Exploring BIG ISLAND, HAWAII in 3 DAYS! A NEW Travel Itinerary Challenge Series

In the fourth and final video part of our Hawaii Travel Itinerary Challenge series, we explore Hawaii, the Big Island, in 3 days and try our best to eat, see, and do as many things as possible based on a prepared itinerary list! Open this up to learn more and see our itinerary ↓


If this is your first time viewing our videos, welcome and thank you! For some background about this series: in our years traveling together, we found our travel style involves cramming as many things into an itinerary as our body can handle. We plan a rough itinerary or list of things we want to do, see, and eat at our destination.

Below is the original itinerary we set out to complete. In our Itinerary Challenge Series, we will see how close we get to checking off each item on our list.


📝Preston & Krista’s Original Itinerary for 3 Days in HAWAII – The Big Island
(If there is a checkmark ✅next to the attraction that means we were able to do it. We also included those completed attractions in the full actualized itinerary list too. )

1. ‘Akaka Falls
2. What’s Shakin
3. Hilo Farmer’s Market
4. Kapoho Kalapana Road (Closed as of Summer 2018)
5. Keauhou Trail
6. Halemaumau Crater
7. Hawaii Volcano National Park ✅
8. Kilauea Caldera Crater ✅
9. Punanlu’u Black Sand Beach ✅
10. Papakolea Green Sand Beach
11. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park
12. Captain James Cook Monument
13. Kekaka Hai State Park
14. Holuakoa Gardens & Cafe ✅
15. Barefoot Zone
16. Broke Da Mouth Grindz ✅
17. Kiholo Bay / Kiholo State Park ✅
18. Hulihe’e Palace
19. Hapuna Beach
20. Kauna’oa (Mauna Kea) Beach ✅
21. Pu’uokhola Heiau National Historic Site
22. Sweet Potato Kitchen & Bakery
23. Pololu Valley Lookout
24. Moʻokini Heiau – Birthplace of Kamekameha
25. Kohala Historical Sites State Monument
26. Statue of King Kamekameha
27. Hina Rae’s Cafe Kamuela ✅
28. Sandwich Isle Bread Company ✅
29. Waima Town Market at Parker School ✅
30. Hawaiian Style Cafe Waimea
31. Horseback Riding into Waipio Valley (Waipio On Horseback or Waipio Ridge Stables LLC)
32. Waipio Valley Lookout ✅
33. Mauna Kea
34. Lake Waiau
35. Very Long Baseline Array

📋Preston & Krista’s Actualized Itinerary for 3 DAYS in HAWAII – The Big Island

1.Sweet Cane Cafe — Hilo
2. Kilauea Center — Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
3. Sulphur Banks Trail to Kilauea Caldera– Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
4. Sulphur Banks (Ha’akulamanu) — Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
5. Kilauea Caldera / Steaming Bluff Lookout  — Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
6. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach — Pahala*
7. Aloha Kona Urgent Care — Kailua-Kona
8. Broke Da Mouth Grindz – Kailua-Kona
9. Waimea Town Market at the Parker School — Waimea
10. Waipi’o Valley Lookout — Honokaa
11. Waipi’o Valley Black Sand Beach — Honokaa
12. Kauno’oa (Mauna Kea) Beach — Kohala Coast
13. Holoholokai Beach Park — Puako
14. Puako Petroglyph Preserve — Puako
15. Under the Bodhi Tree — Kamuela
16. Manta Rays on the Bay @ Sheraton Kona Resort — Keauhou Bay
17. Hawaiian Queen Coffee Farm Tour — Holualoa
18. Holuakoa Gardens & Cafe — Holualoa
19. Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station — Mauna Kea
20. Kipuka Pu’u Huluhulu (Hairy Hill)  — Saddle Road Hwy. 200 – Mile Marker #28
21. Hilton Monorail – Waikoloa Village
22. Kiholo State Park Reserve — greater Kailua-Kona

*We incorrectly listed the location of Punalu’u Black Sand Beach as Nīnole. Thank you to Tylah808 for bringing that to our attention. The correct location is Pahala.

**Thanks to viewer Robert Whitaker for the following corrections regarding locations. Waipi’o Valley lookout is in Waip’io, not Honoka’a (we used it as the nearest town as a point of geographic reference). Kiholo State Park is not in Kamuela, but in greater Kailua-Kona area. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is not in Ninole, but Pahala*

***Apologies for the misspelling of Kamekameha.

🎧We recommend downloading The GyPSy Audio Guide if you end up driving around the island (

🌋Due to the volcanic eruptions on May 2018, check for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park attractions statuses and closures

💻It was helpful to know the status of Parks & Beaches in Hawaii we intended to visit so check out the Hawaii Division of State Parks website.

⚠️For Waip’io Valley and Mauna Kea Summit road trips make sure to check your rental car agreements. If you do drive down to the Valley or up to the Summit cars with 4X4 are encouraged.


We hope the itinerary lists and tips are helpful!

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Hawaii Island Climate Zones graphic adapted from GoHawaii.com via source:
Original Koppen Classification System, Hawaii Magazine, May/June 2015.


  1. My 3 days consisted of exploring the southern coasts black sand beaches, including Punalu'u beach, swimming with manta rays north of Kona, catching the sunrise at Paradise Cliffs then the day seeing different falls on the east side, including Akaka, driving down into Waipi'o Valley(the Jeep Gladiator we rented was an absolute must to do everything we wanted to do) seeing Hiilawe Falls, retreating back to Hilo before going to Mauna Kea for sunset and stargazing that night(Milky Way band was visible to the eye), then snorkeling at Hilo the next morning and touring the south side of the island again to see the southernmost point, then driving the Jeep to Papakolea green sand beach before trying to make it back to Volcanoes Natl park.

    I made that all one sentence because that's how it was…go, go go. Like you, I often do my trips cramming as much as I can to see all I can see. Then I try to go back with more time later. This trip was a chunk of a week on the Big Island, 2 days in Oahu and then flying to Anchorage for 8 busy days in Alaska…

  2. Just left the Big Island, stayed at the Royal Kona Resort in Kailua Kona…..by far my favorite island. Sunsets are insanely beautiful, uniquely gorgeous beaches, lots of hiking activities, caves to explore, great food. There's so much to do. Blessed to be able to visit Hawaii…magical place. Aloha.

  3. Hey guys,, we are doing quarenta in Aruba , beautiful an friendly couple thank for the tips , we love good food we will definitely go those places

  4. Awesome itinerary to squeeze into 3 days! We are going to try some of these while our stay on the big island for 6 months 🙂

  5. under the body tree -great place you need 50 bucks to eat here min. I loved the menu but was hungry after!

  6. Thanks guys. I loved the series. I'm leaving for Oahu, Hawai'i and Kauai on Saturday. Definitely going to incorporate some of your recommendations

  7. My husband and I came to the Big Island for the first time in 2017. We stayed for 11 days. The two things we said to each other on the day we flew back to Seattle were, “11 days was not enough” and “When do we get to come back for a second trip?” We just fell in love with the island. Maui, Kauai and Oahu are great, but BI is special. ❤️❤️ We just booked our 2nd trip for 16 days this time and cannot wait. 😁 Great video!

  8. Woooow!…anyway you guys could get me a Hawaii tie-die tshirt??I can send you an address..maybe even from one of your next tours??I would love to “advertise” your tours who knows, might even get funding or sponser you guys’d tours

  9. I know its been two years since you posted this, but wondering if you have any recommendations on where to see the lava flows in Volcano national park.

  10. I lived back in the very back of Waipio for a couple months, just living off the abundance of nature there. I get the feeling you can't just do that anymore, but it's even more beautiful as you get back into the valley, including a triple 1,000' waterfall dropping into a lush, swimable pool that feeds the river running through the middle of the valley. I've been all over this country, and that's probably the most beautiful spot I can think of. Visually, it may have some competition, but the climate clinches it for me.

  11. Probably the most disorganized video guide to the Big Island. If you were staying in Kona, then do Kohala first then Hilo side (logic says you did since you flew into Kona). Then your guide had back and forth from Kona side to Kona side. You went to Moana Kea so you did the saddle Road, use that to cross over and then go to Hawi/Waipio/Kamuela. Do the southern the next day. Pretty good pronunciations, only butchered a few locations.

  12. "Explore"…you don't know the meaning of the word if you think you can explore The Big Island in 3 days: glance at, perhaps, but explore not!

  13. I love how you two had a great time on my Island, I've been here for 55 years, seen a lot of changes. I was sales manager of a local radio station Kbig (KKBG) and that tour. My Mom is from here and I still have family here on my moms side. Keep up the good work, Aloha Nui Loa.

  14. Just to add on for those visiting Hilo the Cafe Pesto is AMAZING! I am a long time resident of the Big Island.

  15. Yup others have said it, but the plant is Mullen. You can find it at high elevations. We pick it, dry it, and use it for tea. Good for both the lungs, And is an natural pain remedy. My dad drinks it to keep his back pain in check.

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