After a whole year of Braxton not being able to get time off work, he finally got a few days off, and we took an impromptu trip to the Big Island!
While Braxton was convinced that all the Hawaiian islands were the same, I was REALLY stoked to go visit… And also prove him wrong. WHICH I DID. The Big Island was such an awesome place and refreshing change of pace from Oahu life, and I’d recommend it to anyone!
So here were our favorite places when we went (in no particular order)!
Big Island Places to See + Activities
Keep in mind, we are slow-living kind of people with two kids, so we didn’t get to see as much as we would’ve liked. It was also raining a lot because there was a hurricane coming, BUT…
South Point: Okay, so this is in a particular order. This was definitely my favorite place on the island, aside from the fact that there is no food or restroom. ? You drive down this dirt road with cows and horses on either side, and it’s so open and right by the ocean and just indescribable. It’s the most southern point of the U.S.! And if you’re feeling brave, you can jump off the cliff. (No, really. It’s a thing. I really wanted to, but Braxton wouldn’t let me…)
Waimea Valley: This is a beautiful scenic spot! I’d recommend renting a vehicle with 4-wheel drive though so you can drive down to it if you want it to be something a little more interactive! If you don’t, it’s still worth it to check off your list of places you’ve seen! Plus, it’s up by a great place to eat, which I’ll tell ya about a little further down. [Photo at end]
Akaka Falls: This waterfall is so tall! We couldn’t even see where it ended at the bottom. It’s a short hike — I think the loop is like .4 miles — It’s a lot of stairs, but luckily there’s a railing to hold on to. I carried Knightly in the ring sling and I’m a weakling (No, seriously. I’m super weak and my stamina sucks), so you got this. Parking is $5, and they do accept card!
Honomu Goat Dairy: Have you ever dreamed of hanging out with baby goats for free? Maybe even giving one or two a piggyback ride? No? WELL, YOU SHOULD. It’s so therapeutic, for kids AND adults. And free. I could’ve stayed there literally all day. Pro Tip: I recommend pulling your hair back. They definitely ate 1-3 inches off various parts of my hair — not exaggerating. But I still love them. Did I mention it’s FREE?
Rainbow Falls: This was my favorite waterfall! It’s much smaller than Akaka, but I found it way more beautiful. Be sure to go early in the morning so you have a chance at actually seeing a rainbow in the falls!
Big Island Beaches
There are several beaches, but our priorities were snorkeling spots and iconic places, so…
Kahalu’u Beach Park: Great spot on the Kona side to go snorkeling, surfing, and there are tide pools for the kids to splash around in! We bought our own snorkeling gear from Target since we live on Oahu and would use it again, but they also had a place you could rent gear from right on the beach, and the people who run it are super friendly!
Two Step Beach: Our favorite place we went snorkeling! A lot of sea turtles, so that’s always a yes from me. I did get attacked by a little fish here (a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a fish to be exact — say that three times fast)… multiple times… but it was just because I was around their nest and didn’t know it. So if that happens, just find a new area to explore!
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach: The iconic black sand beach is a must! Another good place to see turtles too.
Big Island FOOD
My favorite part of any trip! It’s not a good trip if there’s not good food involved. Can I get an amen?
Splashers Grill: This is the first place we went straight from the airport! Let me just say, the Delicious French Toast and the Best Breakfast Burrito Ever did NOT disappoint. So so yummy! And they have plenty of options on their menu, so that’s always a plus from me. I also just learned from linking their website that if you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get 10% off your meal!
Ken’s House of Pancakes: Yeah, we really love breakfast… But this place was soooo good! And they have a huge menu as well. I recommend the Breakfast Burrito. You obviously have to try the pancakes at a pancake house, but they come as a side option with the burrito, so you’re all set. You’re welcome. 😉
Tex’s Drive In: BEST. MALASADAS. That’s all you need. The food is great too, but at the very least, you have to try the malasadas. This is the place I mentioned that’s near Waimea Valley!
Kona Brewing Co.: Any beer-lovers out there??? This is your place! Kona beers are some of our favorites, so we knew we had to visit while we were on the Big Island. You can take a tour of the brewery unless you have kids with you who are under the age of 15 [soooo we couldn’t]. But the food is really yummy either way, and the beer tastes way more fresh than from a store, so it’s worth the stop anyway! And take my advice and get the Garlic Cheese Bread as an appetizer. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
There is so much more to see than we were able to! It was pretty rainy while we were there, and getting out in the cold rain with two kids when you honestly don’t have the clothes for such weather isn’t always a challenge we want to repeatedly take on.
Overall, despite my hair getting eaten off by goats, the power going out where we were staying, and pouring rain, it was a very fun-filled, much-need family trip, and I can’t wait to explore the other islands of Hawaii!
If you have any questions, or other cool spots on the Big Island that you think are worth visiting and I missed, definitely comment below or shoot me an email here! It’s such a beautiful island, and I think everybody should get to see as much as this place as possible! 🙂