Keeping with the Big Island’s great variations in geography and climate, the island offers many accommodations choices, all well-matched to their surroundings.
Hilo, settled along picturesque Hilo Bay at the southeast end of the lush Hamakua Coast, features a mix of bed & breakfasts, hotels, condos and rental homes in various parts of town. The majority of the town’s economy and mid-level hotels are clustered along the tree-lined oceanfront roadway known as Banyan Drive. Most of Hilo’s vacation rental condominiums are in Keaukaha, an area with several beach parks just a few miles east of downtown.
A short drive south of Hilo is the Puna district with an assortment of rental homes in an eclectic setting of rainforests, lava rock cliffs, and picturesque small towns. Puna’s top vacation destination is Kapoho, a small community of homes on unique tide pools that offer spectacular snorkeling and swimming.
Traveling north on the Hamakua Highway from Hilo you’ll pass through a series of rural, former plantation towns, many of which offer comfortable bed & breakfast lodging. An hour outside of Hilo, the Hamakua Highway bends away from the coast and heads upcountry into the lush ranchlands of Waimea and Parker Ranch. Still very rural, Waimea’s lodgings tend to be of the rustic, bed & breakfast variety. Several small hotels can also be found along the town’s main street.
Kohala, at the north end of the island’s western coast, is often referred to as “The Gold Coast.” This hot, dry region is studded with luxury hotels, world-class beaches, Hawaiian historical sites and golf courses carved into ancient lava flows.
The wide-open, sunny Kona Coast occupies the entire western side of the island, stretching from Kohala in the north to Ka Lae on the island’s southern tip. Kailua-Kona, the coast’s centerpiece, is a bustling vacation town that is a home to a mix of world-class hotels, economy hotels and motels, condominiums, rental homes, bed & breakfasts and hostels.
For a completely different experience there is Volcano Village, a forested town minutes away from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The Volcano area features a mix of rental cabins and bed & breakfast accommodations.