Kalapana is a wonder to view. This is where the volcano took out a subdivision in 1990. One road ends at a ranger station saying no traffic only walking to the vents. This is the road the locals who still live there, with no water or electricity use. The next road farther down ends at a Hawaiian rest stop. They have made a path of red crushed rock that takes you through a newly planted coconut grove to a forming black beach. You can see the steam from the vents in the distance. For me this was a highlight.
Hilo is a smaller laid back town along the water & a great relaxing stroll.
Lanakai Beach is soft white sand, turtles & snorkeling. Kailua Beach is where to rent kayaks & paddle to the islands.
The International Market a fun outdoor market with tons of touristy shops & it also has Puka Dogs! Waikiki has beaches & parks all along the one side & shops or restaurants along the other. Paradise Cove Luau is a very pretty location with an amazing sunset.
This time we did the drive from the Port to Kee Beach the farthest one can drive north. The short .25 mile hike was well worth the view of the beach. Swimming here is good but not the snorkeling.
Beaches were all along the way with charming one lane bridges. One bridge even has a corner in it. My favourite Beach was Lumahai.The swimmable stream flowing into the ocean & the sand that never stops makes this perfect!
Poipu Beach to the south is great for snorkeling or swimming.
Kona for me is the coffee plantations, St. Benedict's Painted Church, Ali Dr markets, snorkeling at Puuhonua Honaunau National Park & at Kahaluu Beach Park. Car rentals & driving here is no problem.
Day 1 we did the Road to Hana & found it a pleasant drive. Pick & choose your stops as you can't do everything the guide books recommend. My list would definitely include a stop at Pia for the lunch basket, Keanae is a favourite as was Waianapanapa State Park. You can lunch here, swim at a black sand beach, there is a sea arch, a cemetery or take a hike or 2. An amazing place.Oheo Gulch National Park was another #1 for us. Waterfalls included the 3 bears, Waiilua & Kipahulu.These are dependant on the amount of rainfall as to their beauty..
Lahina was some shopping in a cute walkable seaside town & a visit to Bubba Gumps which is right on the water. Also a stop Po'olenalena Beach in the south...no crowds here! Kanapali beaches in the north are busier but nice & Whaler's Village is an assortment of outdoor upscale shopping & restaurants fronted on a beach.
For visitors there is so much to see & do from the famous Stanley Park, Gas Town to Cloud Nine Restaurant & shopping on Robson St. Transit includes buses, skytrain,water taxi & good old fashion walking.