Expert Advice

Reminiscing on Our Fourth of July Big Island Vacation

Discover why one Owner can't get enough of Big Island vacations with Hilton Grand Vacations

Laurie L
Goregous image, Suite balconies overlooking Palm trees and pool with waterfall, Kings' Land, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Big Island, Hawaii.

We spent last Fourth of July in Hawaii. It's a decision that took us about 10 seconds to make. I asked my partner where he wanted to go, and he said Hawaii. I countered him — we were already booked in October for our annual trip. His response? "So, let's go twice," he said.  And that's all it took. 

We'd never been to Hawaii in July and booking three or four months out was a bit short notice for us, but I had a feeling that our good old standby on the Big Island would be available. I was right; we were able to get in at Kings' Land, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, in a 2-Bedroom Suite. 

Idyllic tropical pool, volley ball net, Palm trees, blue skies, Kings' Land, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Big Island, Hawaii.    

Vacation in Style at Kings’ Land

In truth, I shouldn't use the term "old standby" when talking about Kings' Land. I wouldn't want to imply that it's anything less than remarkable.

If you're interested in a resort with a great pool (and who isn't?), then Kings' Land is a must-visit resort. 

Kings' Land is number one on my great Hilton Grand Vacations pools scale. Besides having the best pool, Owners and Guests also get access to other nearby pools, such as Ocean Tower, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club

Things To Do on the Big Island

Visit Volcanoes National Park

The last time we were in Hawaii was after the Kilauea volcano erupted. With Kilauea erupting, a good portion of Volcanoes National Park was inaccessible, but much to our surprise, a substantial part of the park had opened once again. 

Hilton Grand Vacations Owners posing in lava tube on Big Island vacation, Hawaii.    

Having more access to the park was a great treat for us. Although the Jagger Museum is closed, they allowed us right up to the edge of the crater, and we could see what the lava had done since the last time we were allowed there. Another surprise was that they let us into the lava tube.

In my opinion, the lava tube is a must-see, and it's not a confined space as one might think.  

Discover the Newest Land in the United States

We also drove to the lowest point in the United States. If you remember an earlier blog post, I talked about going to the lowest point of the continental United States while visiting Key West. It was fun to see both in one year. 

The Big Island is also now home to the newest land in the world. Yes, I said world. We stopped by the Concierge to see what was new on the island. Even though we go every year, there's always something new and exciting to do on the Big Island

Beautiful black sand beach, Big Island, Hawaii.    

They recommended driving and seeing the newest land. It seemed a little odd, and I questioned how close we would be able to drive to it. But we went, and it did not disappoint. We could drive within yards of the ocean on the new lava-formed blacktop.

Kayak, Snorkel and Explore

Of course, we also went to waterfalls, saw a black sand beach with turtles, kayaked, and snorkeled. Those are the usual things that we do and why we enjoy coming back every year. It might sound like these are just everyday things, but for us and they aren't.

We have the time of our life doing these extraordinary things.  

Adventure Your Way to Papakolea Green Sand Beach

We decided to try one more thing that we had never done: see the Papakolea Green Sand Beach. The Concierge always recommended it, but we just never did it. Someday we'll learn our lesson and just listen. 

There are only four green sand beaches in the world, and to see one on the Big Island, we had two choices. We could walk almost 3 miles each way or hire one of the locals to give us a ride for $10 each way. 

Point of view image of rugged road leading to Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii.    

We decided to let the locals do the driving. Now that I have been to the Green Band beach and let a local drive us there, I can safely say, "do not drive there yourself." Even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Of course, the ride to the beach was a big part of the fun.

Still, it's not worth the insurance issues you'd have if you drove somewhere that you shouldn't have with a rental vehicle and had a minor accident. 

Now that I've shared my disclaimer, let's get back to the Green Sand Beach. The beach is beautiful. It was worth the drive, and we'll be coming back every year we go to the Big Island. Admittedly, I was looking forward to the drive back as much as I looked forward to the drive there— what a wonderful excursion. 

Big Island Travel Tips 

I usually recommend doing your own excursions versus paying an excursion company for a certain time and place. It's easier for us because we never know how long we want to stay somewhere, which allows us to be flexible. However, I am not saying there aren't excursions worth the price

Our first time in Hawaii, that's all we did, and it helped us get the lay of the land. We go to Hawaii so often now that we know the best things to do, and saving a little money never hurts.

Lastly, I can't forget to mention that the Big Island is one of my favorite islands for driving. A car is a must on this island, and you shouldn't be afraid to take off and drive. There are beautiful things to see right from your vehicle. There are just as many things to see if you want to pull over to hike a little, too

All this talk about Hawaii has me ready to go back already, and luckily there are so many Hilton Grand Vacations Hawaii resorts from which to choose. 

Read “The Reviews Are In, and Kings’ Land, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Wins a TripAdvisor 2021 Travelers’ Choice Award” for more Big Island vacation inspiration.

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Hilton Grand Vacations Explorer, Laurie L.

Laurie L

As an Elite Owner, Laurie has a home-away-from-home at Elara byHilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Grand Vacations on the Boulevard and Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations. She joined in 2013 and says vacations are among the most important things in her life and a big part of her retirement plans. She enjoys traveling with her significant other and friends and is happiest with a bit of adventure (think: helicopter tours and biking trips). 


However, her favorite travel memory is touring an olive oil farm and winery while staying at Hilton Grand Vacations at Borgo alle Vigne in Italy. As a traveler who loves a good deal even more than travel itself, she's your go-to for tips on planning unforgettable trips that won't break the bank. 

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