The last borne of Pele's fire, the Big Island of Hawai'i instills awe no matter how often you visit. Stargaze atop Mauna Kea, witness red lava flows sizzling into the ocean, or engage in a multitude of active island experiences. The Big Island is a place that will fill your senses to the brim. Amidst it all is the Kohala Coast, a destination steeped in majesty that time has forgotten. Blessed with year-round sunshine, it's home to some of the world's great beaches, crystal-clear cerulean waters, stunning vistas, and indelible sunsets.
Hawaii's largest island (93 miles long by 76 miles wide) is also its least populated (just 31 residents per square mile). The Big Island - officially know as Hawai'i Island - is one of the most diverse islands in the world, encompassing 11 of the world's climate zones, from desert lava fields to snowy tundra slopes. Then there's Kilauea, the Earth's most active volcano, from which lava can be seen dramatically flowing into the sea.
On the east side of the island, the charming town of Hilo evokes the past with a rich feel of vintage Hawaii. Kailua-Kona, on the west side, is perfect for browsing art galleries, big game fishing, diving with dolphins and manta rays, and night life. Atop Mauna Kea (at 13,796 ft above sea level), observatories feed data to astronomers around the world. The island is also internationally-renowned for its events and festivals, including the annual Merry Monarch Festival, where hula is celebrated, the Big Island Film Festival, the Ironman World Championship, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, and the Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.
The bounty of the Big Island serves as the raw material for Hawaii’s best chefs, who have given rise to the newest trends in Pacific Rim cuisine. Parker Ranch, once the largest private ranch in the United States, is here, raising top quality beef on the verdant rolling pastures of Waimea. The island also supports some of the most abundant fisheries, and organic farms provide residents with fresh produce year round.
While the Big Island is surely Hawaii’s most dramatic island with its volcanoes, white, black, and green sand beaches, and tropical rainforests, it's also known as the most relaxed island. Here, residents can choose to enjoy a slower pace of life, indulging in everything from delightful farmer's markets to culturally inspired dance and musical performances at the local theatres.
Although the Big Island may be best known for its top-rated golf courses, there’s also excellent scuba diving, surfing, horseback riding and hiking. And even with thousands of square miles of unspoiled places to explore, residents can always find the best of everything from art and clothing to fine foods.
The Kohala Coast on the northwest side of the Island is a land of superlatives. The elegant resorts take advantage of the perfect climate and the island’s most beautiful beaches, where some of the best snorkeling can be found. Carved from the rugged shoreline, Hawaii's most picturesque and challenging golf courses are also found here, creating an oasis of green against the black lava rock and azure blue ocean.
The coast is also rich in history. King Kamehameha built Pu'ukohola heiau (temple) to honor the war god Kuka 'ilimoku before going on to unite the Hawaiian Islands as his kingdom. The historic King’s Trail, an ancient pathway that once linked communities, temples, fishing areas, and other important locations, features Hawaii’s best preserved petroglyphs, recalling ancient times when malo-clad runners would transport pond-raised fish wrapped in ti leaves to the tables of Hawaiian royalty in Kailua-Kona.