Depending on where they're staying, most visitors either fly into Keahole Airport on the Kona coast or Hilo Airport in the city of Hilo. It is common to rent a car at the airport because it's the easiest way to get around. Taxis and shuttles are also available.

Flight Times To The Big Island

  • From San Francisco: 5 hours, 20 minutes
  • From Los Angeles: 4 hours, 20 minutes
  • From Chicago: 9 hours
  • From New York: 11 hours

Local Time

The Big Island is on Hawaiian Standard Time, two hours earlier than the West Coast (Pacific Standard Time),and five hours earlier than the East Coast (Eastern Standard Time). Unlike the rest of the U.S., the Hawaiian Islands do not observe Daylight Savings Time. That means that during the summer months, the Big Island is three hours earlier than Pacific Daylight Time and six hours earlier than Eastern Daylight Time.

Getting Around

Most visitors rent cars, but there is a county public bus with limited service and you can also rent bikes and scooters.


Both Hawaiian and English are spoken on the Big Island. Take a look at this language guide to learn a few phrases in Hawaiian.

Tourist Information

Both airports have tourist information booths. The two Hawaii Visitors Bureau offices are located in Hilo and Kona. Both are closed on weekends. If you wish to have an informational packet sent to you before you leave, call 800-648-BIG1.

What To Bring

Travelers to Hawaii should pack light cotton clothes, a bathing suit, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen. The majority of people on the Big Island dress casually, although the island does have a few upscale restaurants and nightclubs where a jacket or skirt wouldn't seem out of place. Sandals or bare feet are the norm, but if you are planning on doing any hiking or on visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, bring hiking boots and a warm layer of clothes.

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