Big Island: Travel Tips

Hawaii, or the Big Island, as it’s commonly known, is nearly twice as large as all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and it offers an uncrowded paradise filled with superlatives from snow-capped Mauna Kea, the Islands’ highest mountain, to Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth. The bustling farmers’ market is a must-see in Hilo, while the upcountry coffee region offers you a chance to see world-famous Kona coffee beans on the tree.

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Getting To Big Island

Like the other Hawaiian islands, the Big Island’s high seasons are from mid-December to early March and again from June to early September. Due to its size, the Big Island enjoys gentle seas on the leeward side year-round. Hilo is host to the annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition in early spring—book early if you plan to attend, as rooms sell out quickly

Mainland flight times

  • 6 hours from Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles
  • 7.5 hours from Denver
  • 11 hours from Newark

Inter-island flight times

  • Big Island to Oahu: 40 minutes
  • Big Island to Maui: 28 minutes
  • Flights to Kauai require transfers in either Oahu or Maui

Staying In Big Island

While the Big Island challenges athletes in the annual Ironman Triathlon, vacationers are energized by its golf-shopping-dining triad. And no trip is complete without a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hike to the lip of Kilauea’s red-hot caldera—especially dramatic when viewed after dark.

Must-see sights

  • Kilauea at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Kahaluu Beach Park (great beginner snorkeling)

Things to do

  • Find a nearby coffeehouse and sip Kona coffee direct from the source.
  • For the fit and fearless (it’s very difficult to reach), check out the green sand beach.
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Traveling In Big Island

Classic Vacations offers a variety of transportation options throughout the Islands in order to make your Hawaii vacation truly spectacular. While limousines are a fun and private way to see many of the sights on the Islands, shuttle transfers and rental cars are also available on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

While traveling in the Big Island we recommend:

  • Rent a car- if you have more than one day to spend, the Big Island is called that for a reason.

Things to Know


  • The US dollar is the currency of Hawaii, as it is throughout the United States.
  • ATMs are found everywhere in Hawaii.
  • Credit cards are accepted at most places, making it unnecessary to carry large amounts of cash.

Time Difference

  • Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time and does not observe daylight savings time.
  • When the clock is turned ahead on the mainland (March to November), Hawaii is six hours behind Eastern Daylight Time and three hours behind Pacific Daylight Time.
  • When clocks are turned back, Hawaii is five hours behind Eastern Standard Time, two hours behind Pacific Standard Time.

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