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4-day Big Island Itinerary
First, let me say that I would never recommend spending just four days on the Big Island! The Big Island is, well, big, and there is so much to do and see! That said, my 4-day Maui itinerary has been very popular, so I wanted to create a shorter itinerary for the Big Island. You can also check out my 7-day Kauai itinerary if you have more time to spend here (which I’d recommend.)
The best way to enjoy the Big Island is by car. There are so many things to see on the Big Island, you’re going to need a car, and preferably a Jeep, to truly enjoy it.
Trust me, you’re going to want a car.
Is there a bad time to visit Big Island?
Sometimes as a Hawaii Travel Agent, I’m asked if there is a bad time to visit the Big Island due to volcanic eruption. The answer is no. The resort areas are very far from the volcano. Vog (a form of air pollution) was a problem at one point, but recently the air quality has been excellent.
Where to stay on the Big Island
There are a lot of blogs out there saying you should stay on different parts of the island during your visit, and I disagree 100%. Although the Big Island is big, it’s not as big as you might think. It’s quite easy to drive around the island, and I’ve never had an issue accessing any part of the island while staying in just one area.
The longer you stay in one place, the most cost-effective the stay. If you’re only visiting the Big Island for four days, it’s best to stay in the same place. You can check out the best resorts on the Big Island for some of my favorite places to stay.
4-day Big Island Itinerary
Keep in mind that this 4-day Big Island itinerary can be moved around to work for you. If you would like a custom itinerary, I create one for all of my clients! Make sure to reach out if you need any help planning your Hawaii vacation.
Short Big Island Itinerary
Day 1 – Volcanos National Park
When my clients tell me they want to go to the Big Island; they almost always mention the volcano. Volcanos National Park is unique and a must-see on the Big Island. If you enjoy hiking, I recommend the Kilauea Iki Trail.
On the way to Volcanos National Park, make sure to stop at Punaluu Black Sand Beach, one of the best places to view sea turtles on the Big Island.
If you’re only spending a couple of hours at Volcanos National Park, you could circle around and check out Hilo on the way back. Some of the top places of interest in Hilo are:
- Akaka Falls
- Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
- Liliuokalani Park and Gardens
- Hilo Farmers Market
- Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo
- Rainbow Falls
Depending on when you return, you can end your day at your resort or the beach watching the sunset.
Day Two – Snorkeling and Luau
If you love boating or snorkeling, you are going to want to check out a snorkeling tour of Kealakekua Bay. Kealakekua Bay is one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii. You don’t even have to snorkel if you don’t want to. You’ll likely see some wildlife, dolphins in particular, from the boat.
I recommend the morning tour with Body Glove, which covers breakfast and lunch. For dinner, why not cross a luau off your Hawaii bucket list?
If a luau isn’t for you, or if you plan to go to one on another island, have dinner or enjoy Happy Hour in Kona. Day two would also be a great time to explore the town of Kona.
Day 3 – Waipio Valley or Pololu Valley
On day 3, we’ll be heading North to Waipio Valley if you have a 4-wheel drive or Pololu Valley if you don’t. You can also take a tour of Waipio Valley. Pack a lunch and enjoy the beautiful scenery and black sand beaches.
Make sure to be respectful of those who live in the area and do not trespass. Check out 20 things you should never do in Hawaii for more tips.
On your way back, stop at Lapakahi State Historical Park. Here you can explore the ruins of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. If snorkeling with manta rays is on your Big Island to-do list, day three would be a great day to do that.
Day 4 – Beaches
You’ve had a full three days, so take some time to relax on your last day on the Big Island. Take a helicopter tour, or spend your day on the beautiful beaches. If you want to do more snorkeling, you can check out Two-Step. The historical City of Refuge is just next door, and it’s a must-see too.
More things to do on the Big Island
If you want to move around or substitute part of this 4-day Big Island itinerary, check out 25 things to do in Kona for more ideas. You might also want to check out the best happy hours in Kona to know where to find the best mai tai.
4 days on the Big Island
Would you like a custom 4-day Big Island Itinerary? Make sure to contact me! If you’re planning a Hawaii vacation and feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. As a Hawaii Travel Agent (who has spent a LOT of time on the Big Island), I’d love to help create a custom Big Island itinerary just for you.
If you want to plan your trip but feel like you might need some help along the way, start looking at options through Funjet. If you need any help, reach out. You can also check out how to plan a Kauai vacation if you’re just getting started.
Ready to plan your Big Island vacation?
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