First, apologies for the general nature of this initial inquiry. I usually prefer to conduct quite a bit of research prior to turning to the forum with more specific questions. However, I've just been dealt a - very pleasant - last minute surprise and will be taking my family to the Big Island for 4 days (5 if you include the day we fly out, in the evening) over Easter.
The only things I'm sure about with regard to this portion of our HI trip is as follows:
We will be arriving at Hilo in the morning, have a rental car and would like to immediately drive up to Akaka Falls before back-tracking towards Volcanoes National Park.
Any input on additional things to do on this day would be appreciated.
The second day will hopefully be spent in the Volcanoes Park area before heading towards the Kona coast.
We then have 2 full days (and the day we fly out) to explore this part of the island. Definitely want to visit Kealakekua Bay and Capt Cook monument. Would prefer to get there by foot and avoid the not inconsiderable kayak tour/rental expenses but am yet unsure whether this is feasible with regard to finding a safe place to park the car, and both ease and legality of day-long access to monument area. May end up taking a guided kayak tour with an outfit that is cheaper than others, advertises its tours as lasting over 4 hours and which gets to the area relatively early.
Other than that, I'm still flying blind. I'll do my traveller's due diligence but would still greatly appreciate opinions as to prettiest bathing beaches; best snorkeling areas (we love snorkeling!); tips on Volcanoes NP that I may not easily come across in the usual websites; and even on the most logical places to stay on such an itinerary, that would reduce our driving time as much as possible.
For the first couple of days, any safe and clean place that can house a family of four will suffice but once in the Kona area we would not mind spending a tad more on fancier accomodation (though budget accom. would still be fine - we're not the type that stay in resorts all day. We tend to leave early and come back to the rooms late.) Can I expect prices to be higher over the Easter period? Seems likely.....In any case, since 'cheap' and 'pricey' are very subjective terms I'm more interested in locations I should look into as regards accomodation and not individual properties, though all input will help.
Oh, and just in case it isn't already clear, we're a 2 adult, 2 teenager family that enjoys tropical beaches, snorkeling, scenic drives and views, hiking (though they would have to be short as our days are limited) and nature and wildlife in general.
ANY info that would serve as an initial framework for our intended itinerary would be great. Your varied - or perhaps similar - opinions would certainly save alot of time in fleshing out our programme.
Thanks in Advance,