How Long Does It Take to Drive Around Hawaii’s Big Island?
The Big Island of Hawaii is a mesmerizing, diverse destination that offers breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches, and a rich cultural heritage. One of the best ways to explore this incredible island is by embarking on a road trip. With its well-maintained roads and scenic routes, driving around the Big Island allows you to experience the island’s wonders at your own pace. However, many travelers wonder exactly how long it takes to drive around the entire island. In this article, we will discuss the approximate driving time and offer some useful information to make your journey even more enjoyable.
Driving Time Around the Big Island
The Big Island is the largest and youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, covering approximately 4,028 square miles. The circumference of the island is around 250 miles, and there are various routes you can take to explore it. The driving time to circumnavigate the entire island can range from 6 to 8 hours, depending on several factors such as traffic, stops along the way, and the speed at which you choose to travel.
It is important to note that the driving time mentioned here is a rough estimate and does not account for stops at attractions, hikes, or exploring towns. To fully experience the Big Island, it is recommended to allocate at least a week or more to ensure you have enough time to explore the diverse landscapes and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Scenic Routes and Must-Visit Stops
While the driving time around the Big Island can be completed in a day, it would be a disservice to rush through this magical place. Taking your time to discover the island’s hidden gems and natural wonders will make your trip truly unforgettable. Here are some of the must-visit stops and scenic routes to consider during your journey:
1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Located in the southeastern part of the island, this national park is home to the active Kilauea volcano. Witnessing the power of nature and exploring the unique landscapes of the park is a must-do experience.
2. Waipio Valley: This stunning valley on the northeastern coast offers breathtaking views of lush cliffs, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. Take a guided tour or hike down to the valley floor for an unforgettable adventure.
3. Hilo: The largest city on the Big Island, Hilo is known for its natural beauty and rich history. Explore the beautiful Rainbow Falls, visit the Lyman Museum, or enjoy the local cuisine in this charming town.
4. Kohala Coast: This scenic coastal area on the northwest side of the island is famous for its luxury resorts, beautiful beaches, and world-class golf courses. Take your time to relax and soak in the sun along this stunning coastline.
5. Kona: Located on the western side of the island, Kona is a vibrant town known for its coffee farms, snorkeling spots, and historical sites. Don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Kona Coffee Living History Farm and spot dolphins in the crystal-clear waters.
Q: Can I drive around the entire Big Island in one day?
A: Technically, it is possible to drive around the entire island in a day, but it would be rushed and not allow for much exploration or enjoyment of the island’s attractions. It is recommended to allocate at least a week to fully experience the Big Island.
Q: Are there any road closures or restrictions to be aware of?
A: Occasionally, road closures may occur due to volcanic activity, landslides, or other natural events. It is advisable to check the local news or the official website of Hawaii’s Department of Transportation for any updates before embarking on your journey.
Q: Are there any challenging or dangerous roads on the island?
A: While most roads on the Big Island are well-maintained and safe to drive, there are a few areas that require caution. The road to the Waipio Valley is steep and should only be attempted by experienced drivers. Additionally, some roads within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park may be subject to closure or restrictions due to volcanic activity.
Q: Can I rent a car on the Big Island?
A: Yes, there are several car rental agencies available on the Big Island, particularly at the airports. It is recommended to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
In conclusion, driving around the Big Island of Hawaii is an incredible adventure that allows you to witness the island’s natural beauty and immerse yourself in its rich culture. While the driving time around the entire island is approximately 6 to 8 hours, it is highly recommended to take your time and explore the numerous attractions and scenic routes along the way. Plan your trip wisely, allocate enough time, and get ready for an unforgettable road trip experience on the Big Island of Hawaii.