Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
The Big Island generally isn’t about luaus and honeymoon resorts, but it is ideal for visiting two of the world’s most active volcanoes, fishing, snorkeling, and wildlife watching. The visibility of the water here is fantastic, and there are lots of opportunities to spot honu, Hawaiian sea turtles while humpback whales can often be seen in the winter. The land is diverse and unique with everything from snow-covered peaks to black sand beaches, lush rainforest, and lava deserts. When it comes to places to stay, you’ll have some outstanding rentals to choose from no matter what you decide to explore.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
If you’re looking for a tranquil setting within walking distance of Waipio Valley and a short drive from historic Honokaʻa, this rental for two can be your magical oasis. A remodeled 1930s plantation home, it sits on a private, fenced, 1/3 acre and includes a hot tub with views by day including the endless expanse of the ocean and incredible stargazing after dark. In the winter, you might even see whales breach just offshore. The interior is homey and filled with Zen decor. It includes the original hardwood floors and all the modern comforts, while French doors from the bedroom and living room open up to a large deck with comfy furniture.
This romantic rental is just 10 miles from Volcano National Park. An off-grid bamboo treehouse, it’s tucked among a canopy of trees in a secluded location with 360-degree views of the lush greenery. It boasts a hanging bed on the ground level in a bedroom with large windows and glass doors for lots of natural light, along with a kitchenette that has a coffee maker, sink, and cooler for storing your food and drinks. There’s a natural rainwater shower, while electricity is generated by sunlight.
A unique two-bedroom home that can accommodate up to six, Kehena Point House sits on a lava cliff that juts out into the ocean further than the cliffs on either side, providing incredible views of the coast in either direction. Watch for whales in season with a perfect vantage point from the upper lanai which is also fabulous for sunbathing and stargazing. All rooms in the house boast windows with sweeping views of the Pacific, while a black sand beach is just a short walk away. You won’t have to give up modern comforts either, with Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, and TV.
Located in the Kona area, just 15 minutes from the airport, this cottage offers a peaceful getaway for two close to many attractions, including shops, restaurants, golf courses, and beaches. If you aren’t sure what to do, the host was born and raised right here and will be happy to provide plenty of insider tips. The home itself features ohia hardwood floors, open beam wood ceilings, and a mahogany and granite kitchen, with a lanai that provides the perfect place to surround yourself with picturesque views while relaxing.
Only five minutes from Volcano National Park, this studio space for up to four is ideal for a small family, a couple, or a solo traveler. It’s tucked into a forest of ʻōhiʻa trees and has 14′ high floor-to-ceiling windows that will immerse you in the outdoors. The fabulous outdoor living space includes a private lanai that has lounge chairs and a soothing hot tub. Only steps away is a fire pit that turns on with the flip of a switch. A “warm and welcoming gem,” inside you’ll have a full kitchen, 55″ 4K TV with Bose Bluetooth speakers, and a washer/dryer.
This custom Polynesian-designed home is located in the last fishing village 33 miles south of Kailua-Kona in rural Milolii on an ancient lava flow. Here you’ll be right at sea level along the oceanfront. It offers two bedrooms for up to four, with the water so close it sprays above the deck. You’ll be able to hear the whales before you see them in season and anytime lookout to possibly spot spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, and the occasional manta ray. With sliding glass doors and large picture windows throughout, there are ocean views from many vantage points. In addition to the essentials, kayaks and snorkel gear are provided free for guests along with a George Foreman grill.
Located on an organic coffee hobby farm, this two-person cabin has more of a glamping, tiny house feels with screens instead of windows for an immersed-in-nature experience and amazing views. The bedroom is upstairs and offers a gorgeous infinity sea/skyline view, sunset watching, and stargazing, with the living room and bathroom are downstairs. No kitchen is included but you will have an outdoor grill and sink along with snorkel gear and items for a day at the beach.
This cheery yellow cottage literally brings the sunshine in while facing the ocean for picturesque views and a Hawaiian rainforest feel. You’ll be just a 5-minute walk to the black sands of Kehena beach and great snorkeling nearby at Shipman’s Bay. Volcanoes National Park, Akaka and Rainbow Falls, and Waipio Valley are all within driving distance. It includes a king-size bed with an en-suite bath and a full kitchenette.
Ideal for a large group, with four bedrooms accommodating up to 10, this beautiful home is right across the street from Kona’s best snorkeling and surfing spot, Kahalu’u Beach. In the backyard, you’ll enjoy breathtaking ocean views and a hot tub ideal for soaking after a day of play. There’s a private enclosed outdoor shower and an open shower on the patio overlooking the bay. In the garage, you’ll find boogie boards, umbrellas, beach mats, beach chairs, and snorkeling equipment. Other notable features include a 42″ flat-screen TV with streaming Spectrum TV and a high-end kitchen.
As the name belies, this romantic treehouse is nestled in the rainforest, just minutes from Volcanoes National Park. The setting itself is park-like and includes both a top-level lanai and a covered outdoor lounge. You’ll have a kitchen, a large bathroom, Wi-Fi, electricity, and hot water in a space with tropical decor, floor-to-ceiling windows, pristine hardwood floors, and a hanging rattan chair for peaceful contemplation.
The “Tree Fern Escape” is a charming home that sleeps six in three bedrooms, including an extra-spacious master bedroom with lots of windows, serene garden views, and a private lanai. You’ll be just minutes from Volcanoes National Park and opportunities for a close-up look at lava flows while enjoying all the creature comforts. Other highlights include hardwood floors and a large private backyard surrounded by tropical foliage, a spacious covered lanai for alfresco dining and relaxing, free Wi-Fi, a 50″ flat-screen TV, and a washer/dryer.
Set deep in the rainforest, this Japanese country-style home is ideal for couples looking for seclusion and an intimate space for connecting or reconnecting. The romantic hexagon cedar sanctuary is surrounded by lush tree ferns and boasts a private bathhouse with an outdoor shower and handcrafted o’furo (traditional Japanese hot tub). Enjoy the views from floor-to-ceiling windows, the ambiance of a gas fireplace, and even a complimentary private breakfast provided the night before so you can sleep in as long as you’d like.
This romantic cliffside home for two comes with its own solar-heated pool where you can swim or relax while gazing out at the vast expanse of the Pacific, watching for spinner whales and dolphins in season. It has a viewing area on the cliff for sunset watching, a wrap-around lanai, an outdoor shower, and all the other necessities. Enjoy great stereo system acoustics, inside or out by the pool. There are Smart TVs with satellite channels, a Blu-ray player, and Wi-Fi too.
Located on a gated 5-acre estate within a 20-minute drive of Waipio Valley, this one-bedroom guest house offers plenty of privacy and all the amenities you need for an unforgettable escape. You’ll have your own private lanai, gas grill, and outdoor fire pit, along with a full kitchen that has a K-cup coffee maker, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV with cable.
Enjoy a front-row seat for all the action in a unique home that sits right on cooled lava, often within walking distance to active lava flows. You’ll have a head start over everyone else as the cabin lies just past the main gate where visitors have to park, cutting off about two miles from the trek. The one-bedroom for four is solar-powered and comes with free high-speed wireless Internet, a propane dual burner cooktop, French press for coffee, cookware, and utensils, plus an open-air/outdoor propane heated hot shower.