Pearl Harbor Must Do: Travel to The Big Island

Being stationed on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) is an amazing opportunity to travel interisland. Each island has unique landmarks, adventures and food to try. Whether you go for a day or a long weekend, this is your reminder to go and explore!

We have been stationed at JBPHH three times and I have always wanted to travel to the Big Island. But in true submarine fashion every time we planned a trip something would cancel our trip. So recently when a friend asked if I wanted to go to the Big Island for a girls weekend I jumped at the opportunity.

It was my first time traveling solo and a time to just rest. It was the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Here was our itinerary:

Day 1

  • Fly into Hilo 
  • Visit the Hilo Town Farmers Market
    • The perfect spot to pick up road trip treats like white pineapple, lychee, dragon fruit and local made goods!
  • Pick up Mochi treats from 2 Ladies Kitchen
    • They are known for their peanut butter mochi and mochi covered strawberries. They tend to sell out so if there is a flavor you want to try or love go early or call ahead. 
  • Grab lunch at Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine
    • An open an air restaurant with an amazing menu with something for everyone. You have to try their Pineapple Punch, Lilikoi Hoisin Wings, Poke Tower and Portobello Mushroom Sandwich!
  • Take a Shaka Guide Driving Tour of Waipio Valley
    • I wasn’t sure what to expect but the app provides the history of the area, turn by turn directions and local Hawaiian music. It was a great way to learn more about the area and stops that we may not have known. 
  • Pick up weekend provisions at Costco 
    • We were staying in a condo so a Costco stop gave us an opportunity to stock up on breakfast items, easy dinners, drinks, snacks and even treats to bring back home.
  • Check-in at Paniolo Greens (via Airbnb)
    • We stayed at Paniolo Greens, booked through AirBnb. The condo had great amenities, a full kitchen and perfect location to other shops.
  • Go stargazing at Maunakea
  • The visitors center is open 9:00 AM to 9:00 P.M. and great place to see the sunset and look at all the stars. Picnic tables are located at the visitors center so we brought drinks and snacks to enjoy while we gazed. The elevation is higher and can get very cold. Make sure to pack accordingly and check the weather prior. 

Day 2

  • Morning hike at Kiholo State Park Reserve
    • We parked and hiked along Kiholo Bay enjoying black sand beaches and a few turtle smiles. The hike has little shade so bring water and sun protection. 
  • Pick up lunch at KTA to bring to Hapuna Beach
    • After the hike we were starving so we all grabbed something to eat from KTA (the local grocery store) and headed to Hapuna Beach. The scenic beach offered ample parking but currently has no running water due to repairs. 
  • Happy hour at Lava Lava Beach Club
    • Lava Lava Beach Club is the perfect place for a drink and sunset pictures. They do not take reservations but we were able to grab a drink at the bar and enjoy lawn games, live music and an app while waiting for the sunset. It was super family friendly. The meals looked good but of a higher “tourist” price point we opted for drinks and aps! The Ube-Bae, The Tall Nani and Big Island Cadillac Margarita were our favs!

Day 3 

  • Resort Pass to Hilton Waikoloa Village
    •  We all purchased a Resort Pass Day pass for the Hilton Waikoloa for a day by the pool and beach. We booked the Kamaaina Rate and used promo codes for the purchase. With the resort pass you get full access to the pool and amenities. Resort Passes are our favorite way to enjoy five star amenities without the high nightly rates.  
  • Dinner at Pueo Osteria
    • We decided to have a nice sit down dinner and Pueo Osteria was an amazing Italian restaurant with house made pasta and bread. 

 Day 4 

  • Drive back to Hilo 
  • Visit to Akaka Falls State Park
    • Free access with Hawaii State ID or Military ID. The trail is paved but with intermittent stairs. The waterfall was beautiful and the trail was rich with wild bamboo, orchids and even a little chameleon friend.
  • Return flight from Hilo International Airport

A few things we didn’t do that I would love to do next time:

Whatever island you decide to visit or excursions you decide to do, this your reminder to go out and explore! Your time stationed in Hawaii can go quick. For more Hawaii resources and things to do, click here.

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