We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Hilo side or Kona side??

Longview, Texas
5 posts
Save Topic
Hilo side or Kona side??

which is best

Elk Rapids, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
9,673 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

Kinda depends on what you like doing. Both are good.

Longview, Texas
5 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

1st trip to BI...want the best experience, hotels, beaches, etc...

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
13,585 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

How long will you be on the BI for ... do you want to spend time at Volcanoes National Park?

Elk Rapids, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
9,673 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

Kona/waikoloa area for beaches. Hilo for the volcano.

Hill is pretty limited hotel/resort wise.

Edited: 1:49 pm, September 18, 2012
Elk Rapids, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Lanai
Level Contributor
9,673 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

Kona/waikoloa area for beaches. Hilo for the volcano.

Hilo is pretty limited hotel/resort wise.

Edited: 1:50 pm, September 18, 2012
Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
41,532 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

How much time do you have? To see the best of the Big Island, you need time - time to drive and explore. I think both sides have things you don't want to miss - we spent 5 days in Hilo and 7 in Kona . . . and wished I could have stayed longer, as there were some areas we simply did not have time for. Also, all depends on what activites you enjoy and what you hope to do and see. :)

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
28,533 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

The general recommendation is to spend at least a week and split it about 80/20 west and east respectively, flying into Hilo and out of Kona or vice versa. Best lodging bases on each side are generally the Kohala Coast for beaches, Volcano for access to the Park, but Kailua Kona and Hilo are options too depending on time of year, budget, interests.

Longview, Texas
5 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

Planning a 10 day trip. My son really wants to see a volcano. Just didnt know how or where to start planning,dont know the big island very well...been to oahu,kauai & maui,but 1st trip to BI.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
41,532 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

How old is your son? What other activities are you interested in? That may help how much time you want to spend where. :)

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
28,533 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Hilo side or Kona side??

So as stated here many times recently, bear in mind that "the volcano" is not what many people expect. The opportunities to see actual red lava are often non-existent or involve an arduous guided trek not appropraite for children. It is not a conical, spewing Hollywood volcano. I've seen more than one rugrat expressing serious disappointment and boredom in VNP (not sure how old your son is). OTOH, the current glow from the lava lake at Halemaumau crater is impressive and easily accessible, and there may be more easily accessible lava viewing when you come, I just wouldn't count on it. An air tour is the most reliable, and often only, way to actually see lava. VNP is interesting and has great hiking, lava aside, but that's all many people are primarily interested in, so we like to issue that caution here.

As far as where to start, read through the Top Questions as well as the trip reports from others, which will give you a sense of how many people spend their vacations. The Big Island is not as tropical for hte most part as the other islands and has vast lavascapes, but it does have the finest diving and snorkeling in the state, and lots of interesting and accessible heiaus, national historical parks, and cultural attractions.