This was our first trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. It was also our first extended vacation with a toddler. We hoped things would go well as we explored the Big Island of Hawaii.
The 5 hour flight was surprisingly painless with our 1.5 year old. I prepared by getting her some new toys at the dollar store and special snacks she’d never had before. She caught on pretty quick to the excitement of travel.
When we touched down in Kona we rented a car and headed south towards our AirBnB. We stopped at Kona Brewing Co. for lunch, which I highly recommend if you like beer.
Our first Airbnb was in Pahala. The woman at the rental car desk thought I was mistaken when I told her we were staying there. When we arrived I understood why. It’s no where near anything touristy. There is hardly a supermarket or restaurant nearby. It is very rural Hawaii and we loved it. We stayed on a 20 acre farm with goats, sheep, chickens, and a crew of dogs. There was spotty cell signal and wifi barely worked. It was so nice to disconnect, sit out on the lanai, and enjoy each other’s company, if only for a few days.
While staying on the south tip of the island we explored a hot spring and ocean fed pool, we swam with turtles, we hung out at a black sand beach, and we hiked across a volcanic crater. Crowds were minimal as there are no resorts nearby.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
We hiked the Kilauea Iki Trail at Volcanoes National Park. The 4 mile loop begins at the rim of the crater in lush rainforest, drops down into the crater, covered in volcanic rock with multiple steaming vents, then heads back up to the rim through more rainforest.
We made our way over to Carlsmith beach in Hilo to swim with some big sea turtles.
Our time came to venture over to the Kona side of the island where our friends were getting married. While this area is filled with resorts (more tourists) the beaches are the bomb here. We hiked out to Makalawena beach with the softest, fine white sand I’ve ever touched.
The Lava rock covered trail out to Makalawena Beach. Definitely bring your hiking shoes!
On our last day on the island we drove out to Waipi’o Valley. The road down to the beach is pretty crazy. Very steep, single lane, with a lot of ruts and sketchiness. You definitely don’t want to do it without 4×4, and I wouldn’t do it when it’s raining or wet.
We set out to hike to the waterfall you see as your a driving down the hill. We couldn’t find much trail info about this area so we were winging it. We started down a dirt road that seemed to be going in the right direction. Ended up being a dead end but was beautiful scenery nonetheless.
Wild horse along the trail.
My dream home.
We cut our losses and headed out to the beach instead for a swim.
It was the perfect end to our Hawaiian vacation.