So you’re headed to Hawaii and want to save some money. “Hey,” you may suggest, “maybe we can save cash for more Mai Tais if we simply don’t rent a car!” But… hold your seahorses, buster, and listen up.
You see, the Big Island of Hawaii is comprised of vastly differing nooks and crannies, each of which is nearly impenetrable without a car. And public transport? Not gonna happen. Check out all the parts of the island you will be ignorant of without your own wheels…
On the section of Hawaii’s Big Island by Kona (site of our epic Hawaii Babymoon) you will find the “Sunny Side of the Island.” Rain is rare, hotels kiss the beaches, and tourists flock. Sure, you COULD just stay in one hotel in Kona with an airport shuttle and walk to restaurants around it, but you’d miss out on awesome other sections of the island.
For example, the middle of the Big Island consists of VOLCANOS! In addition to Hawaii Volcanoes State Park, we delighted in (caution: dramatic name coming) Lava Tree State Park. No, unfortunately these trees do not spew orange molten rock, but they look a-maaaazing.
Once you pass the volcano section of the Big Island, you reach the Hilo area, otherwise known as the “Rainy Side of the Island.” It mists or rains constantly in Hilo, making it one of the wettest places on Earth, but also causing lush greenery and jungle-licious-ness. The lovely waterfall in the first photo of this article is a result of all this sky water. The waterfall is also only accessible via a rutted 15- minute drive up a mountain, making us glad for our car!
Bottom line: You miss out on a world of opportunities on Hawaii’s Big Island unless you rent a car and explore! Now, what other places on Earth would YOU point out as mandatory car zones?
Our shiny silver car was generously provided by CarRentals.co.uk but all opinions, Lava Tree ogling, and pregnant belly squeezing are my own.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!