With its superb climate, a multitude of things to do, and only a 5-hour flight to get there, Hawaii is the perfect getaway for residents of the Golden State. The island of Hawaii is Trip Advisor’s #1 trending destination in the United States for 2022. With almost 1,500 things to do, the Big Island has something for everyone. Our beautifully tended upcountry bed and breakfast provides a comfortable, peaceful, and private locale as a home base for adventure when traveling to Hawaii from California.
No visit to the Big Island is complete without a visit to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The park encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes and protects a unique geological, biological, and cultural landscape. You can explore the park on your own schedule and at your own pace, or let the experts show you around with Hawaii Forest & Trail’s Volcano Unveiled tour. The national park is a must see if you are traveling to Hawaii from California.
Watch the setting sun dip into the Pacific ocean from the 2nd tallest mountain of any island on Earth with a visit to the summit of Mauna Kea. Towering just shy of 14,000 feet, the peak is considered one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observations. As the sky darkens, look up at an ocean of stars, away from the city lights where you can even see the milky way. Want to know what you’re looking at?
Join Epic! Adventures Mauna Kea Stargazing Experience led by an Analog-Astronaut and Pro Astro-Photographer. With one of the most sophisticated, light-sensitive cameras/scopes of any company in Hawaii, they offer awe-inspiring views of deep space objects like galaxies and nebulas. Complementary photos from the tour are included in the price, even stellar photos of you with the Milky Way.
For an exhilarating adventure experience unlike any other, explore the Hawaiian rainforest canopy by zipline. Zip through private nature reserves and stop for a refreshing swim under a secluded waterfall with Hawaii Forest and Trail’s Zip & Dip adventure.
Compared to the cold waters of the California coast, most visitors from the west coast say Hawaiian waters are “like a bathtub.” Not only is it delightful to take a refreshing dip on a sunny beach day, but there are also a host of underwater critters to see. Grab some complimentary beach and snorkel gear from the inn, don a mask and fins and go explore the undersea world. Search for sea turtles, colorful coral, and a host of tropical fish.
Prefer to take a snorkel tour from a boat? Some of the island’s best snorkeling can be found in historic Kealakekua Bay, the site where Captain James Cook famously met his grisly end. For beginners, Hawaiian Adventures Kona has a comfortable boat, while keeping their group sizes small. For more experienced snorkelers looking for extra adventure, Kaimana Ocean Safari offers tours of Kealakekua Bay, but also offers tours to search for pelagic marine life such as rarely seen deep-sea dolphins, sharks, and whales.
Don’t miss the chance to share the waters with Kona’s majestic manta rays. After the sun sets, these gentle giants swoop through bright lights to gulp down mouthfuls of plankton. Snorkel on the surface while manta rays gracefully do flips below. Eka Canoe Adventures offer snorkel tours from their unique and historically accurate Hawaiian canoe. Certified to dive? Watch the action from below while manta rays cruise overhead. Kona Diving Company has a knowledgeable enthusiastic crew and keeps their group sizes small with 5 divers maximum.
Scuba divers can also check out the other incredible diving on the Kona coast. The Hawaiian islands are home to an abundance of unique marine life as well as dramatic structures like underwater archways and lava tubes.
Prefer to be on top of the water rather than below? For beginners, try a surfing lesson or if you already have surfing experience, rent a board and hit one of the local surf spots. Remember to surf with aloha and respect the regulars. If you’re here during Humpback whale season (December through March) be sure to hop up north to Kawaihae Harbor for a whale watching tour on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast (Kohala is the Hawaiian word for whale).
The deep waters off the Big Island offer the chance to catch big fish like marlin, ahi, ono, or mahi mahi while only needing to venture a short distance offshore. Try your luck on a fishing charter and see if you can reel in the big one. With several boats in its fleet, Bite Me Sportfishing has a charter for everyone.
Every stay at our Big Island bed and breakfast includes a delicious gourmet breakfast, with dishes like Huevos Rancheros, avocado toast, and coconut banana pancakes, but there are lots of local options for ono grinds (Hawaiian pidgin for delicious food).
No food says “Hawaii” quite like poke (pronounced po-kay). Cubed and marinated raw ahi tuna served over rice is aloha in a bowl beloved by tourists and locals alike. In Hawaii, you can find great poke almost everywhere (even the gas station- yes, seriously), but for something special don’t miss Da Poke Shack or Reel Aloha Poke and Fish Co.
Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts that have become a staple in Hawaii. Flakey dough, coated in sugar and with optional fillings like coconut, lilikoi, and guava this sweet treat is a delight. TEX Drive-In in Honoka’a makes some of the best on the Big Island and is a must-stop on your way to see the overlook at historic Waipio Valley.
Looking for vegan and gluten-free options? Journey Café and Barefoot Zone have lots of creative plant-based options to feed the body and the soul. Basik Açaí specializes in açaí bowls; plant-based, fruit-filled, dairy-free, and so refreshing on a sunny beach day.
When traveling to Hawaii from California, no trip is complete without trying Kona Coffee, some of the best in the world as it is shaped by the islands’ unique microclimates which provide ideal growing conditions. The Big Island’s volcanic soil also has a healthy concentration of much-needed nutrients and minerals that coffee plants need to thrive. Kona coffee has resisted mass production and ripe coffee cherry is still picked by hand and milled with careful consideration by farmers who’ve been doing it for generations. The result is a delicate yet rich flavor and aroma distinguished from other coffees that are mass-produced and machine harvested.
The Holualoa Inn is a working coffee farm, and our 100 percent Kona estate-grown coffee is freshly brewed every morning as an accompaniment to our delicious breakfasts. Guests can explore our 30-acre property which supports 5,400 coffee trees. Start the day with a fresh cup of our award-winning coffee and savor the farm-to-mug experience.
If you only visit one brewery on the Big Island, let it be Ola Brew. With a stunning variety of beers, ciders, seltzers, and even hard teas, they have something to please every palette. Employee and community-owned, the team at Ola Brew is committed to supporting Big Island farmers and growing Hawaii island’s agricultural economy by purchasing and showcasing local ingredients in their specialty brews. With locations in Kona and Hilo, their taps include favorites like Lilikoi Lime Milkshake IPA, Pineapple Hard Cider, Hibiscus Lavender Seltzer, and Lemongrass Mint Hard Tea.
For island-style cocktails, Kuleana Rum Shack is the bar, restaurant, and flagship retail location for Kuleana Rum. Made on the island from heirloom varieties of kō (sugarcane), harvested by hand, pressed, and distilled using slow, careful processes makes for unique and flavorful rums. The Kuleana Rum Shack offers rum flights, signature cocktails, and fresh island cuisine.
Tired of sitting in traffic, grinding away at a stressful job, and never having enough time in the day? The Big Island of Hawaii is also known as the “healing” island, a place to find respite and rejuvenation. Let your tension slip away with a relaxing Hawaiian lomilomi massage in our Hale Luana massage pavilion.
Ground yourself and greet the morning with renewed focus and power with a private yoga class in one of our beautiful gardens overlooking the ocean. Catered to your schedule, interests, and experience. Or center yourself while strengthening your core and balance with a standup paddleboard session.
From our boutique bed & breakfast, wander our private art and sculpture garden and let the philosophical prompts guide you on a journey of the self. Venture down south and visit the seven acres of botanical gardens of Paleaku Peace Gardens. Explore the many shrines of varying spiritualities (Hawaiian, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, and more) coexisting in harmony.
With so much to do and see on the Big Island, it can never all be done in one trip. Just another reason the Hawaiian Islands beckon visitors back, again and again, to explore, indulge and heal.