Hawaii, which is also often referred to as "The Big Island" in order to avoid confusion, is the largest in the Hawaiian archipelago. In fact, the Big Island alone makes up over half of the entire state of Hawaii. The Big Island is aptly named as, besides being the largest of the Hawaiian islands, it is home to the largest mountain in the world by volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base on the sea floor (Mauna Kea). The Big Island also hosts the most active volcano (Kilauea) in the world in Volcanoes National Park, where tourists can see molten lava oozing over volcanic rock and flowing into the ocean.

WHAT TO DO

There is no shortage of things to do on the Big Island. From its fabulous beaches, to stunning waterfalls and an active volcano, visitors will not be bored soaking in the natural beauty of Hawaii. One sure thing not to miss on a trip to the Big Island is Volcanoes National Park. Located closest to the Hilo side of the island (a trip to and from Kona to Volcanoes takes about 9 hours--it isn't called the BIG Island for nothing), here you can see the Kilauea volcano spewing lava. This volcano is the world's most active and has been continuously erupting since 1983. There are even many places where you can see fresh lava taking over the highway and flowing into the ocean. Drive around Crater Rim Drive, making sure to check out the massive crater and steam vents of the volcano and check out the Thurston Lava tube.

The Akaka Falls are located 11 miles north of Hilo and is a spectacular sight with water tumbling down a tremendous 440 feet. These are some of the most spectacular of Hawaii's many waterfalls and the trip from the parking lot is just about 20 minutes and easily accessible for anyone who can navigate steps.

The Big Island is also home to black and green (yes, GREEN) sand beaches, which are beautiful and a great way to kick back and enjoy a day. You can also tour local Kona coffee farms, go whale watching (seasonal), horseback riding, and visit botanical gardens. While the island is not as popular of a tourist destination as islands like Maui, the largest Hawaiian isle has lots to offer visitors.

GETTING THERE

You can fly into two different airports on the Big Island, Kona International Airport (KOA) and Hilo International Airport (ITO). There are few direct flights from mainland U.S. to the Big Island, so you will most likely change planes in Honolulu. Some airlines do offer direct service into Kona and Hilo airports, so make sure you look to see if the flight is direct or not when looking for your flight to Hawaii. Another option is to fly into wither Kona or Hilo, explore the island and fly out of the other airport.

WHERE TO STAY

Hawaii, which is also often referred to as "The Big Island" in order to avoid confusion, is the largest in the Hawaiian archipelago. In fact, the Big Island alone makes up over half of the entire state of Hawaii. The Big Island is aptly named as, besides being the largest of the Hawaiian islands, it is home to the largest mountain in the world by volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base on the sea floor (Mauna Kea). The Big Island also hosts the most active volcano (Kilauea) in the world in Volcanoes National Park, where tourists can see molten lava oozing over volcanic rock and flowing into the ocean.

WHAT TO DO

There is no shortage of things to do on the Big Island. From its fabulous beaches, to stunning waterfalls and an active volcano, visitors will not be bored soaking in the natural beauty of Hawaii. One sure thing not to miss on a trip to the Big Island is Volcanoes National Park. Located closest to the Hilo side of the island (a trip to and from Kona to Volcanoes takes about 9 hours--it isn't called the BIG Island for nothing), here you can see the Kilauea volcano spewing lava. This volcano is the world's most active and has been continuously erupting since 1983. There are even many places where you can see fresh lava taking over the highway and flowing into the ocean. Drive around Crater Rim Drive, making sure to check out the massive crater and steam vents of the volcano and check out the Thurston Lava tube.

The Akaka Falls are located 11 miles north of Hilo and is a spectacular sight with water tumbling down a tremendous 440 feet. These are some of the most spectacular of Hawaii's many waterfalls and the trip from the parking lot is just about 20 minutes and easily accessible for anyone who can navigate steps.

The Big Island is also home to black and green (yes, GREEN) sand beaches, which are beautiful and a great way to kick back and enjoy a day. You can also tour local Kona coffee farms, go whale watching (seasonal), horseback riding, and visit botanical gardens. While the island is not as popular of a tourist destination as islands like Maui, the largest Hawaiian isle has lots to offer visitors.

GETTING THERE

You can fly into two different airports on the Big Island, Kona International Airport (KOA) and Hilo International Airport (ITO). There are few direct flights from mainland U.S. to the Big Island, so you will most likely change planes in Honolulu. Some airlines do offer direct service into Kona and Hilo airports, so make sure you look to see if the flight is direct or not when looking for your flight to Hawaii. Another option is to fly into wither Kona or Hilo, explore the island and fly out of the other airport.

WHERE TO STAY

Like on the other Hawaiian islands, there are many hotels in Hawaii. There are many popular resorts to chose from on the Big Island. Note that the closer to the beach and more amenities you'd like, the more money you are going to have to spend. However, there are other lodging options on the Big Island, including camping, vacation rentals, budget hotels and even hostels (yes, there are actually hostels on the Big Island that run about $15-$20/night for a bed in a dorm style room).