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Kona and Hilo

Poughkeepsie, NY
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Kona and Hilo

Planning to come to the Big Island in late March for about a week. My husband and I thought we'd spend most of our time at the Sheraton in Kona (primarily reading and relaxing; we both need "down time"), with a couple of days (one night) in the middle in Hilo. Do you recommend we add a day to the Hilo portion? Any special recommendations for sightseeing and dining? Are there any special museums you recommend?

Keno, OR
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412 posts
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1. Re: Kona and Hilo

On our trips to Hilo we've always spent two nights or more, although we've stayed in Volcano rather than Hilo--I have heard that the resorts in Hilo are not anything special, although I don't have any personal experiences to back that up...if you are going up to the volcano, we would recommend you consider spending a night or two at Volcano TeaPot Cottage--it is adorably decorated, quiet, clean, high quality products throughout, peaceful, private, the ultimate "down time" and is the only cottage on the property, so you have the whole place to yourselves. We have stayed there two times, and even loved it more the second time! Their website is helpful, and the owners will really go the extra mile to be gracious to you. It's about a 1/2 hour into Hilo, and we just drove in and spent the day, then went back out to our peaceful little home away from home each night. If it is sunny in Hilo--that's a rather big IF--then the drive up the east side of the island is lovely, but remember Hilo can really rain on down, so hopefully wherever you stay has a little fireplace/heaters--it takes the cool and sometimes clammy feel from the evening air. (The TeaPot Cottage has a gas fireplace! And a clawfoot bathtub! And an outside hot tub with it's own little buidling!) Enjoy your trip--we spent last March Spring break there, and then went back for Christmas--both trips were wonderful (although in March it did rain 10" one day in Hilo--some streets were flooded, but Volcano didn't have any problems with flooding). We love the Big Island! Hope you do too--enjoy the "down time"--the Big Island has lots of it.

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Volcano
Volcano
Island of Hawaii, HI
Washington, DC
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19 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Kona and Hilo

Check out the reply I sent to the person who wrote the "Hilo as a Base to Explore..." question. We were in that area for 4 days and had a great time. If you haven't yet booked, the B&Bs here are generally much, much better than the hotels.

You can find very nice B&Bs in that area using this web site:

http://bestbnb.com/hawaiisbestbnb.html

We went to Seaside Restaurant and Naung Mai Thai Kitchen in Hilo and enjoyed them both very much. The Thai next door to Naung Mai is also supposed to be good, as is Kaikodo.

We planned on some museums but didn't make it, sorry.

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Seaside Restaurant
Seaside Restaurant
172 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Naung Mai Thai Kitchen
Naung Mai Thai Kitchen
170 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Michigan
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7 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Kona and Hilo

Check out the Tsunami Museum and, if you like sushi, eat at Ocean Sushi or the new restaurant that it opened (you'll have to call them for the name). I agree about the Teapot Cottage. It's great, but a bit of a drive from Hilo. I also heard that there weren't great places to stay in Hilo. The downtown was surprising interesting - many older buildings still in tact. There's a gorgeous drive just north of the city - don't miss it.

York, Maine
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34 posts
44 reviews
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4. Re: Kona and Hilo

We stayed on the Kona side, so I can't comment on Hilo accomodations but I would highly recommend the beautiful rainforest walk at the Botanic Gardens just a few miles north of Hilo. The transplanted (from many countries) trees and flowers that dot this attraction are to die for! It was very very much worth the $15 admission for us. And if you do that, don't forget to "lunch" at the Island Slush stand just down the road from it. They had the best fresh homemade guacamole and salsa (not spicy) I've ever tasted.

Keno, OR
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412 posts
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5. Re: Kona and Hilo

The previous poster is right--The Botanical Garden near Hilo is amazing--take mosquito repellant though (or they sell it at the gift shop). The juice stand up the road was a delicious place to stop, and the entire drive up to the Waipio Valley was amazing--we took all of the "off the beaten path" recommendations from our guidebook "The Big Island Revealed" and saw some beautiful stands of bamboo, lovely waterfalls and creeks, and really felt saturated with the physical beauty of the place. We were so glad we took the time to travel to this side of the island!