This Big Island Trip Report 2 is written by JoLoyce from Hana Maui Botanical Gardens
Did you know about the Big Island?
Hilo town is a great place to experience Hawaii. People are friendly and there are many places to enjoy yourself at a reasonable cost. There is the usual tourist places that are fun. The Candy factory with great samples, a short ride down past the pier area, you will find homemade ice cream with yummy tropical flavors (Lilikoi passion fruit and Lychee is my favorite and next door is a very interesting tropical Garden and along the road are quiet parks for lolling and enjoying the ocean.
I love to eat at local restaurants. Which are so tasty and so cheap. A favorite is Ken's Pancake House, you can't go wrong at any time. The oxtail dinner is so "ONO" (delicious). There is a Chinese take out or eat in place across the airport road on the Volcano Highway. You can order for one and eat for two. And in the back of Kuhio Mall is Kuhio Grill. Don't miss the one pound lau lau or Chicken Katsu. Mostly local people eating in here.
Driving up Volcano Highway, you have many stops that you shouldn't miss. The beautiful tropical landscaped zoo and the Macadamia Nut Factory. Definitely stop in at the DeLuz wood factory, they have a great restaurant there, too, with homemade pie.
Don't forget the Bakery at Mt. View, where you can get the very famous Stone Cookies. Now they make coconut and chocolate chip. You will be hooked on this.
Before Volcano on the left side is the most amazing Orchid Nursery and gift shop. And some smell wonderful.
If you want a home away from home, there are many in Volcano. I am partial to A'alani Volcano Heart Hawaii because I own it. Eco oriented with natural cedar walls and recycled furniture and CFL light bulbs. Cutesy decorated for fun. A good place to be located to explore this area and Hilo. You will find sweet Volcano Village with it's local store and gift shops, two great restaurants. Lava Rock Cafe, great food and Internet service and the special Thai Thai Restaurant. Order mild..........whoa.
You can spend all your time at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park exploring, ranger led hikes, and I am addicted to the Volcano Artists Gallery. I buy a Special Key Chain from local artists that I use as a necklace. If you like your wine, definitely go to the Volcano Winery. Tasting first. And if you are a golf nut, the Volcano Golf Course has really surprising good weather when the rest of the area rains. It is cooler so sweaters are recommended. It is 4,000 ft. elevation.
I also, recommend at least one day driving the entire road around the Island. Naalehu has a bakery that makes the famous Punaluu Sweet Bread and has a nice choice for light lunches or desert.
You will pass Ocean View which has a great take out or eat in for local food. Stop at any park you see, they are all different. You shouldn't miss the next national park. Used to be called the City of Refuge but has the correct name now. Hoonaunau. It is a really long drive down the mountain to it but really worth it. You can see the place where Capt. Cook met his fate with the Hawaiians. They thought he was a God until they borrowed a boat and he punished them.
Kona is fun but hot. Go on up the highway and check out the Kona Hilton Hotel. You can explore it even if you don't stay there. Waimea is a treat, especially the tour of the Parker Ranch. Some well known high end restaurants are here, so if you have a special day to celebrate, this would be the area. There is the most wonderful lady who makes Lilikoi pie sold on Sat. at the Hawi farmers market.
You can't miss Honokaa. Gracie has a fabulous antique store. I love her because she rescues cats. Drive to the lookout to see Waipio Valley. Back up on the Highway, you have to stop at TEX's. They have cream filled malasadas. Fresh and hot. And daily lunch specials. I love sweet sour spareribs. A couple more Gardens on the way back to Hilo and you are almost home again. It is only 25 miles up to Volcano and the road is straight and good.
Guess what, that is only some of the highlights, so you need to stay at least a month and do whatever you missed or need to do again. You gotta hit the Saturday Farmers Market in Hilo.
Happy vacationing and relaxing. JoLoyce Kaia
Mahalo JoLoyce for your insider Big Island Vacation trip ideas. It gives them great ideas where to go and what to do on their Hawaii vacation on the Big Island. Aloha, Pua
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Big Island Vacation Trip Report 1