Where To Stay On The Big Island Of Hawaii

Deciding where to stay on The Big Island of Hawaii can be a tough choice.

You might want to plan a romantic getaway at a luxury hotel with the best beaches within walking distance, or you might want to stay closer to the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and other nearby day trips.

The big island of Hawaii is bigger than all Hawaiian islands combined and is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations with over 4 million tourists visiting the island every year. It is the youngest and largest island of the 10 Hawaiian islands, growing up to 40 acres a year, and thought to be the best island to stay on in Hawaii.

There is so much to do on this big island! Snorkeling, whale watching, horse tours, hiking, and beach hopping are just a few of the activities you can enjoy.

If you’re wondering which side of the big island is better, it’s best to consider what you would like to do there. The North Shore (north coast area) is the best place to stay on the big island for gorgeous beaches and surfing. The west coast of the big island is infamous for coffee and beautiful beaches, while the east coast has a wetter climate and is home to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, forests, and waterfalls. If upscale resorts and world-class golf courses are what you are looking for then the west coast is the best place to stay on the big island.

There is a large variety of accommodation here on the big island, and you are sure to find the best place to stay on the big island that’s within your budget and to your liking.

Best Luxury Resorts On The Big Island

If you are not on a budget trip and instead seek luxurious resorts with spacious rooms surrounded by palm trees and fancy dining options then these resorts are what you’re looking for. Every luxury is available and all the small fine details are taken care of.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Best hotel in Hawaii - Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Only 15 minutes away from the Kona airport and Kona Town, The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is one of the best hotels to stay in on the west coast of Hawaii.

The 5-star Four Seasons Resort Hualalai boasts a fine array of activities, delicious food, beachfront dining, spacious rooms, and some of the best white-sand beaches. You’ll also enjoy an 18-hole golf course, ocean views, spa treatments, and tennis courts are some of the activities you can enjoy.

There are a few resorts along the Kona coast that are just as stunning but nothing can quite beat a beachfront hotel with ocean views. There is also a fitness center for those that want to take a break from relaxing too much and various golf courses in and around the resort to enjoy.

The Four Seasons is one of the family-friendly resorts in the area so you are welcome to bring along any kids on your trip. If you rented a car be sure to drive up the north coast to explore some stunning beaches.

Fairmont Orchid Resort Hawaii

Fairmont Orchid Resort Hawaii

Fairmont Orchid is one of the beachfront Waikoloa beach resorts north of the previously mentioned Four Seasons Resort on the Kona Coast close to Kona Town. On this side of the island (west side), you will find more white sand beaches but there are also some black sand beaches nearby to enjoy.

Along the Kohala Coast and within the Waikoloa beach resort, you will find various amenities such as a spa and wellness center, live music and performances, kids clubs, tennis courts, golf courses, art galleries, a games room, canoeing, various tours, a bar, a private beach area, lush tropical gardens, and much more.

Just outside the Fairmont Orchid resort, you will also find more golf courses and art galleries, as well as the Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historical Park and Dolphin Quest (great for kids).

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

luxury hotel Big Island Hawaii - Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

Just a few minutes from the Fairmont Orchid Resort along white-sand beaches on the Kohala Coast is the Mauna Lani resort. This stunning oceanfront hotel on the big island includes a spa, 2 restaurants, 2 golf courses, spacious rooms, a fitness center, and gorgeous sandy beaches. Kailua-Kona is 40 minute drive away.

Guests will be blown away by how upscale this resort is. If you are planning a honeymoon trip or a romantic getaway at a luxury hotel then the Mauna Lani resort is the way to go. You and your loved ones will be surrounded by lush tropical gardens.

This side of the island also has the Dolphin Quest which is just a few minutes away where you can enjoy swimming with dolphins.

Best Big Island Hostels

If luxury hotels are not your thing and you prefer to take a budget trip to Hawaii or simply love to connect with other fellow travelers along the way? Check out these hostels on the big island with some of the best beaches on the Big Island that you won’t find on any other Hawaiian islands.

Hilo Bay Hostel

best cheap hostel on the big island hawaii - Hilo Bay Hostel

Located nearby Coconut Island on the east side of the island is the Hilo Bay Hostel. Guests of the Hostel can choose a private room if they come with 2,3, or 4 people.

There is also an on-site restaurant to enjoy as well as a shared kitchen with coffee and tea. The rooms have a simple shared bathroom, which contains a shower.

At the Hilo Bay Hostel, you can rent a car to explore the big island’s best beaches or areas like the south point and the south eastern shore which is relatively close and features a unique green sand beach.

The hostel is conveniently located near the Hilo International Airport, the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo, the Onekahakaha Beach, Botanical World Adventures, and a couple of local bars and restaurants.

The Big Island Hostel

The Big Island Hostel

The Big Island Hostel is the most highly rated hostel in Hilo (east side) and is directly next to the Waiākea Pond where you find a recreational area.

If you are a solo traveler, you can choose to share a room with 5 other travelers, or you could book a private room with a bunk bed. Couples or friends traveling together can simply get a private room which is more comfortable for many.

There are some on-site activities such as cooking classes, tours, and a games room where you can play board games with your friends or fellow travelers. You can also book off-site activities when you are at the hotel which includes snorkeling, horse riding, diving, cycling, hiking, and canoeing.

The front desk is open 24/7 so you will always be assisted if you encounter any issues or have questions.

Big Island Weekend Trips

Planning a short trip to the big island can be stressful. There is so much to do on the big island of Hawaii so trying to decide what to do if you are only a day visitor is a challenge.

You could visit the active Kilauea volcano, take a scuba tour off the coast of Hawaii or watch the sunset on the beach.

If you are only in Hawaii for less than 48 hours then it’s a smart idea to stay near the airport so check out these great day trip hotel ideas.

Alii Kane Cottages with Loft

Alii Kane Cottages with Loft

Just a 40-minute drive from the east side-located Hilo International Airport is the perfect weekend getaway cottage called Alii Kane which is located between the east and south side of the island.

Alii Kane Cottages has an exceptional 9,7-star rating with over 200 reviews making it one of the best places to stay on the big island.

The Volcano Art Center Gallery, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Lava Tree State Park, and Kilauea are just a short drive away making it a perfect place to stay to do some outdoor activities as a couple of with your family.

Arnott’s Lodge & Hiking Adventures

Arnott's Lodge & Hiking Adventures

Located on the west side of the island and directly next to Hilo International Airport is Arnott’s Lodge & Hiking Adventures which is perfect for an adventurous trip.

At Arnott’s Lodge & Hiking Adventures you can swim with turtles at Onekahakaha Beach just 5 minutes by foot, or book volcano tours on-site to visit the Mauna Kea Summit or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

If you don’t feel like taking a hiking tour, you can always enjoy activities closer to the lodge, like Coconut Island or Hilo Harbour. There are also a few museums like the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the East Hawaii Cultural Center which are just a few minutes away by car or public transport.

Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast

Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast Hawaii

Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast is located close to the beach and has some beautiful sea views from its rooms. Guests can make use of the pool, free wifi, free parking, and a free airport shuttle service.

Hale Kai Hawaii Bed & Breakfast is located just over 3km (2mi) from the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, and the Wailuku River State Park. Local grocery shops and restaurants are also available and a short drive away on the big island will get you to the Mauna Kea Observatory Visitor Center.

There is a lot to do here on this side of the island and you can choose to either explore or sit back at the Bed & Breakfast and enjoy the pool with your friends or family.

Best Cheap Accommodation On The Big Island

If you are really on a tight budget and need a place that you simply sleep in while you explore during the day, look no further.

Here you will find the cheapest accommodation on the big island. However, sometimes the cheapest hotel is not the best option due to poor maintenance or it is dirty. Luckily we’ve found you two great options with high ratings for the cheapest places to stay on the big island of Hawaii.

Humble Home in Hawaii

simple Humble Home in Hawaii

You won’t find anything cheaper than this. The place is, as the name suggests, a humble home located on the big island. Guest reviews have been stunning, giving it a whopping 9,6 stars out of 10 and the host is said to be absolutely wonderful.

The entire home is located on the ground floor and the bathroom is shared with one other room. The rooms are spacious and the location is perfect if you rent a car.

Nearby you will find a beautiful black sand beach, Lava Tree State Park, Kilauea Caverns of Fire, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, and the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo.

If you want to stay here it’s best to rent a car because the home is located right in the middle of a residential area so you will need to drive to get anywhere.

Nice Studio w/ AC near Kehena Beach and lava fields

Nice Studio w/ AC near Kehena Beach and lava fields

The cheapest places often have the most original names, this nice studio on the big island of Hawaii has AC and is located just 8 minutes away from Kehena Beach by car. It is recommended that you rent a car if you wish to stay here.

Lava Tree State Monument is relatively close by and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is about an hour away. This place is great if you are just looking for a place to sleep while you explore during the day.

That’s all for this list, we hope you found a place the suits your needs and you can get on a plane soon to explore the big island. if you are looking to explore other Hawaiian islands, be sure to check out list of the cheapest hotels in Hawaii.

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!