3 Day Big Island Itinerary

by Meghdut

Planning a trip to the Big Island can be an exhilarating experience, filled with endless possibilities and excitement. But with so much to see and do, it’s important to have a carefully curated itinerary that maximizes your time and ensures you don’t miss out on any of the island’s splendors. In this article, we present a comprehensive 3-day itinerary that covers the island’s top attractions, offers unique experiences, and provides insight into the best modes of transport for each adventure. So grab your travel planner hat and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the Big Island’s diverse landscapes and cultural wonders.

Day 1


Your adventure begins as you touch down at the Kona International Airport. After collecting your bags, make your way to the car rental area and pick up your rental car. Having a car will provide you with the flexibility to explore the stunning sights of the Big Island at your own pace.

Once you have your wheels, it’s time to head to the vibrant town of Kailua-Kona. Located on the western coast of the island, Kailua-Kona is known for its picturesque beaches, historic landmarks, and thriving restaurant scene. Take some time to settle into your accommodation and get ready for an exciting day ahead.


In the afternoon, make your way to the Kona Coffee Belt, a region renowned for its world-class coffee production. Take a scenic drive through the lush green hillsides and visit a coffee farm to learn about the cultivation and processing of coffee beans. Experience a coffee tasting session, where you can savor the rich flavors and aromas of freshly brewed Kona coffee.

After indulging in some caffeine goodness, head to a local cafe for a delicious lunch. Explore the charming streets of Kailua-Kona, browse through boutique shops, and immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of this coastal town.


As the day winds down, check into your hotel or accommodation in Kailua-Kona. Whether you prefer a luxurious beachfront resort or a cozy bed and breakfast, there are plenty of options to suit every taste and budget. Take some time to unwind and relax at your accommodation, or venture out to discover nearby attractions such as the beautiful white sand beaches or historical sites.

In the evening, treat yourself to a delightful dinner at a local restaurant. Indulge in fresh seafood, traditional Hawaiian cuisine, or international flavors – the choice is yours. If you’re up for a unique experience, consider joining a stargazing tour to witness the breathtaking night skies above the Big Island. With its minimal light pollution and clear atmospheric conditions, the island offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe celestial wonders.

Day 2


Start your second day with a satisfying breakfast at your hotel or a charming local cafe in Kailua-Kona. Fuel up for an exciting exploration of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea.

Upon arrival at the park, make your way to the Kilauea Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find valuable information about the park’s geology, history, and current volcanic activity. Pick up trail maps, check for any park advisories, and prepare for an awe-inspiring adventure.

Embark on a hike along the Crater Rim Trail, which offers panoramic views of the volcanic landscape. Marvel at the diverse flora and fauna, and keep an eye out for steam vents and fumaroles that emit volcanic gases. Observe the raw power of nature as you witness the volcanic activity that has shaped this remarkable island.


After exploring the Crater Rim Trail, make your way to the Thurston Lava Tube, a fascinating natural formation created by flowing lava. Walk through the paved tube and imagine the fiery forces that once reshaped this underground conduit.

Continue your journey along the Chain of Craters Road, which stretches for over 20 miles and offers breathtaking views of the coastline and volcanic features. Make sure to stop at various scenic viewpoints along the way, and capture memorable photos of the rugged landscapes.

Another must-visit destination within the national park is the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. Take a short hike to witness ancient rock engravings that depict stories and symbols of the native Hawaiian people. This sacred site provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the island.

Enjoy a picnic lunch at a scenic spot within the park, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Big Island. Recharge before continuing your exploration of the volcanic wonders.


In the evening, make your way to the Jaggar Museum, where you can learn more about the geological history and volcanic activity of the Big Island. Attend a ranger-led program for an in-depth understanding of the volcanic processes and the importance of conservation efforts in this unique ecosystem.

After an enriching experience at the museum, satisfy your hunger with a delicious dinner at a restaurant located near the national park. Sample local delicacies, savor international flavors, or opt for a fusion of cuisines that showcase the island’s diverse culinary scene.

As the day comes to a close, head back to your hotel or accommodation in Kailua-Kona. Reflect on the amazing sights and experiences of the day, and get a good night’s rest to prepare for the adventures that await you on day three.

Day 3


On your final day, venture eastward to explore the charming town of Hilo, located on the lush side of the Big Island. Start your morning with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel or a local cafe in Hilo, sampling traditional Hawaiian dishes or indulging in your favorite breakfast classics.

After breakfast, visit the Naniloa Country Club and Golf Course, nestled along the picturesque Hilo Bay. Take a stroll along the manicured greens, enjoy the ocean views, and immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of this beautiful location.

Continue your morning by walking along the Wailuku River, which runs through the heart of Hilo. Admire the cascading waterfalls and lush vegetation as you follow the river’s path. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.


After your morning exploration, treat yourself to a delightful seafood lunch at a local restaurant in Hilo. Sample fresh catches from the Pacific Ocean, indulge in local delicacies, and experience the flavors of the island’s culinary delights.

If time permits, consider visiting the Liliuokalani Gardens, a Japanese-style garden named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. Explore the serene pathways, admire the traditional tea houses, and marvel at the beautiful koi ponds. This tranquil oasis provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


As the sun begins to set, take some time to enjoy your final evening on the Big Island. Reflect on the memories you’ve made, the sights you’ve seen, and the flavors you’ve experienced. Consider a leisurely stroll along one of the pristine beaches, taking in the breathtaking sunset views over the Pacific Ocean.

For your last dinner on the island, choose a seafood restaurant in Hilo to indulge in the finest catches of the day. Savor the delicious flavors of fresh fish, crab, or shrimp, prepared with an island twist.

As your 3-day adventure on the Big Island comes to an end, embrace the aloha spirit and cherish the memories you’ve created. Whether you’re planning to extend your stay or bidding farewell, the Big Island of Hawaii will forever hold a special place in your heart. Aloha and until we meet again!

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