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5 Things Locals Love on Hawaii's Big Island


When you visit Hawaii's Big Island, a tropical wonderland full of welcoming, unforgettable attractions unfolds all around you. The amazing thing about visiting the Big Island is the variety of things to do. From secluded beaches to world-class art, you can do it all on the same trip. Of course, the best way to enjoy your Hawaiian adventure is to live and play as the locals do. Take a look at five favorites locals love on the Big Island.  

#1 Enjoy Live Music at Kahilu Theatre

The Kahilu Theatre is a community venue that sponsors local students and features up-and-coming performing artists from Hawaii, as well as huge productions like "West Side Story." Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and other top performers have also been featured over the years. We suggest arriving a bit early and having dinner at the Big Island Brewhaus. You can dine under the stars in the outdoor beer garden. 

#2 Merrie Monarch Festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a celebration of the art of Hula. This week-long event takes place in Hilo the week after Easter, featuring a Hula competition that showcases Hawaii's best Hula performers. Event sponsors are hopeful they'll be able to have the festival this year, either live or via live steam! Follow Merrie Monarch on Instagram for the latest updates. 

#3 Fresh Mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen 

Two Ladies Kitchen is a popular restaurant in Hilo that is actually owned by family members Nora Uchida, her aunt Tomi Tokeshi, and her mother, Sachi Kishimoto. The kitchen is famous for its handmade specialty — strawberry mochi. This delicious, sweet treat features a pillow-like texture that is airy and light.  

Strawberry mochi is a top-seller. It sells out very quickly. If you want to sample this delicious treat, you must pre-order. 

#4 Tour Hawaiian Farmers' Markets

Hawaii's Big Island is home to more than a dozen weekly farmers' markets showing off the freshest, most authentic Hawaiian treats and wares. In addition to Kona Coffee beans and fresh produce, many stalls offer plated lunches piled high with Hawaiian favorites. Be sure to keep your eyes open for dessert stalls serving up Portuguese malasadas (doughnuts). These treats are really popular with locals. 

As you tour downtown Hilo, look for spots that artist Margo Ray credits with inspiring her highly celebrated works. For a good mix of Hawaiian-grown produce, the Keauhou Farmers' Market is hard to beat. 

#5 Visit Makalawena Beach 

Makalawena Beach, which locals refer to as "Maks," is a remote, stunning white-sand beach that is located on the North Kona Coast. This idyllic beach is part of the Hawaii State Parks system, but it remains relatively secluded since it takes a bit of effort to get to the beach. Locals recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle for the trek, and the ride can be bumpy so it's best to have a driver experienced with rough terrain—but it's so worth the effort! 

Experience the Big Island Like a Local

There's no doubt that you'll see and feel what locals love about Hawaii when you add these five picks to your itinerary. And our Big Island condo choices make great home bases for exploring all that this great island has to offer.

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  • Home of Hawaiian Music, Kani Ka Pila Grille
  • Renovated modern guest rooms
  • Immersive cultural activities
  • Voyager 47 Club Lounge
  • Hawaii’s first and only craft hotel
  • Home of The Beachcomber Originals
  • Hawaiian Aroma Caffe, Waikiki’s most Instagrammed coffee shop
  • Island’s longest bar at Maui Brewing Co
  • Beachfront location
  • Home of Duke’s Waikiki
  • Hawaii’s best live music venue, Blue Note Hawaii
  • Voyager 47 Club Lounge
  • Intimate retreat for adventure seekers
  • Easy access to Waikiki Beach
  • Choice for value-minded families and groups
  • Spacious guest rooms and studios
  • Offering connecting rooms and kitchenettes
  • Spacious guest rooms with kitchenettes
  • Ideal for large groups or families
  • Steps to Waikiki Beach and International Market Place
  • Onsite restaurants – Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar and Tanaka of Tokyo
  • Only half a mile from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
  • Pet friendly
  • Convenient for business travelJust minutes from Pearl Harbor
  • Only resort condo directly on Waikiki Beach
  • Sweeping panoramic ocean views
  • Family friendly
  • Perfect for extended stays
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Intimate, boutique style condo resort
  • Situated in the Waikiki Beach Walk shopping and dining district
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • 38 tropical beachfront acres
  • 3-acre aquatic playground
  • AAA Four Diamond Award accredited
  • Luxury, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites on Kaanapali Beach
  • Located on 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort
  • Choose from 3 beaches and 11 restaurants
  • Ocean and golf room views
  • Offering two magnificent golf courses
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Located within the world-famous Wailea Resort community
  • A short drive from the Shops at Wailea and beaches
  • Near Wailea’s most renowned restaurants
  • Ocean view of Molokai and Lanai
  • Boasts oceanfront pool
  • Private lanai
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Fronts the fairways of Kaanapali Beach Resort
  • Short walk from Whalers Village
  • Featuring three swimming pools
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Boutique-style condos in heart of Lahaina
  • Two blocks away from Front Street
  • Walking distance to shops and restaurants
  • Offering stunning views of Lanai and Molokai
  • Newly renovated condos
  • Oceanfront on property dining at the Gazebo Restaurant
  • Heated river pool running through two-acre property
  • Features flumed water slides
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Cottage-style beachfront condos
  • Complimentary access to Poipu Athletic Club
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Oceanfront condos
  • Includes an ocean pool within a natural stone breakwater
  • Adjacent to the Coconut MarketPlace
Watch the majestic manta rays that swim through Keauhou Bay. Or spend your day relaxing at the spa. It all starts here, on Hawaii Island.
  • Guests treated to infinity pool and lava rock whirlpool
  • Surrounded by Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed golf course
  • Selection of on property dining options
  • Five distinct properties to choose from
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Close to upscale King’s Shops and Queen’s Market Place
  • Golf at Beach Course
  • Set on 18 oceanfront acres
  • Boasts 3 swimming pools and 2 tennis courts
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Set on a lava rock bluff
  • Panoramic views of the Kona coast
  • 5-minute drive to restaurants and shops
  • Ability to select a specific condo unit
  • Beachfront bures
  • Complimentary beach services
  • Kava ceremony welcomes guests
  • Wood-carving guest activity
  • Enjoy Meke traditional song and dance
  • Beachfront bures
  • Offering Meimei nanny service
  • Talai butler service available
  • Named #1 Family Resort
  • Amazing firewalking ceremony
    • Luxury beachfront suites
    • Mauritian Rum tasting experience
    • Dance to Sega music
    • Relax on private beach
    • Complimentary kid’s club
    • Located beachfront on Lamai Beach
    • 2 swimming pools
    • Fitness center
    • Restaurants and in-room dining
    • 3 meeting rooms
    • Located beachfront on Bangsak Beach
    • Swimming pool
    • Fitness center
    • Restaurants and in-room dining
    • 3 meeting rooms
    • Located on Surin Beach
    • Boutique resort
    • 2 swimming pools
    • Restaurant and in-room dining
    • Luxury resort in the Maldives
    • Choose from beachfront villas or over-water villas
    • Numerous dining options, including our signature restaurant Moodhu Grill
    • Fully equipped PADI and SSI dive center
    • Famous for Waikiki Beach
    • Hike Diamond Head Crater
    • Take a historical journey at Pearl Harbor
    • Birthplace of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku
    • Home to Iolani Palace, US’s only royal place
    • Voted “Best Island in the US”
    • Home to Haleakala volcano
    • Famed for whale watching during the winter months
    • Famous scenic stretch road to Hana
    • Mile long of sandy shore at Kaanapali Beach
    • Nicknamed the Garden Island
    • Known for lush valleys, waterfalls and hiking trails
    • Has more beaches than any other Hawaiian Island
    • Most hiking trails than an other Hawaiian Island
    • Largest coffee plantation in the US
    • Often referred to as the “Big Island”
    • Kilauea volcano is the most active and largest in the world
    • Known for black sand beaches
    • Grows most of the world’s macadamia nuts
    • Home to some of the world’s largest telescopes
    • Beachfront bures
    • Authentic cultural experiences
    • Family-friendly accommodations
    • Beach & water activities
    • Accommodations in Koh Samui, PhangNga and Surin Phuket
    • Exotic cuisine featuring aromatic spices and fresh ingredient
    • More than 40,000 temples throughout the country
    • Unique variety of wildlife and nature
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