I visited The Big Island in Feb during the height of The Pandemic. I recommend staying near Kailua-Kona. On the East side of the island, an hour and a half away, is Hilo (East Side of island). The Big Island has so much to offer.
In my opinion, The Big Island and Maui have many similarities, but are very different at the same time - which is difficult to explain. Kailua-Kona is similar to the town of Lahaina on Maui, but has a distinctively different feel that you can’t quite put your finger on. Kailua-Kona has several beaches, including Kahalu’u Beach Park, which is a black sand beach. This is distinctly different from a brown-sand or white-sand beach and is quite beautiful in its own ways!
Pu'uhonua O'Honaunau National Historical Park (Two Step Beach) is approximately 40 minutes south of Kailua-Kona. This is the best snorkeling I’ve ever experienced. Thousands of amazing fish everywhere - perhaps due to the lack of snorkelers during The Pandemic or the time of year, I don’t know? There’s a terrific beach area, and 40 yards to the right is the lava rock entrance where ‘Two Step’ gets its name from (two steps carved in the volcanic rock to get into the ocean).
Waikoloa Beach - 40 minutes north of Kailua-Kona - this picture doesn’t do it justice. Not a snorkeling beach, but an amazingly beautiful beach. When we were there you could hear the whales singing underwater.
Puako is near Waikoloa and has Petroglyphs, which is worth checking out.
On the East Side of the island is Hilo.
It’s worth making the hour and a half trip to the East Side of the island for a day as there are several worthwhile things to experience and see.
Richardson Ocean Park is a black sand beach with great snorkeling and an amazing view.
Rainbow Falls is in Hilo and has a parking area right near the waterfall, which is incredibly convenient if you don’t want to have to hike to see a waterfall.
Kaumana Caves in Hilo, you’ll need a sense of adventure and a flashlight to go further than I explored.
You can hit up Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on your way back from Hilo, too.
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