Hawaii is one of the world's most popular vacation destinations. The Aloha State is well-known for its sunny weather, magical beaches, extraordinary scenery, and friendly natives. It’s a place with a lot of history and a very unique culture, ensuring that every visitor has truly special experiences during their time on the islands of Hawaii and heads home with some magical memories to look back on.
Many visitors to Hawaii will spend most or all of their time on just one island, but some people like to do a little island hopping during their vacation in order to see more of the Aloha State. One of the best things about visiting Hawaii is that it’s actually very easy to get from one island to another, with lots of boats and planes making journeys between the main islands on a very regular basis.
So even if you're on the island of Maui and would like to do a little day trip to the Big Island, also known as the Island of Hawaii, you can do so quite easily. When you get to the Big Island, you can visit places like Volcanoes National Park, Waipio Valley, Kahalu'u Beach Park, and more. Read on to learn all about the best ways to plan and enjoy your day trip from Maui to the Big Island.
Getting to the Big Island from Maui
In many cases, when island hopping in Hawaii, you can choose between a few different options like commercial flights and ferries, or private air or sea transfers. In the case of Maui to the Big Island, however, your options are more limited. Sadly, there are no ferry services connecting these two islands for your day trip, so you'll have to fly.
Right now, there are a few commercial airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines, offering services from Maui to the Big Island. The Big Island has two airports: Kona International Airport, which is situated just seven miles away from Kailua Kona and is the main airport for the Big Island, and Hilo International Airport, which is located on the eastern shore, just a couple of miles away from Hilo, and is mainly used for general aviation and small inter-island flights.
You can travel to both of these airports from Maui, and you can choose to fly out of either Kahului Airport, which is the biggest airport on Maui, or Kapalua Airport, which is much smaller. Most flights will land at Kona International Airport on the Big Island, but some are available to Hilo Airport as well. The flights will take about 30-45 minutes on average.
Important Information and Things to Do on the Big Island
- Getting Around - Most visitors to the Big Island will arrive at Kona International Airport. From there, you can rent a car with ease and you'll be on the western side of the island, so you can explore the Kailua Kona area, visiting local landmarks like the Mokuaikaua Church, Kailua Bay, Hulihee Palace, and the Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark. You can get to these places in taxis or shuttles or you can use the free Hele On Bus to get around between Kona and Hilo. If you land at Hilo, rental cars are also available and it's generally recommended to get a car if you want to make the most of your stay on the island and see lots of the sights.
- Best Time to Visit - The Big Island can truly be enjoyed at any time of year, and different periods of the year will each have their own unique advantages to consider. If you visit in the winter months, for example, the weather will be a little cooler, but you'll have a chance of doing some whale watching. If you visit in the summer, you'll get the most sunshine and highest temperatures, but you'll also have to deal with the highest amounts of tourists. Meanwhile, if you choose to visit in spring or fall, you'll be able to skip out on some of the crowds and still get mostly good weather.
- Things to Do on the Big Island - The Big Island is famed for its incredible diversity. It's the sort of place where you can be exploring volcanoes one moment in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and then exploring lush, tropical jungle and waterfalls the next. You can spot some amazing wildlife too, including all kinds of rare and colorful birds, as well as visiting beautiful beaches. Ziplining, hiking, bike riding, and horseback riding can be enjoyed on the Big Island as well, or you could visit one of the main towns like Hilo or Kailua Kona to meet some locals and enjoy some island traditions and cuisine.