Aerial View - Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Big Island, Hawaii

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

While there are several reputable helicopter companies on the Big Island, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is the most popular.
Aerial View - Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Plan on a full day to visit Kilauea, the Big Island’s active volcano and the centerpiece of the 359-square-mile Volcanoes National Park. It is the most visited attraction in all of Hawaii, drawing about two million people annually. The current eruption began in 1983, and you’ll get a firsthand look at the devastation of entire towns and even some historical landmarks. If you go by car, stop by the Kiluea Visitor Center for up-to-the-minute lava-flow information and learn more about the volcano and its history. There are sixty miles of paved roads in the park, and it will take you more than a day to see it all (not including travel time from your resort). There are also 150 miles of hiking trails, many of which will take you through old lava fields and around crater edges. Tip: The best way to see the volcano in the shortest amount of time is by helicopter.

Editors' Picks

Mandara Spa

The Marriott’s Mandara Spa is a 5,750-square-foot, two-level structure that fronts the hotel’s main swimming pool. It has seven treatment rooms and a menu of Balinese- and Hawaiian-inspired treatments, as well as a full-service hair, makeup and nail salon.

Aerial View - Mauna Kea Summit, Big Island, Hawaii

Mauna Kea Summit

Open every day of the year from 9 am until 10 pm, the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Station during an evening visit will be an adventurous highlight of your Big Island stay. Mauna Kea – with its low humidity, dark skies and high elevation often reaching beyond the clouds–is one of the best places on earth for astronomical observations and is home to thirteen telescopes, operated by numerous countries.

The Summit of Mauna Kea lies 13,803 feet (4,207 meters) above sea level. In fact, the gentle sloping volcano rises 33,100 feet (10,100 meters) from the ocean floor, reaching a greater height from its base than Mount Everest. You should only drive to the summit in a four-wheel drive vehicle with a low grade and a full tank of gas. Summit tours are available on weekends, but they are not for the faint of heart… literally. Pregnant women, kids and those in poor health are advised to stay at the 9,200-foot-high Visitor Information Station. Even those who want to reach the apex should first acclimate at the visitor center.

But the Visitor Information Station will be exciting enough for most visitors, especially since the summit observatories are not open to the public. Arrive in the late afternoon, hopefully wearing a warm jacket, and enjoy the colors of the darkening sky. Every evening, the free stargazing program includes various telescope set up to point at fascinating astral objects. Once it’s dark enough, experts use lasers to point out constellations in the night sky.

Exterior View - Spa Without Walls,Hawaii: Big Island, Hawaii

Spa Without Walls

Keeping with its name, everything at the Spa Without Walls is open air or ocean-oriented, including ten outdoor waterfall treatment huts, five more right on the beach and, when the weather is chilly, three indoors. Just walking through the tropical flora that creates the backdrop of the spa is relaxing—banana trees, coconut palms and waterfalls. The signature treatment is a Big Island Kona Coffee exfoliation, which leaves you smelling like a latte.

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