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Old Oct 20, 11, 12:07 am   #1
MXS
 
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Big Island 2 day trip

Making a fast trip to the Big Island. I am arriving in Kona on Saturday night 10/22 and leaving on 10/24. I have been to the other islands a few times but this is my first trip to the Big Island. I think I will stay near Kona the first night. I plan on seeing the Green Sand Beach and Volcanoes NP on this trip. Since I will only have all day Sunday and most of Monday I was not sure what would be the best itenerary to see these two place. I am open to ideas or suggestions and if there is something else worth seeing on the southern part of the island please share.
Was also curious about which part of the island I should stay at the second night - come back to Kona? or stay over by Hilo? or is there some reasonable priced places near Volcanoes NP?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 20, 11, 1:26 pm   #2
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There are some nice B&Bs near Volcanos and a thread here with some good recommendations here in another thread. You can fully explore the park and then turn in without having to make the long drive back to Hilo or Kona. If VNP is the real intent of the trip.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 5:57 pm   #3
 
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Hi MXS,

Two days is pretty quick to see the Big Island but you're making the right call by driving to the volcano. It's a pretty easy self drive tour. Be sure to walk through the thurston lava tube. Very cool.

If you're staying in Kona another activity I'd suggest is to go see the Manta Rays at night. The Sheraton Keauhou has the mantas right off shore. You can grab dinner or cocktails at the hotel and walk out to the edge of the ocean and see the mantas. The lights from the hotel and diving boats attract plankton which brings in the big mantas. It's a fun thing to do at night after doing day time activities. If you're a little more adventurous you can reserve a spot on one of the manta tour boats. It's completely safe and you can either dive or snorkel. I opted for the snorkel and it was one of my favorite experiences.

Have a great time!

Jim Bendt - Owner - Travel Beyond
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Old Oct 20, 11, 8:52 pm   #4
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Thanks for the ideas!

Yes, I understand it is a quick trip and that is why I am only focusing on a small part of the island.
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Old Oct 21, 11, 9:49 am   #5
 
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Keep in mind it is a minimum of 3 hours drive each way from Kona airport to Volcanoes NP. There are speed traps between the Green Sand Beach and Volcanoes NP.

I guess you already know you will need a 4 wheel drive to make it to the Green Sand Beach. Even so when I did this, we saw three 4 wheel drivers that weren't brave enough and turned back. It was worth it for us, but I think this will add 2+ hour detour to your trip between Kona & the NP.

Good recommendation to stay at the Sheraton Keauhou. It is along the southern route to the NP that you will need to take to go past the Green Sand Beach.

Btw, the Big Island is my favorite. I have spent four full weeks there over the last six years and haven't even seen everything I want to yet. With two days you aren't even scratching the surface.

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There are some nice B&Bs near Volcanos and a thread here with some good recommendations here in another thread. You can fully explore the park and then turn in without having to make the long drive back to Hilo or Kona. If VNP is the real intent of the trip.
Agree about staying at B&B near the NP. Seems like spending second night there would be the way to go. First night at the Sheraton Keauhou or somewhere near makes sense as you are getting in late. This way you are driving one way each day.

Last edited by cblaisd; Oct 21, 11 at 10:14 am.. Reason: Merged poster's two consecutive posts
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Old Oct 21, 11, 8:11 pm   #6
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Thanks for telling me about the speed traps.
I read that you can hike to the Green Sands Beach. That is what I was planning on doing. Any thoughts on that?
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Old Oct 22, 11, 7:53 pm   #7
 
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Thanks for telling me about the speed traps.
I read that you can hike to the Green Sands Beach. That is what I was planning on doing. Any thoughts on that?
I'm sure you could walk. Not sure the distance and time. Alternatively you could use a mountain bike. My son did this on his honeymoon a couple of years ago.
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Old Oct 27, 11, 9:42 pm   #8
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Only 2 days.. you'll leave not seeing the basics offered on this island of adventure..

Must dos'.. Volcano National Park, and Observatories for Star Gazing..

I would also stop in at Four Seasons, Surf Sand and Stars on a Saturday night.. A feast of lobsters, seafood, sushi, ribs, steaks, desserts, salads.. hosted by the FS Beach Tree..
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Old Oct 27, 11, 9:50 pm   #9
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Might leave the observatories for another trip. Not all rentals are allowed up there (or on Saddle Road, sadly).

Definitely a good idea to spend a night Hilo-side. As others have pointed out, it's a looong drive from Kona to Hilo.

I just got back. Didn't have time, but asked a very knowledgeable local friend about the green sand beach (he fishes out at South Point a lot). Don't remember the exact distance, I'm guessing a mile and a half, but definitely walkable. Since you've been to the islands before, you know to lock the car, don't leave valuables visible...

I just got back and your post is making me homesick to go back already!

At VP, you might check out Mauna Loa Road, if you get time. Paved road, about 11 miles, fantastic views.
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Old Oct 27, 11, 10:04 pm   #10
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Might leave the observatories for another trip. Not all rentals are allowed up there (or on Saddle Road, sadly).

Definitely a good idea to spend a night Hilo-side. As others have pointed out, it's a looong drive from Kona to Hilo.

I just got back. Didn't have time, but asked a very knowledgeable local friend about the green sand beach (he fishes out at South Point a lot). Don't remember the exact distance, I'm guessing a mile and a half, but definitely walkable. Since you've been to the islands before, you know to lock the car, don't leave valuables visible...

I just got back and your post is making me homesick to go back already!

At VP, you might check out Mauna Loa Road, if you get time. Paved road, about 11 miles, fantastic views.
Enjoy BI.. I'm glad to hear you hit the volcanoes..

You don't need to go all the way up to the summit.. there is an observation centre half way up, and on certain nights, they run a stargazing program.. and videos are running constantly at the centre about what's happening there..

Imoloa, science center in Hilo is a great place to visit as well.. lots of exhibits, shows, and interactive science there.. Great for kids, and adults interested in Space..
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Old Oct 28, 11, 10:59 am   #11
 
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Just went through my notes on drive from Kona to VP.

It is a 30 minute drive each way off of Hwy 11 to the Green Sand Beach. This doesn't include time to hike or 4 wheel drive off the main road.

Another really quick stop along this route is Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. I know there are several black sand beaches in Hawaii, but all three times I stopped here there were sea turtles sun bathing on the beach! This beach is about 5 miles Kona side of the town of Pahala on this route.
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Old Oct 30, 11, 3:30 pm   #12
 
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You'll save a ton of time if you book your car pick-up and flight arrival from one airport (e.g. Kona) and car drop-off/flight departure from the other airport (e.g. Hilo). I did this when I traveled to Big Island. Most mainland flights arrive/depart from Kona, while puddle jumpers to the other islands arrive/depart from Hilo.

I enjoyed the night manta ray snorkel trip. Ziplining is also supposed to be outstanding. But, of course, Volcanoes National Park is the big draw.

There are a lot of B&Bs in Hilo. We stayed at Aloha Junction, which was about 5 minutes from Volcano National Park and about an hour from Hilo. It wasn't a 5 star hotel by any stretch, but it was clean and comfortable. And interacting with other guests over breakfast was a great way to share information.
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Old Oct 30, 11, 9:21 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texmanufan View Post
Just went through my notes on drive from Kona to VP.

It is a 30 minute drive each way off of Hwy 11 to the Green Sand Beach. This doesn't include time to hike or 4 wheel drive off the main road.

Another really quick stop along this route is Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. I know there are several black sand beaches in Hawaii, but all three times I stopped here there were sea turtles sun bathing on the beach! This beach is about 5 miles Kona side of the town of Pahala on this route.
Was at South Point spring break, and I guess locals have 4x4s where they charge a fee to drive visitors to the green sand beach..

The guys looked like they were just wanting to make some money.. but not my style to jump into a 4x4 of somebody else's, especially with 2 small kids and a wife with me..
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