiking.

Any ideas on location/towns?

Specific hotel/B&B recommendations? Our price range is 100-200/night.

I'm also started to realize (from reading other posts) that a day trip to VNP may not be feasible. Any favorite places to stay there?

Burnaby, Canada
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1. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

That ideal town you describe doesn't exist on the Big Island. The nearest thing is Puako, a little seaside community in Waikoloa, but you'll still have to drive to shops and restaurants.

I would also recommend Waikoloa Beach Resort or Muana Lani. These are upscale tourist resorts, but it's probably not as touristy as you expect - nothing like Waikiki. They have great choices for accommodations, nice walking areas, restaurants and some expensive shops.

I would definitely skip the Volcano if you are only there for 4 days, unless you really enjoy driving. To take advantage of the Volcano's hiking possibilities you have to stay close by. But Waikoloa is the best bet to maximize relaxation and sun exposure.

Palm Springs...
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2. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

Ok....that will not be possible anywhere on the Big Island...

Kona is the only village on the water...but it is all little shops and tourist places...its about 4 blocks long...its not even a city...

There are no beaches to walk..all very small and short, However the snorkeling is the best in all the entire state

Nothing north of Kona in the Kohala area is under 200

South of Kona in Capt Cook.. the Vog is very thick and unhealthy all the way to the Volcano. Avoid south point and ocean view at all costs as its very nasty there

B&Bs are a mixed bag..all pretty remote from anything, and charge high prices for what I call a dump

I would suggest the Royal Kona or Outrigger Keauhou as the best for you. The latter has a super snorkel lagoon, and the former is in little Kona.

A day trip is very possible to the volcano but long... Kiluea Lodge being the best for food and room....if you wanted to stay overnight....its a 12 hour day to drive there and back.

What you want is in Fiji

Hiking is best done in the National Park where the trails are safe

Palm Springs...
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3. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

a quick comment on garlics hotels..... Waikoloa Hotels start at $300+ and the Mauni Lani starts at near $400 a night..... everything in the area is priced accordingly

Hawaii
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4. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

I agree the little town on the beach that you seek doesn't exist here, but it does on Oahu.

Check out both Haleiwa and Kailua/Lanikai as places to visit.

I have a suggestion for you on the Big Island - Hawi.

The Hawi area seems to speak to Northern California folks. Hawi is a small village where you can walk to coffee, stroll galleries and shops selling arts and crafts and clothing genuinely made by local folks, and it has good weather.

It is half an hour to Hapuna beach, but on the drive there you can see whales just offshore and it's a much nicer drive than from Kailua-Kona to Waikoloa.

If you can handle a small renovated in, I suggest the very inexpensive Kohala Inn

http://www.kohalavillageinn.com/home

It doesn't quite meet your budget because it is LESS.

However, it is not a "high romance" B&B. There are some nice B&B choices but you cannot walk out the door and be anywhere. You have to drive.

Let me know if you are interested in B&B not in town.

Waimea is a candidate for you but it truly is cold in early March. Colder than you would think Hawai'i could get, which is why I picked the close to sea level Hawi.

I too think that 4 days is not enough to do what you're describing. If you spend a night at VNP that is two of your four days.

However, if you fly into Kona, stay 3 nights, and then spend a night at VNP and fly late in the day out of Hilo, that would work. You'd have to pay a drop off fee on your car.

Or you could do the reverse and I know someone just found a one way rental Hilo to Kona without a dropoff fee, but I cannot remember the agency. Budget maybe. Wasn't Alamo.

Your price range is no problem in Volcano.

Volcano Village Lodge is one of the nicest with a very nice owner.

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

Just a slight correction to the post of GarlicJr, Puako is in South Kohala and not in Waikoloa.

Hawaii
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6. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

Indeed, Puako is just south of Hapuna Beach, and north of the Mauna Lani area.

It's not that much fun walking on the Puako shoreline. I stayed there once at a amall B&B and was disappointed with the rocky uneven terrain, not conducive to a nice walk.

I love to beach walk, but if I have to watch where I put my foot down every step I can't look at the scenery so much, and that's the problem with coral and lava shoreline. You have to wear shoes and you have to pick your way over it.

Hapuna, Mauna Lani resort, and Mauna Kea offer good sandy beach or good trail walking.

In March, A-bay at Waikoloa Beach is all bermed up and not fun to walk along the water, because you're feet are on different levels as the berm is right at the water line.

Hope this gives an idea. Hawi is close to the best beaches.

Burnaby, Canada
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7. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

I wasn't suggesting a hotel. There are many really nice vacation rentals all over Kohala for under $200.

If you're considering other islands, then the town you describe is called Hanalei, in Kauai. ...sigh...

Denver
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8. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

Hi SonomaGal,

You might want to check out Big Island Quarterly Magazine at http://www.bigislandquarterly.com

It will probably give you a lot of ideas about where you might like to stay on the Big Island. There are many articles as well as ideas and suggestions about finding hotels, vacation rentals and b&b's which suit your taste and budget as well as restaurants and activities including nature walks or snorkelling.

Sally

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

SonomaGal: Yes small town w/ easy beach access doesn't really exist on the Big Island. Kona is the closest but really touristy.

With only 4 days on the Island I would suggest focusing on one region (unless you really like driving allot). Waiemea or Waikoloa area might be spots to stay. From there you can hit Hilo, Pololu, Kona within an hour. Beaches such as Hapuna are within 15 minutes of Waiemea. I stayed at Aah the Views B&B in Waiemea and liked it allot. Alternately do a Hilo to Volcano trip. Waipio, Akaka Falls, Botanic Garndes, Volcano N.P are all with-in an hour of Hilo. Dolphin Bay is a good basic accomodation based on your budget.

I like My Island B&B in Volcano as a budget accomodation. However, depending on the weather Volcano can be really wet & cold place to stay.

The volcano park is worth at least one full day to see most of the interesting spots. Kiluea Iki crater hike is a good day hike. Depending on the daily flow conditions you might be able to drive up to the ocean entry lava flow from the Kalapana side of the park.

Hope that helps. Message me back if you have any specific questions.

Best Wishes & Aloha, TheodoreJay (Denver)

Santa Clarita...
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10. Re: Where to stay on the Big Island

Aloha SonomaGal! We love staying at the Kahalu'u Beach Villas. We pay $145.00 per night (during Sept./Oct.) Very nice condo complex, ocean view, clean grounds, pool, spa, barbeque and the condo is decordated very nicely. You are right across the street from Kahalu'u Beach where there is great snorkeling and lots of turtles! You can take a look at the website, alohocondos.com and check things out.

Good luck and have a wonderful vacation!