Wondering where to stay on the Big Island, Hawaii? The largest Hawaiian island is home to a diverse climate where white sand beaches lead to epic volcanoes and remote waterfalls. On any Hawaii vacation, it’s the perfect place to relax and let the world go by.
The best hotels on the Big Island will help you experience its diverse nature by placing you in areas close to all the action. To unwind, your accommodation’s poolside bars, spa houses, and romantic dinners will help you enjoy the calming vacation of your dreams.
Not sure where to begin? Find your perfect hotel with our guide to the best places to stay on the Big Island, Hawaii.
Best places to stay on the Big Island, HI
Hawaii’s largest island is also its youngest. Hawaii Big Island is enveloped in vibrant beaches with white, black, and even green sand. With several active volcanoes, the local landscape is constantly evolving like an unfinished canvas.
At this gives the Big Island a unique aura that separates it from the rest of the Hawaiian islands. It also creates variety for travelers, who’ll find a range of interesting landscapes, culture, and attractions to choose from.
The Big Island features eight microclimates, including rainforests, deserts, and even polar tundra atop the island’s tallest summits. The sheer diversity means no two places are the same.
For endless beaches lapped by turquoise ocean, beach bums should stay close to the west and northwest coasts around Kona and Kohala. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find plenty of resort options here and life can be as relaxing or busy as you want it to be.
For untamed nature and lower crowds, you can find tranquility on the other side of the Big Island, along with the southern coast. But your quiet sanctuary will have fewer accommodation options.
The best areas to stay on the Big Island (Hawaii) are:
✓ Best area to stay on the Big Island for first-timers and families
First-time visitor and not sure where to stay on the Big Island? Begin your lodgings search in Kona. With white sandy beaches, national parks, and budget to luxury accommodation options, this part of the island ticks all the boxes.
Located on the island’s west side, the Kona area is home to the town of Kailua-Kona, where travelers will enjoy easy access to a range of cultural and natural attractions. Those arriving by plane will already find themselves on this part of the island. Compared to other areas on Hawaii Island, the weather in Kona is drier—and the beaches are even better.
One of the most beautiful beaches on the Big Island is Kamakahonu Beach. Also known as King Kam Beach, the stretch of sand is perfect for exquisite sunbathing on soft golden sand before snorkeling above the colorful underwater world.
Head north along the coast to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, where you’ll find ancient ruins, petroglyphs, and insight into Hawaiian culture. Another popular attraction on the west side of Hawaii Big Island is the Kona coffee farms.
Offering luxurious villas teeming with natural light, guests will love staying at Kona Seaspray. Each oceanfront room comes with floor-to-ceiling windows, fully equipped kitchens, and spacious Hawaiian-style terraces. After a big day of adventure, retreat to your cozy abode with contemporary decor and cable TV, or cook up a feast on the BBQs by the pool.
Just steps away from the Big Island’s top golf courses, Holua Resort provides both villas and condos. The resort is a popular option for couples and families, who can take advantage of modern amenities, a full kitchen, and either a balcony or terrace. When you aren’t climbing volcanoes or snorkeling, swim in one of six on-site swimming pools.
You’ll never get bored with the Pacific Ocean views at Aston Kona by the Sea. With the waves crashing down just steps away, relax by the outdoor pool or hot tub. After a day in the sun, retreat to your room complete with tropical decor, a spacious living room, and a private balcony.
Located n the Kona Kohala Coast, this Four Seasons Resort is one of the best hotels on the Big Island. When you aren’t basking in the views from your own balcony, play a round at the on-site golf course, swim in the seven pools, or enjoy a romantic dinner by the ocean.
✓ Top district on the Big Island for luxury travelers
Sitting on the Big Island’s northwest coast, Kohala is renowned for its string of white sand beaches and calm swimming along with easy access to the epic Waipio Valley. Beginning at Waikoloa Village, the Kohala Coast features some of Hawaii Island’s top luxury hotels.
Kohala is all about romance and splendor. It’s the perfect place to bask in the sunset, cocktail in hand as you enjoy a candlelight dinner on a romantic getaway. Families will also find a range of resorts that cater to younger ones, including hotels that offer kids’ clubs and ample water sports.
For trips out of the resorts, head to the island’s largest beach at Hapuna Beach State Park and beyond the lava fields to the Kohala Forest.
While the Kohala Coast is a magnificent spot for those who want to relax and bathe in the sun, keep in mind that there are few budget options here. You’ll also be further away from the top tourist attractions on Hawaii Big Island and the east coast.
Sitting on an expansive 62 acres of oceanfront beauty, Hilton Waikoloa Village is a fantastic choice for families. From each room in this lovely hotel, you’ll enjoy wondrous ocean and bay views. Kids will have a blast on the water slide. The resort also offers spa treatments, gourmet restaurants, golf, and an on-site art gallery.
Steps away from the white sand beach frequented by sea turtles, the Fairmont Orchid is an opulent resort with plenty to do. Away from your luxurious accommodation, wander landscaped gardens, passing waterfalls to a wide range of restaurants and a resplendent spa house. When you aren’t enjoying the poolside bar, play some tennis or a round of golf.
This beachfront resort, overlooking Anaehoomalu Bay, is a leisurely paradise. Wake up relaxed in your lush suite, before enjoying a morning nature walk. Soak in the views from the infinity pool or venture out onto the bay thanks to the resort’s water sport rentals. At night, choose between a duo of authentic Hawaiian restaurants.
Perched on the sands of Hapuna Beach, this resort has grandeur and a family-friendly atmosphere in equal measure. Each room comes with an ocean view balcony, cable TV, and a radiant ensuite. While their parents are relaxing with a full-service spa, kids will have a blast with the children’s activity program.
There’s no stone left unturned at this luxurious resort. After a traditional lei greeting, guests will revel in their modern suites and private balcony. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel offers ample water activities, a private beach, art galleries, and poolside bars. Guests will also enjoy the range of cultural experiences and activities just for kids.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
✓ Recommended area to stay on the Big Island for outdoor activities
If the focus of your trip is outdoor adventure, spend your nights near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Just outside of the park itself lies Volcano Town where you’ll find a small contingent of guesthouses, lodges, and vacation rentals.
Although the area lacks beachfront resorts, it remains one of the most popular areas to stay on the Big Island. Travelers will love the range of budget-friendly options as you trade oceanfront accommodation for lodgings encased in jungle landscapes.
Volcano Town feels worlds away from the west coast of Big Island. But staying close to the famed national park will be worth it. From your chosen accommodation, you’ll have an excellent base for exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s so vast you’ll need multiple days on your Big Island itinerary to see it all. The park is home to over 150 miles of scenic hiking trails, along with an abundance of awe-inspiring sights, including the duo of active volcanoes.
Visitors exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in depth will have time to uncover the cultural significance of the area, which extends to petroglyphs, captivating archaeology, and Hawaiian lore.
Two miles from the national park, Aloha Crater Lodge is the perfect base for your nearby adventures. Each comfortable room comes with tropical decor, TV, and coffee-making facilities with the option for continental breakfasts. Guests can also take part in the hotel’s Lava Tube Tour before returning to relax in the hot tub.
Tucked away in the forests, the Volcano Eco Cabin Retreat offers a tranquil experience close to the national park. In each cozy jungle chalet, guests will find a kitchenette, stocked fridge for breakfast, TV, and WiFi. But you’ll be on the move throughout thanks to the retreat’s bike hire, proximity to hiking trails, and the ocean.
One of the best Big Island hotels for couples, this romantic B&B in the jungle will feel like a world away from anything else. Wake up to the sounds of bristling leaves before exploring the beautiful gardens. Venture into the park or check out the Volcano Art Gallery before cozying up in front of your own fireplace.
✓ Recommended district to stay on the Big Island for sightseeing
The common debate among those traveling to the Big Island is whether to stay on the east or west coast. The west may be home to Kona, but for those thinking east, Hilo is the place to go.
Away from the slew of luxury resorts, life is slower and quieter on this side of the island. Here, you’ll have your pick of budget accommodation to help you enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities, hiking trails, and black sand beaches.
Although less touristy, Hilo has wonderful access to the top sites on the island. Some of the best things to see & do around Hilo include the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and Rainbow Falls. Receiving the bulk of the Big Island’s rainfall, the lush jungle is a muddy but incredible place to hike.
Along with Rainbow Falls, the trek to Akaka Falls is one of the best hikes on the Big Island. Adventurers will also be close to the summit of Mauna Kea.
For solo and budget travelers looking to stay in Hilo, the Big Island Hostel is an excellent choice. Clean and modern, the hostel will let you feel right at home among travelers from around the world. The expansive communal kitchen has enough room for everyone. The shared lounge is the perfect spot for sharing epic stories as you plan your adventures around the island.
On the quiet east coast, Hilo Bay Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast promises a soothing vacation. With jungle and ocean views, watch the sun paint the sky each morning before enjoying the delicious daily breakfast. Make use of the B&B’s shuttle to explore nearby attractions including the Mauna Loa Observatory.
Surrounded by 22 acres of dense jungle, the Inn at Kulaniapia Falls mixes an idyllic location with plenty of adventurous activities. Here, you can access the tallest private waterfall in Hawaii, including a guided rappelling experience. Add in hiking, swimming, and kayaking, all fueled by the delectable daily breakfast.
✓ Top-rated area to stay on the Big Island for relaxation
Often overlooked as one of the best places to stay on the Big Island, Ka’u is ready to surprise. Ka’u is the most remote part of the island and home to two of the most mesmerizing beaches in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Away from the tourist traps and high-end resorts, you can take the time to explore the island at your own pace, including venturing to the nearby active volcanoes.
Ka’u has been shaped by both ancient and recent lava flows. This is best shown at both the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach and Papakolea Green Sand Beach. The latter is a beautiful beach whose color derives from cinder cone explosions underneath the water.
Accommodation options are limited around Ka’u, but the unspoiled space has led to a range of hotels that make use of the natural surroundings, allowing you to stay in an untamed paradise.
In the remote region of Ka’u, Leilani Bed and Breakfast showcases the local serenity where the sounds of birds float through the window as you gaze out into nature. Each room is understated, but cozy, with a lovely breakfast area where you can mix with other travelers before exploring the exceptional local beaches.
At this vacation rental, you’ll have an entire guesthouse to yourself. Stare out over the southern coast with views of both the sunrise and sunset. From your home, you’ll be a short trip from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kula Kai Caverns, and Papakolea Green Sand Beach.
If you’re searching for upscale accommodations on this part of Big Island, then Sea Mountain is the answer. At this rare resort in Ka’u, featuring Polynesian-inspired villas, each room comes with full kitchens, tropical decor, cable TV, and a dining area. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub along with an on-site golf course.