Family surf vacation Hawaii big island??


Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
oceanside ca
Alaska airlines has $218 round trip tickets from San Diego Airtport to Kona airport on the Island of Hawaii. I went there maybe 30 years as a kid to see volcanoes.. never been since, dont remember much.

I dont hear much about the big island. The price is just so good we might pull the trigger.

Can anyone advice on area to stay that is:
Date is last week of March
like a condo / house rental
in beach walking distance ( kid friendly beach)
has snorkeling
has a few decent surf breaks near by ( ideally a longboard 2'-5' style break, nothing treacherous)

And of course any advice on day trips to beaches, hiking, fishing, nature stuff, snorkeling, food, volcanoes... etc.. much apreciated.


Bummer Dude

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2019
Oak View
Hey! My wife's family has a house on the big Island in Puako. With COVID as an exception I've been basically every year since our relationship got serious - like ten years ago now. Honestly, surfing hasn't been a big priority while there for whatever reason, typically just chill on the beach in front of the house, play tennis, snorkel, fish, whale watch and boat (we have a little 16 foot whaler from the seventies). But when its working kawaihae is a fun longboard wave. Banyans is fun, but its a pretty shallow reef, not sure I'd recommend it for kids. I had one fun session at pinetrees as a less risky reef setup.

For surf and things to do (but also more people) you'll probably want to stay somewhere near Kona. Lots of family friendly beaches and snorkeling nearby, though I'm not that familiar. I'm partial to the north Kona Coast (as mentioned family home up there), its drier than a lot of the island - lots of lava flow and semi arid with white and black sand beaches. Hapuna is the big beach in this area - family friendly and good mix of locals and tourists. Hilo is really cool, but my limited impression as an outsider is that it is more of a local zone, plus its rainy.

In terms of other things to do - I'd definitely recommend renting a car and doing a trip around the entire island. Hawaii is one of the most diverse places you'll ever see ecologically speaking - with 8 of the 13 climate zones represented on one small island. You can go from rain forest, to tropical beach, to lava flow desert, to tundra and more in just a day. Volcano national park is astounding - get a drink in the lodge at sunset and watch the lava. They have little simple camp cabins there to rent (basically the same as the ones at paso picacho in Julian), definitely worth it for an overnight. Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Park is amazing if youre at all interested in Hawaiian history. Waipi'o is another highlight for me - just absolutely stunning natural beauty - you'll need to hire a ride to get down or do a big hike as rental car companies won't let you drive the rental down into. So many awesome sights just driving around, just scratching the surface here.

To be honest haven't been that impressed with food overall - but we always go to da poke shack in Kona (right next to banyans) - super delicious poke here. The hot malasadas truck in Puako is another must stop for us too.
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Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2016
Orange County
Actually going the 1st week of April, staying in Kona area for the most part.
Found a condo/apt (2 bed, 2 bath) with kitchen on vrbo. Check there for some cool spots.
Already booked a rental car via Costco.
Not planning on taking a board. Inquired with Kona Town Surf Adventures for rentals: 2 hours for $20. day for $50. $120 for a week. The biggest board they said they have is 9'3.
I've got a wife, two kids (6 and 5), and my mom, so not sure if I'll be surfing much but I do check the surfline cams. Looks like a fun left at Lyman's.
We plan to snorkel a lot, check out the volcanos, and just relax.


Active Member
Jul 21, 2005
Cambridge, MA
I was just there in December. The Kona spots (Pinetrees and south) were usually fun or slightly better. They are all easy to find. You can drive from one to the next until you see something you like. The board rental situation is dismal. If you want anything decent, bring your own. Some of the beaches north of the airport are worth checking out. They have great facilities, each is appealing in its own way.


May 31, 2021
Hey, I’m currently on the big island for a few days. Surfed Lyman’s today was super fun, easy mostly longboard wave. If you go, wear flip flops to get to the paddle out spot.