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How Long to Drive Around Big Island Hawaii

How Long to Drive Around Big Island Hawaii

Hawaii’s Big Island, also known as the Island of Hawaii, is the largest and most diverse island in the Hawaiian archipelago. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and unique cultural experiences, the Big Island offers an unforgettable adventure for visitors. One of the best ways to explore this enchanting island is by driving around it. However, many travelers often wonder how long it takes to drive around the Big Island and plan their itineraries accordingly. In this article, we will delve into this question and provide you with a comprehensive guide to driving around the Big Island, including an FAQ section to address common queries.

The Big Island boasts an expansive road network that circles the entire island, allowing travelers to explore its magnificent coastline, lush rainforests, towering volcanoes, and picturesque towns. The main highway, known as Highway 11 or the Hawaii Belt Road, connects the major towns and attractions, making it convenient for visitors to navigate around the island. The total distance to drive around the Big Island is approximately 300 miles, depending on the specific route taken. However, the driving time can vary significantly based on various factors such as road conditions, traffic, and the number of stops you make along the way.

On average, driving around the Big Island can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours without factoring in stops. However, it is highly recommended to allocate at least 2 to 3 days to fully explore and appreciate the island’s beauty and attractions. This will allow you to immerse yourself in the unique experiences offered by each region and enjoy leisurely stops at scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, beaches, and other notable landmarks. With more time at your disposal, you can also indulge in activities like hiking, snorkeling, and visiting cultural sites.

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To make the most of your Big Island road trip, it is essential to plan your itinerary ahead of time. By doing so, you can prioritize the attractions and regions you wish to explore, ensuring that you allocate enough time for each. The Big Island offers a plethora of attractions, including the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, Mauna Kea Summit, Hilo’s vibrant farmers market, Kona’s coffee plantations, and the stunning Waipio Valley. By selecting the areas that interest you the most and mapping out your route accordingly, you can maximize your time on the island.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Do I need a car to drive around the Big Island?
A: Yes, having a car is highly recommended for exploring the Big Island. Public transportation options are limited, and having a car will allow you the flexibility to create your own itinerary and stop at various attractions along the way.

Q: Are there any challenging roads on the Big Island?
A: While most of the main roads are well-paved and easily accessible, there are some sections that may require caution. For example, the road leading to the Mauna Kea Summit is steep and winding, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. Additionally, the Chain of Craters Road in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can be narrow and winding, so it’s important to drive carefully.

Q: Can I drive around the Big Island in a day?
A: Technically, it is possible to drive around the Big Island in a day. However, this would involve extensive driving with limited time for stops and attractions. To truly appreciate the island’s beauty and explore its diverse regions, it is recommended to allocate at least 2 to 3 days.

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Q: Are there any toll roads on the Big Island?
A: No, there are no toll roads on the Big Island. However, some attractions, such as the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, charge an entrance fee.

Q: What is the best time to drive around the Big Island?
A: The Big Island can be explored year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. The weather is generally pleasant throughout the year, but it is recommended to check for any road closures or weather advisories before embarking on your journey.

In conclusion, driving around the Big Island of Hawaii offers an incredible opportunity to explore its diverse landscapes and immerse yourself in its rich culture. While the total driving distance is approximately 300 miles, allocating a few days for your road trip will allow you to fully appreciate everything this enchanting island has to offer. Plan your itinerary, take your time, and create unforgettable memories as you drive around the breathtaking Big Island.

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