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The Big Island

Welcome to the Island of Hawaii, also known as “the Big Island.” The Big Island is the youngest (geologically speaking) and largest of the Hawaiian Islands– bigger than all the other Islands combined. What’s more, Hawaii Island continues getting bigger, thanks to the fiery eruptions of the world’s most massive volcano, Maunaloa.
ObservatoryBesides having lots of territory to explore, the Big Island is home to incredible natural diversity and unique scenic wonders. Containing all but two of the world’s climate zones, you’ll find everything from stunning black and green sand beaches, and lush tropical forests, to sunny coffee farms and lofty snow-capped mountain peaks.

Hula

The Big Island offers first class resorts, golf courses, world famous Kona coffee plantations, the world’s largest cattle ranch, waterfalls–and did we mention, incredible beaches? There’s plenty of authentic Hawaiian culture to experience, from funky local town venues, to the birthplace of King Kamehameha and the ending place for Captain Cook. There’s so much to see, do and experience on the Big Island, you’ll have to come back again soon for more aloha.

Hawaii Island, or “the Big Island” is both the youngest and largest of all the Hawaiian islands at 4,028 square miles, comprising 62% of the land mass of the entire state. Its greatest distance across is 93 miles. Hawaii is also the largest island in the United States and the southeastern-most island in the archipelago. The Big Island has the highest point among the islands, with the 13,780 foot volcano, Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea rises over 32,000 feet from its base on the ocean floor, making it taller than Mt. Everest from base to summit. Maunaloa is the most massive mountain in the world, covering half the island, and Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

The broad variation in elevation and the contrasts between the wet (windward) and dry (leeward) sides means that the Big Island contains all but two of the climate zones found anywhere in the world.  The west is driest, with a mere 10.6 inches average rainfall in Puukohola Heiau and an arid 18 inches in sunny Kailua Kona. The eastern side gets much more precipitation, with an incredible 130 inches of average rainfall in the lush and verdant Hilo.

Hilo is the county seat of Hawaii County and the largest city on the island, with a total population for the island of 185,079. The Big Island has lots of elbow room, being one of the least densely populated of the islands.

 

Although it’s the youngest island geologically, it is believed to be the earliest inhabited of the islands, with Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands settling at Ka Lae, or South Point about 1,500 years ago.

Captain Cook was the first European to discover the islands, landing in Kauai in 1778, and coming to the Big Island a year later, only to be killed during a tragic scuffle with the natives at Kealakekua Bay. The islands were originally called the Sandwich Islands in honor of Cook’s friend, the Earl of Sandwich.

Around this time the islands were ruled as rival chiefdoms and war was common. Paiea Kamehameha, later known Kamehameha the Great, ruled the Big Island and after several years of war, united most of the Hawaiian islands in 1795. He then named the kingdom and the island chain after his native island. The Hawaiian court was moved to Oahu in 1805. In his later years, the King moved back to the Big Island in 1812, where lived peacefully until his death in 1819.

The first missionaries arrived at Kailua Kona in 1820. The historic Mokuaikaua Church on Alii Drive in Kailua Kona Village is still standing and welcomes worshipers to this day. Ranching and sugar cane became big business and drew diverse peoples from around the world. Although sugar cane production is gone now, cattle, coffee and agriculture remain a big part of the island economy. The Big Island’s unique culture, rich heritage and natural beauty contribute to its biggest industry of all, tourism.

 

One of the best luau’s on the Big Island is the Sunset Luau at the beautiful Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Big Island’s South Kohala Coast. Situated on picturesque Anaeaho’ onalu Bay, Waikoloa is a great place for  for swimming, diving and snorkeling or...
Kona Brewing Company was started by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. The pair had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. Their love of Hawaii, and a desire to protect the pristine environment...
If you only have time for one hike during your stay on the big Island of Hawaii, the Kīlauea Iki Hike is a great choice. The trail starts in the rain forest and takes you through fern trees and tropical foliage. The trail descends 400 feet to the crater floor where hikers will cross through a lunar landscape of steam vents, cinder and spatter cones, lava rock formations, cracks, fissures, broken upheavals.
Just outside the small town of Waimea (also known as Kameula), on the north end of the Big Island of Hawai`i, lies the historic Parker Ranch. It was founded in 1847 by John Palmer Parker. They bought the first two acres of ranchland for $10. They expanded in the 1850 when Kipikane was granted 640 acres of surrounding pastureland. Subsequent Parkers continued to expand until, at its height, Parker Ranch covered nearly 500,000 acres, the largest single-owned ranch in the United States. Today it is the fifth largest at 130,000 acres, much of it grazing land for approximately 19,000 head of cattle and 125 horses. Visitors are welcome. Parker Ranch is located at 66-1304 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, HI 96743. For more information, call 808-885-7311
Papakolea Beach is one of only four Green Sand Beaches in the world. Visitors to the Big Island should make time to visit this spectacular gem at the very southernmost point of the United States.
The Big Island Articles →All Articles →
One of the best luau’s on the Big Island is the Sunset Luau at the beautiful Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Big Island’s South Kohala Coast. Situated on picturesque Anaeaho’ onalu Bay, Waikoloa is a great place for  for swimming, diving and snorkeling or...
Kona Brewing Company was started by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. The pair had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. Their love of Hawaii, and a desire to protect the pristine environment...
Papakolea Beach is one of only four Green Sand Beaches in the world. Visitors to the Big Island should make time to visit this spectacular gem at the very southernmost point of the United States.
NEW! Video of Lava Hike! The battle of fire and water: Kilauea is Hawaii's most active volcano. Roaring back to life with a violent eruption of superheated gas and magma in January of 1983 she has been pouring forth enormous quantities of lava ever since.
In old Hawaii, if you had broken a law, the penalty was death. Perhaps you had entered into an area that was reserved for only the chiefs, or had eaten forbidden foods. Laws, or kapu, governed every aspect of Hawaiian society. The penalty for breaking these laws was certain death. Your only option for survival in such a case would be to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest pu'uhonua, or place of refuge.
The Big Island Attractions →All Attractions →
Welcome to the Blue Horizon from Hawaiian Islands Dreams! Hawaiian Island dreams specializes in oceanfront and view properties and homes for sale as well as vacation rentals. Sitting directly on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with 180 degree views of the coastline, the Blue...
Beautiful view at this very comfortable and peaceful two bedroom, two bath vacation rental at Captain Cook on the Big Island!
Big Island Hostels - Accomodations for the budget travelers who enjoy sharing expereinces with fellow travelers.
Big Island Bed and Breakfasts...for a more personal experience or out of the way location.
The Big Island Accommodations →All Accommodations →
The Lavender Moon Gallery in the small village of Kainaliu just 7 miles south of Kailua-Kona offers a unique collection of pieces from local artists that span the spectrum of landscape and fine sculpture to a ex sign painter who paints amazing old signs on surfboards. You will also find dazzling one of a kind local jewelry.
Enjoy culinary delights from more than 30 participating restaurants, chefs, pastry chefs, bakers, and beverage suppliers.
Sacred Grounds Coffee Farm is located in Captain Cook high above Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island on Highway 11 between mile markers 110 and 109 south of Kona. The farm growns fruit and madacamia nuts along with its main crop of Kona Coffee....
The Coffee Shack is located high above Kealakekua Bay between mile marker 108 and 109 on Highway 11 south of Kona. Enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Kona Coffee on the open Lanai overlooking 26 miles of coastline at 1400 feet above the sea....
The Big Island Food & Shopping →All Food & Shopping →
One of the best luau’s on the Big Island is the Sunset Luau at the beautiful Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Big Island’s South Kohala Coast. Situated on picturesque Anaeaho’ onalu Bay, Waikoloa is a great place for  for swimming, diving and snorkeling or...
Between the lava fields of Kohala Coast and the lush surroundings of North Kohala is Lapakahi State Historical Park. The cultural site is 12 miles north of Kawaihae near mile marker 14 on Hwy 270. The turn off is easy to miss so keep...
Just outside the small town of Waimea (also known as Kameula), on the north end of the Big Island of Hawai`i, lies the historic Parker Ranch. It was founded in 1847 by John Palmer Parker. They bought the first two acres of ranchland for $10. They expanded in the 1850 when Kipikane was granted 640 acres of surrounding pastureland. Subsequent Parkers continued to expand until, at its height, Parker Ranch covered nearly 500,000 acres, the largest single-owned ranch in the United States. Today it is the fifth largest at 130,000 acres, much of it grazing land for approximately 19,000 head of cattle and 125 horses. Visitors are welcome. Parker Ranch is located at 66-1304 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, HI 96743. For more information, call 808-885-7311
Sacred Grounds Coffee Farm is located in Captain Cook high above Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island on Highway 11 between mile markers 110 and 109 south of Kona. The farm growns fruit and madacamia nuts along with its main crop of Kona Coffee....
Kahua Ranch is a real working cattle ranch, situated 3,200 feet above the sea in the idyllic Kohala Mountains. Your visit to the Big Island is not complete without experiencing the rich heritage of ranching in Hawaii, dating back to the days of Captain Cook and King Kamehameha.
The Big Island Culture →All Culture →
If you only have time for one hike during your stay on the big Island of Hawaii, the Kīlauea Iki Hike is a great choice. The trail starts in the rain forest and takes you through fern trees and tropical foliage. The trail descends 400 feet to the crater floor where hikers will cross through a lunar landscape of steam vents, cinder and spatter cones, lava rock formations, cracks, fissures, broken upheavals.
Papakolea Beach is one of only four Green Sand Beaches in the world. Visitors to the Big Island should make time to visit this spectacular gem at the very southernmost point of the United States.
NEW! Video of Lava Hike! The battle of fire and water: Kilauea is Hawaii's most active volcano. Roaring back to life with a violent eruption of superheated gas and magma in January of 1983 she has been pouring forth enormous quantities of lava ever since.
The Big Island Nature →All Nature →
Welcome to the Blue Horizon from Hawaiian Islands Dreams! Hawaiian Island dreams specializes in oceanfront and view properties and homes for sale as well as vacation rentals. Sitting directly on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with 180 degree views of the coastline, the Blue...
Beautiful view at this very comfortable and peaceful two bedroom, two bath vacation rental at Captain Cook on the Big Island!
Do you desire seclusion and want to be on the water? You have found the place here. Rarely available with this much land - Almost 10 acres of oceanfront seclusion and solitude on the Puna coast. See Full Listing.
Ocean view home on large 15,000 sq. ft. lot with it's own deep warm tidal pond. Currently being used as a vacation rental. Only block and a half to Champagne Pond, a geothermally heated fresh and sea water pond where the sea turtles come to rest. See Full Listing
The Big Island Real Estate →All Real Estate →

About Touch Hawaii

Welcome to Touch Hawaii! Here you’ll discover practical tips and inspiration to plan your next adventure throughout the Islands. Here you’ll find interesting articles, short videos and rich imagery covering the key natural wonders, beaches, cultural attractions and accommodations that you’re looking for. Learn about the history and hear stories of unique special places from the colorful, local folk who keep Aloha Spirit alive.

If you want to read a lot about Hawaii, buy a book. If you want the best opportunity to see, hear and touch Hawaii before you go, please explore our website. Aloha from Touch Hawaii!

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Phone:253-857-7635 c/o North Woods Productions
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