Insider’s Guide: Hawaii (The Big Island)

Insider’s Guide: Hawaii (The Big Island)

02/08/2016 Off By Gayle Dickson

Insider’s Guide: HawaiiHawaiian Airlines Insider’s Guide: Hawaii (The Big Island)

Raised on Kauai, Oahu & Hawaiʻi Island, Maria Day joined Hawaiian Airlines as a flight attendant in 2000. She currently resides in Hilo with her husband and two young children who love going to the beach and exploring Hawai‘i’s natural beauty!


What do you love the most about the Big Island?
Hawaiʻi Island, or the Big Island as it is called due to its size (it’s bigger than all other islands combined), is an island of extremes! I love that you can be on the tallest mountain in the world, with its cold, stark beauty and snow caps and in the same day drive down to amazing black, green or white sand beaches!

What’s the one thing you can’t miss when visiting this island?
Volcanoes National Park is a must!

What’s the island’s best kept secret?
There are a few! Kohanaiki (Pine Treeʻs) beach just outside of Kona on your way to the airport; Waipiʻo Valley Beach (if you can walk down or have a 4×4 vehicle) and Ka Lae (South Point), which is the southernmost point in the United States and features a green sand beach that was a former cinder cone!

One thing visitors are usually surprised to learn about the Big Island?
Just how big it really is, and how the landscape changes drastically as you drive around the island. And it snows!

HawaiiWhat’s your favorite sightseeing spot?
Waipiʻo Valley Lookout, with its towering 2,000-foot cliffs, waterfalls, taro fields and rivers, will blow you away! Located on the north Hāmākua Coast, this sacred valley was once home to King Kamehameha I. Hiking and horseback riding are excellent ways to explore its lush beauty.

What’s the hot spot locals are going to right now?
Kilauea Volcano lava viewing is an absolutely unbelievable opportunity to enjoy the beautiful and breath-taking lava flow as well as the Milky Way and millions of stars overhead. Nights are best for picture taking! Get as close to the lava as you can possibly handle as temperatures reach up to 2,000 degrees.  
Tips: Drive on Highway 130 to the end of the road at Kalapana, which is open from 3 to 9 p.m. daily. Start the 4.5-mile hike around 6 p.m. and you’ll arrive at the current lava flow by sunset. Wear comfortable athletic shoes, bring lots of water, a flashlight, and a few snacks along the way as you will get hungry.   

HawaiiBest hotel (Hilo and Kona)?
Hilo’s Naniloa Hotel for the most amazing views of Mauna Kea and Hilo Bay. In Kona, King Kamehameha Hotel – I love all the paintings of old Hawaii in the lobby!
Favorite places to eat (Hilo and Kona)?
Suisan in Hilo and ‘Umeke’s Poke Bowls and Local Lunch Plates in Kona have the best and freshest poke.

Best places to shop?
Downtown Hilo Historic Shops and the Downtown Hilo Famers Market on Saturdays.

Any recommendations for families traveling with children?
The Hilo Panawea Zoo, the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center and Camping at Pine Trees (Kohanaiki).
Best outdoor activities on the island?
Hawaiʻi Island is home to four National Parks that preserve the island’s history and natural wonders. They are all great places to explore, camp or just have a picnic!
Best tip for travelers passing through Kona and Hilo airports?
Bring your own snacks and enjoy the small, open air feel of old Hawaiʻi. In Kona donʻt forget to have your camera ready to snap a picture next to the plane as you board the aircraft from the ramp or stairs!

For more information visit

About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 12 years (2004-2015) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai‘i.

Now in its 87th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai‘i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights system-wide.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at Follow updates on Twitter about Hawaiian (@HawaiianAir) and its special fare offers (@HawaiianFares), and become a fan on its Facebook page (Hawaiian Airlines).


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