Affordable Big Island Vacation Rentals by Owner
Big Island Vacation Rentals
Use the search feature on the right to find our Big Island accommodations. You can also find other Kona Rentals here, and for a large selection of properties, we recommend these Big Island vacation homes.
'The Orchid Isle'
The main orchid growing area is on the east coast around the town of Hilo,
mainly because there is 5 times as much rain here than on the west coast. So
much rain falls near Hilo that a botanical garden at Onomea Bay provides umbrellas
to enter its tropical jungle. In contrast, on the west coast along the Kona-Kohala
Coast it seems desert like, with uninhabited stretches of lava, year round
sunshine, and some of the Big Island’s best beaches.
Lava is not all that the Big Island has to offer though. You can visit the lush Waipio Valley in the north of the island, or go to the west coast resorts and sandy beaches, or visit upcountry where they grow macadamia nuts and the world famous Kona Coffee.
Waikoloa Beach Resort
The Waikoloa Beach Resort is located on the Kohala Coast and has become one of the top destinations in Hawaii. The resort has expanded to include shopping and gourmet restaurants and features one of the few white sand beaches on the Big Island. Within the Resort you will find the Hilton Waikoloa and Marriott hotels along with numerous vacation rental complexes. The most popular and only beachfront complex are the Kolea rentals. Built in 2004, Kolea has established itself as the premier vacation rental complex in the area.
What to see and do on Big Island
Volcanoes National Park -
Because the Hawaiian volcano eruptions do not erupt violently as most volcanoes
elsewhere, it is possible to get fairly close the the active areas. Sometimes
the most spectacular sights require a hike to be close enough for a good
view. The volcano is more active at some times than others, so it is hard
to plan too far ahead if you want to see it in action.
Mauna Kea Summit & Visitors Center -
Sitting atop Hawaii’s tallest volcano (13,796 feet) is the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, University of Hawaii Observatory and an international astronomical observatory complex. Low temperatures, snow and severe weather occur in winter, and the summit is accessible only by four-wheel drive.
Lava Tree State Monument -
Lava Tree State Monument was created to preserve the site where a lava flow burned through an ohia forest in 1790. The lava, flowing quickly, surrounded the trees and cooled forming molds of burned tree trunks. Picnic facilities, restrooms and a hiking trail are at this site, although drinking water is not available.
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden -
A spectacular garden in a valley along the ocean, is 8.5 miles north of Hilo on the four-mile Scenic Route at Onomea Bay. Nature trails meander through a tropical rainforest, crossing streams, passing several waterfalls and the ocean vistas along the rugged Pacific coast. Palms, heliconias, gingers, bromeliads, and hundreds of other rare and exotic plants from all parts of the tropical world are among an ever growing collection. This non-profit nature preserve provides a study center and a living seed bank to perpetuate the environment of Onomea Bay.
Nani Mau Gardens - This attraction has evolved into a
treasure of the Islands, with 20 acres of many-splendored tropical flowers
and trees, pools and waterfalls along pathways. Orchids and anthuriums and
native Hawaiian plants are plentiful. The Gardens are a focal point for
community events, weddings, and other celebrations.
Hilo Tropical Gardens -
Established in 1948 on land owned by the estate of one of Hawaii’s last princesses, Hilo Tropical Gardens is one of the island’s oldest visitor gardens and is within walking distance of beaches. Orchids, anthuriums, the giant hala tree and other exotics star here, along with Hilo Homemade Ice Cream, filled with native fruit.
World Botanical Gardens -
As the largest collection of botanical gardens in the state, with more than 5,000 species, World Botanical Gardens features the spectacular Umauma Falls and a splendid rainforest walk.
Farmers Markets -
A longstanding Big Island tradition, these markets offer the freshest fare from
Pacific Tsunami Museum -
Over the decades the Pacific Basin has had a long history of devastation from
earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes. But, tsunamis have taken more lives
in Hawaii than all the other natural disasters combined. On April 1, 1946
and May 23, 1960, Hilo suffered tremendous physical and social damage due
to tsunamis. The Pacific Tsunami Museum is a memorial and reminder of the
devastating effect these events have had upon the area. Little tsunami activity
has occurred in this area since then, but there is little doubt eventually
one will again happen. Also since then, much development has occurred in
areas of the islands susceptible to tsunami.
Lyman Mission House Museum -
Historic Hawaiian relics are at this missionary home dating to 1839. As one of only four accredited museums in the state, the Lyman Museum began as the Lyman Mission House, built for New England missionaries David and Sarah Lyman. In 1931, the Museum was established by their descendants. The Mission House has been fully restored, and is on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Daily guided tours start frequently. The Lyman Museum building next door to the Mission House houses artifacts, fine art, and natural history specimens, as well as archives and library, special exhibitions and a gift shop. Visitors can see life as it was 150 years ago, as well as new exhibits on Hawaiian natural history and culture.
Waipi’o Valley -
This cliff-enclosed valley, on the northeastern coast, beckons with taro farming and a black sand beach. A mile wide at the coast and almost six miles deep, Waipi'o is the largest and southernmost of the seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. On either side of the valley are cliffs reaching almost 2,000 feet with cascading waterfalls. In ancient Hawaii, taro (or kalo) was one of the favorite island foods, with more than 350 varieties. Now there are a dozen or so grown, including dry land taro (dark purplish in color with thick white roots) and wet land taro, which can be grown on wet or dry land.
Parker Ranch Visitors Center - Parker Ranch, Hawaii’s largest private cattle ranch, highlights the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) and Parker family history at two historic homes for touring, Puuopelu and Mana Hale. John Parker’s home, Mana Hale ("house of the spirit"), was once the ranch nerve center, and later was known for the lavish hospitality of John Parker's grandson Sam and his wife Panana. On view are native koa wood interiors, handmade furniture and Hawaiian quilts. Also unfolding is the story of John Palmer Parker who befriended King Kamehameha, married a Hawaiian Princess and built Hawaii's cattle kingdom.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center -
A really big nut awaits outside the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Plantation, inviting visitors to witness the growing, harvesting, and processing of Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts into assorted products. Apart from the giant welcoming nut, hundreds of rows of macadamia nut trees line Macadamia Road leading to the visitor center. Mauna Loa harvests some 35 million pounds of macadamias each year for cooking, confections, and for sale at the visitor center gift shop. Mature macadamia nut trees create wonderful shade with their dark green foliage and white blossoms in winter and spring. The main harvest is in summer and fall.
Captain Cook Monument -
Viewed from Pali (cliffs) along Highway 11, this monument salutes British Captain James Cook, landing in 1778 with his ships Resolution and Discovery, and considered the first European to arrive in Hawaii. The white monolith, along the shore of Kealakekua Bay, commemorates Cook’s 1779 death when he and his crew got into a fracas with Polynesian islanders.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park -
Offering an in-depth look at ancient Hawaiian life and royalty, this restored
site is a Helau (place of worship), and offers insight into ancient Hawaiian
life and royalty.
Hulihe’e Palace -
One of three royal palaces in the state, the Victorian-style structure was used by Hawaiian monarchs until 1916. Memorabilia centers on items owned and used by the royal families. A gift shop, filled with items from local crafters, is a stroll from the Palace, overlooking the ocean on Kailua Bay.
And MUCH more - it is not possible to list all the special sights and activities on Big Island, but hopefully this will give you an idea of some of the things you could do on your Big Island vacation.
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