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Must-Visit Towns on the Big Island

There are some towns on the Big Island that everyone should visit during their vacation…after all, there’s more to Hawaii than beaches and sun.

Although Hawaii Island – that is, the Big Island – has the second-largest population of all the islands, it has the lowest population density. The towns here are rather small, especially compared to a metropolis like Honolulu.

But if you want a quieter vacation, then the Big Island’s slower pace of life offers a refreshing change of pace.

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fine dining, or a bit of history, these towns on the Big Island are must-visits for any vacationer.


Since Hilo International Airport brings so many tourists to the Big Island, this city may be your first stop. The city is the county seat for Hawaii County, and it is also technically the “wettest” city in the United States, receiving more annual rainfall than anywhere else in the country.

The city overlooks two of Hawaii Island’s volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.

Hilo is close to the popular Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Wailuku River State Park, and other natural attractions. That doesn’t mean you should skip out on Hilo itself, however – downtown Hilo has a variety of attractions, including restaurants, stores, art galleries, and cultural sites.


Kailua-Kona is a historic town that is also home to a number of attractions and stores. It is a good place to stop for souvenirs, sightseeing, and a bite to eat. Unlike Hilo, Kailua-Kona is on the “dry” side of the island, so it’s less likely that you’ll be rained out of an activity.

Even if it does rain, though, this town has plenty to keep you occupied. Attractions in Kailua-Kona include the Kona Brewing Company, the historic Hulihe’e Palace, and a number of stores and shops. This well-known city is also close to natural hotspots, from beaches to parks.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon of sightseeing, a few souvenirs, or a launching point for other Hawaii attractions, Kailua-Kona is one of the must-visit towns on the Big Island.

Captain Cook

One of the island’s other so-called “big” towns, Captain Cook is located on the western shore of the island. Like other towns on the Big Island, though, the population is rather small.

Here, you’ll find a few cozy inns, as well as some shops and restaurants.

The town is a great place to stop if you’re looking for good outdoor activities, since it’s close to good snorkeling, sailing, and sightseeing spots.


This quaint town has been voted one of the island’s most popular “small” towns. The historic village has a number of art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants.

Hawi is a former sugar plantation town, and, due to its picturesque charm, it has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination.


For more information about Hawaii towns, sights, and attractions, visit Hawaii Discount’s travel blog.

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