Hawaii Island, HI

Honokaa showing general coastal views

The biggest island in the United States is a tropical paradise where you can swim , hike and explore volcanoes.

Hawaii Island, often referred to as Hawaii’s Big Island, has stunning landscapes, idyllic beaches and a fascinating history. The island is comprised of five volcanoes that rise out of the Pacific Ocean, and together they create a mass nearly twice the size of the remaining Hawaiian islands combined.

Hawaii Island has two major towns, Hilo and Kailua-Kona, as well as a number of popular resort regions. Swim or dive in the clear blue water, hike through tropical rain forests or enjoy a round of golf as you relax at the popular holiday destination.

Swim with local marine life, including turtles, dolphins and tropical fish, at some of the state’s most iconic beaches. The Kohala Coast has some of the most popular beaches on the island, including Mauna Kea Beach and the Hapuna Beach State Park.

The island was once the home of the Hawaiian royals, and so has a rich history. Visit archaeological sites, including the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park and Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park to discover the traditional customs and culture of the area.

Rent a car to see the island, as public transportation is limited to the larger towns. Rental operators can be found at both of Hawaii Island’s international airports, and from the Hilo and Kailua-Kona townships. Driving is the easiest way to travel across the island to visit all of the major attractions, including the remote Pololū Valley Outlook, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Island’s location in the Pacific Ocean means it enjoys a tropical climate, with the west coast known to receive more than 300 days of sun per year. The winter can bring rough winds and large swells, making it a popular surfing destination, but the temperature remains warm. December through March is the busiest time and accommodation is known to sell out in advance.

Hawaii is located approximately 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) from the U.S. mainland in the North Pacific Ocean.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in the Big Island of Hawaii page.

Hawaii Island Travel Guide Video

Popular cities in Hawaii Island

Kailua-Kona showing tropical scenes, general coastal views and a sunset
The former home of the Hawaiian royals is today an exciting town showcasing the vibrant local culture.

Reasons to visit

  • Magic Sands Beach
  • Kahalu'u Beach Park
  • Kua Bay
Kamuela featuring tranquil scenes, mountains and landscape views
Relaxing Kamuela is calling! Discover its snorkeling, beaches, volcanoes, and more.

Reasons to visit

  • Mauna Kea Beach
  • Hapuna Beach State Park
  • Parker Ranch Center
Hilo which includes a bay or harbor
Marvel at the wonders of the natural world and discover traditional Hawaiian cultures, America’s colonial past and modern science all in one place.

Reasons to visit

  • Rainbow Falls
  • Onekahakaha Beach Park
Kilauea Iki Crater which includes tranquil scenes, mist or fog and landscape views
Trip time! Discover the volcanoes, art, and adventure in Volcano.

Reasons to visit

  • Kilauea
Ocean View
Ocean View
Escape to Ocean View! Enjoy its adventures and parks.

Reasons to visit

  • MacKenzie State Park
Kealakekua showing hiking or walking and tranquil scenes as well as a couple
Explore a heritage village and a magnificent bay at this protected cove on the Kona Coast, where tropical fish and spinner dolphins swim among the coral.