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Big Island plus what other island?

Long Island, New...
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Big Island plus what other island?

We are trying to research for our honeymoon. We have two weeks in May and would like to visit two islands. So far, we have decided that the Big Island is one of them.

Which other island do you recommend? We are interested in hiking, whale watching, amazing cuisine, kayaking, explore caves....possibly an attempt at surfing. We have been reading up on Kauai and Oahu which both seem amazing, but we are just not sure. We would like to stay in a section that is not terribly touristy or commercialized but still has a good amount of local entertainment.

Also, which part of the Big Island should we stay on? I've read that Hilo generally has more rain. Kona is sunnier but Hilo has the better beaches. We are looking for a resort-style hotel, preferably with daily breakfast included.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Edited: 30 November 2012, 02:54
Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

To be honest, you could spend your entire time on the Big Island - it really is Big. Best beaches on the BI are in the Kohala area and if you really want to be here, you might pick which side . . . unless you like lots of driving. OR you could fly into Hilo - explore VNP/Hilo for a two days, and then head over to Kona for 5 days, and fly out of Kona to Kauai.

Coming in May, I would heartily recommend Kauai for your second week, staying on the northshore.

Most whales will be long gone in May . . . peak whale watching is during the winter.

Do let us know your nightly budget to better make recommendations for you.

Happy planning! :)

Edited: 30 November 2012, 03:03
Saint Cloud...
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2. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

With two weeks you can easily visit two islands.

Many visit three islands in two weeks. You don't need to go to a luau on each island, you don't need to go to every beach on each island.

As coalminer said, whale watching is done before May.

Oahu is a good choice for a second island. Best for restaurants, shopping, beaches & museums.

Maui or Kauai would also be a good choice for a second or third island.

Go to the Island of Hawaii forum (Big Island). Read the Top Questions on the right side of the page.

On the Island of Hawaii forum, use the search: Trip report

Do the same on the Oahu forum, the Maui forum & the Kauai forum.

Read about 15-20 trip reports on each forum.

Trip reports are a great resource in determining what islands fit you.

Seattle, WA
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3. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

I would do only the Big Island with two weeks- a week on each side. I just spent 9 days there, and it just wasn't enough time. I felt the same after a similar trip to Kauai. But if you must, Kauai would be a terrific second island to add to your trip. Congratulations!

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

I think you'll enjoy this island a lot! Just be careful not to pare the two weeks down to one week on this island, or you'll be shorting it.

I never tried the short first trips. My first trip was ten days Kaua'i, then 15 days Big Island on second trip. On neither trip did we get bored with the one island, and we didn't see all we wanted on either one.

You could do 7 days West Hawai'i, 3 days East Hawai'i, 4 days Kaua'i (or 7-2-5), and see more, but you'll be likely to get little down time on Kaua'i or the east side.

>>> Kona is sunnier but Hilo has the better beaches

What? No, where did you read that? Curious. Hilo has no real beaches.

Kona SIDE is sunnier, much sunnier and drier. Kailua-Kona itself is just one part of the west side, and has very little beach in town.

Check out the hotels linked in the Kohala Coast sub-forum, as those are your choices for resort hotels, along with the Four Seasons in North Kona, just north of the KOA airport. (Marvellous resort.)

Hotels here don't include breakfast as a rule. You can get a package that includes it, but be sure to price it out with other deals, as you could easily end up paying more for that breakfast than if you paid separately. To get your money's worth out of a breakfast buffet, you need to eat a lot. But it is hot here, and a big breakfast will weigh you down.

Honestly, a light breakfast, then some swimming or other activity, followed by a good lunch and a little rest after is more the island way. But some people love the breakfasts, just presenting another point of view.

Number one in your hotel consideration should be its location, its beach, its style, its amenities. Each hotel here has a very different beach from the others. (The Hilton has no beach, and wouldn't recommend it for a honeymoon.)

>>> We would like to stay in a section that is not terribly touristy or commercialized but still has a good amount of local entertainment.

That's hard to find. Most of the regular entertainment is for tourists and is commercialized on the neighbor islands (not counting exceptions like Makawao). Maui has more, but Maui is more commercial than any island outside of Waikiki.

If you want to see local entertainment played for locals, that's more likely if you hit a festival or benefit or special concert. Neither Kaua'i nor the Island of Hawai'i have much focus on nightlife at all. Nor are they about amazing food, for the most part. The food is good, but foodies prefer Oahu and Maui.

Emphasis on entertainment, food, beach body culture -- Oahu and Maui.

Emphasis on nature, hiking, rural areas -- Big Island and Kaua'i.

That's not to say that each island doesn't have the other qualities. All the islands have great natural beauty, and all offer hiking.

I think that Kaua'i would be a great choice for you. Kayaking, caves, hiking, ticks all those boxes.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

Although you say you want untouristy things, consider a few days in Oahu... See North Shore, take surfing lessons at Waikiki--iconic and nice long rides--have some great food and even a little nighlife. I am talking maybe 3 days. Then go to Hawaii Island for the rest anf fly home from there.

Canada
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6. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

Here is a list prepared by DE SheaG that references most recent Trip reports on the Big Island.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k53752…

That forum section ( as previously mentioned) "Top Questions about "xyz" Island" is truly a wealth of information.

You could easily stay Big Island for the 2 weeks ( 2-3 nights East side... Max).The South Kohala coast on the west side has much to offer...with clear blue skies, little rain and close proximity to some of the Island's best beaches.

If you feel compelled to visit that second Island ( Though both sides of Big Island can feel like 2 separate Islands....without the Inter-Island flight...)......I too would suggest Kauai. 9 ( 7+2) nights Big Island, 5 nights Kauai

San Carlos...
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7. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

1 week on the BI (Kohala area), 1 week on Kauai. The Hilo side is much wetter than the west side of the big island. The best beaches are also in the Kohala area. Kauai is amazing and an outdoor person's dream come true.

Long Island, New...
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8. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

Thank you all for your very helpful responses.

If we wanted to experience nightlife, where is the best area for that? What time do Hawaiians typically eat dinner? We have many things that we want to do in the daytime, but I am trying to get a feel for how we may spend our nighttime hours. Granted, the beach and daytime activities do typically take a lot of energy and will have us excited for some ZzzZzs...but it's always nice to have the option. Thanks.

California
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9. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

Let's see. Tell us how many nights you have - two weeks means what?

I would carve out 5 nights for Oahu. Waikiki. Get a car and explore the Island. You'll just be scratching the surface - Oahu has a zillion things to see and do. That's where you'll find the nightlife, and it will be a GREAT balance with the BI. Chances are you will fly into and out of Honolulu anyway.

Spend the rest of the nights on the BI - and carve out a few nights for the Hilo side. The BI is BIG. Stick with the folks on the BI Forum, and they will guide you.

Long Island, New...
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10. Re: Big Island plus what other island?

We have 13 nights. Yes, it does sound like BI and Oahu may be a great mix for us. We do like plenty of outdoor activities, exploring, relaxing. We also like to enjoy nice dinners and a drink or two.