Kevin and I are headed to the Big Island of Hawaii (a.k.a. Hawaii Island), and we are so excited! We leave this coming Saturday, and will return the following weekend. I can’t wait for a whole week with my favorite person exploring such a gorgeous place!
I feel so fortunate that we get to take this trip to a place that seems to be one of the most beautiful spots on our planet. Everyone I know who’s been to Hawaii raves about it, and looking at photos like this one (from Condé Nast Traveler), it’s easy to see why!:
We’ve received some great suggestions from friends who have traveled there before as far as what to do while we’re there, and we are looking forward to our first big trip as a couple since Maggie was born. (She’ll be staying with my parents — a.k.a. Mimi and Papa — in Atlanta for the week, and she’s going to have the BEST time! My mom saved tons of toys from my sister’s and my childhood, and Maggie is going to have a blast playing with the toy kitchen, the blocks, the baby dolls, etc.)
In preparation for our trip, Kevin and I have been doing research (I found this site to be especially helpful!), and from what I’ve gathered, the Big Island (like much of Hawaii) is a pretty casual place. We decided to book a couple of activities to ensure we’ll get to do those, but then play a lot of the trip by ear. We have a list of things we are interested in doing, and then we’ll be able to decide from day to day what sounds like fun. (We’re renting a car there, which will give us a good amount of freedom to explore the island easily.)
Oh, we’ll be staying here, on the west side of the island.
The two things we’ve booked are:
- A helicopter tour. We booked through Sunshine Helicopters upon getting a recommendation from a friend of mine (thanks, Kristin!) and are going on the Kohala Hamakoa Coast tour. (Though the Big Island is the island with THE volcano, we opted for the coastal rather than the volcano tour. I’m sure that one would be cool, too!) We splurged on first class seats, because otherwise you run the risk of being stuck in a middle seat. It was just $40 more per person to upgrade, so that felt worth it.
- A manta ray night snorkel trip. This is an activity you can only do on the Big Island, and we definitely wanted to take advantage of it. We booked through Big Island Divers for this excursion.
Other things on our list of possible things to do while we’re there (in no particular order) include:
- Volcanoes National Park (it reopened on September 22!)
- Farmers markets (I hear they’re everywhere!)
- Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
- Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea
- Hapuna Beach
- Papakōlea (a green sand beach — one of just four in the world!)
- a Kona coffee tour
- Huliheʻe Palace
If you’ve been to the Big Island and have other suggestions for us, please let me know! Also, any must-have items to pack would be super helpful (especially things that are a little less common). We’ll be bringing things like a waterproof phone case, a rain jacket, bug spray, etc., but please share tips if you have them!