At more than 4,000 square miles, the nickname for the one island actually named Hawaii is apropos: The Big Island is bigger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined. It also has everything that you would want from any island in Hawaii: gorgeous beaches, dramatic volcanoes, friendly locals and fascinating history. After all, this is where King Kamehameha the Great built his kingdom in the early 19th century. When most people visit the Big Island, they go to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Big Island is also a great place to enjoy a classic luau, go snorkeling, hike and see some Technicolor rainbows. Even the beaches—there are 80—have their own colors, such as the black-sand Punaluu Beach and greenish-hued Papakolea Beach. Check out this Big Island travel guide to start exploring.
Things Not to Miss on the Big Island
• See the lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
• Hike Akaka Falls State Park
• Go snorkeling to see bright corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles
• See the view from the top of Mauna Kea
When to Go to the Big Island
Even though Hawaii is located in the tropics, it gets cooler, drier weather, thanks to the trade winds from the east. That means temperatures stay pretty warm and comfortable throughout the year. When you are planning your travel to the Big Island, however, two factors to consider are the rainy season and pricing. The dry season runs from May through October while November through April is the rainy season. The perfect intersection of lower prices and dry weather happens between September and November. The best reason to come during the winter or early spring is for whale-watching season; humpback migration season lasts from December to April. If you come this time of year, just remember to bring some rain gear.