Ultimate Hawaii Itinerary 7 Days on The Big Island

turtles on the big island of hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest of all Hawaiian islands and often overlooked. With two active volcanoes and 8 ecosystems, it is one of the most diverse destinations in the world to visit. The white-sand beaches, the towering volcanoes, giant cliffs and lava beds come together for a crazy landscape. Driving around we felt like we were in a different country every 30 minutes. Rest assured if you have 7 days follow this active itinerary and you can see a ton of this Island.

Lava Fields of Hawaii
Lava field

GETTING AROUND the big island

You will need a rental car for the Big Island. The island is huge and everything is spread apart. They do have a bus system if you are staying in the main centers but so much of the island is not accessible like this,


Eating out can be pricey and the local stores in the resort areas are quite expensive. I recommend getting a place with a kitchen so you can make a lot of your meals. We did a big shop at Costco and went to Foodland (a local grocery store) which had the best poke ever.

WHERE TO STAY on The Big Island

To get an understanding of how to plan where to stay, it’s important to understand how the island is situated. Most of the population lives in 2 areas: Kona and Hilo. Hilo is the rainy side so is more lush and jungly, whereas Kona is more dry, rugged and has lava fields. The best beaches are on the Kona side, so all of the main hotels are located there and up the Kohala Coast. We stayed in Waikoloa, but anywhere on this side would be great.

waikoloa village big island of Hawaii

THINGS TO DO on the big island of hawaii

turtles on the big island of hawaii
Hawaiian Sea turtle

There are alot of attractions and the island is big, so plan your days. We had 10 and did a mix of relaxing and road tripping. Here is a rough guide.

Day 1

  • Pololu Valley Hike (5km 400m elevation)
  • Keokea Beach
  • Lapakahi State Historical Park
  • Hapuna Beach- one of the nicest and biggest beaches

Day 2

Captain Cook monument snorkel

Explore Kona- Kona brewing, shopping, dinner

Captain Cook Point the Big Island of Hawaii
Snorkelling at captain cook

Day 3

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Green Beach and Black Sand Beach

The Southernmost point of the US (also a popular cliff jumping spot)

Lava fields by Kona  on The Big Island of Hawaii
Lava exploring

Day 4

Beach day- there was so many. We were close to Waikoloa Beach and the Hilton

you can park at resorts and use their beaches too. The Fairmont, 4 Seasons and Mauna Loni were great. Manini Beach was a nice remote beach

 Sea Turtles on The Big Island of Hawaii
Sea turtles

Day 5

Waipio Valley Lookout

Akaka Falls

Explore Hilo

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls by HIlo
Rainbow falls
Waipio Valley  on The Big Island of Hawaii
Waipio valley

Day 6

Kihilo Bay and explore the Lava Fields

Do a tour to Mauna Kea for sunset and star gazing

Day 7

Beach day, go surfing

Night time manta ray cruise and snorkel (highlight!)

Extra day- Day 8

Secret waterslide hike (9km)

Other activities

Whale/dolphin watching

Day time Snorkel tours

Endless hikes

Endless beach days

Kona shopping day

To see even more ideas check out our Top 10 things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii post.

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