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Long story but my dad and his wife are renting a house on Hawaii for 6 weeks and invited me to join them in September. I really need to see my dad due to some family issues but it's THE WORST time for me to take a vacation. So, I only have 5 non-travel days on the island.

I've never been there before so am wondering what to do besides see the volcano. I am a ukulele player so I would like to catch some of that and slack key guitar. Any tips on good snorkeling?
 

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Been a while (decades) since I was there, but snorkeling was good in several places. Out by Cook's monument and the City of Refuge are two I remember. I found this.

City of Refuge Snorkeling Secrets! The Complete Guide to Big Island Snorkeling!

I was also able to rent a road bike and ride a little. We stayed two weeks and camped most of it. The national park was nice. Lot's to do on the Big Island. Too much to see in only 5 non travel days.
 

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The Hamakua Coast north of Hilo is one of my favorite spots on the Big Island. If you head a bit further north, the Waipio Valley lookout is just beautiful.
 

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Darling of The Lounge
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A drive over to Kona from Hilo would be nice. Every time I visit, I make sure to stop by Ken's House of Pancakes to order a stack of macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup and a side of Portuguese sausage.

Too bad you're not going in April during the Merrie Monarch festival. Great music and traditional hula at its best.
 

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A drive over to Kona from Hilo would be nice. Every time I visit, I make sure to stop by Ken's House of Pancakes to order a stack of macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup and a side of Portuguese sausage.

Too bad you're not going in April during the Merrie Monarch festival. Great music and traditional hula at its best.
Hey, I love Ken's House of Pancakes.
 

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kona coffee tasting. a few of the coffee plantations sell on site, drink on site

helicopter over the active Kileua and lava flows right to the sea

Four Seasons for a drink on their very posh beachfront

hike down to the black sand beach in the Pololu valley
 

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Long story but my dad and his wife are renting a house on Hawaii for 6 weeks and invited me to join them in September. I really need to see my dad due to some family issues but it's THE WORST time for me to take a vacation. So, I only have 5 non-travel days on the island.

I've never been there before so am wondering what to do besides see the volcano. I am a ukulele player so I would like to catch some of that and slack key guitar. Any tips on good snorkeling?
use a kayak company which goes out to the Capt. Cook site. snorkeling is pretty good.
There's only one uke shop in Kona I could find with any stock....another in Hilo which has a lot more varieties.
Drive around the island. Check out the lava flow around Pahoa if you can, but respect the locals neighborhoods. Volcano NP is nice..spend some time, drive out to the coast at the road's end. Some nice historical hikes along the road out there.
Green sands beach...not really worth the walk. It can be crowded.
Find the local markets if you can.
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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Rent a Jeep. Then you can drive down into Waipio Valley, which is a miraculous place. And you can drive on some dirt trails down by South Point. We spent a day doing the latter, and it was one of the best days of my life.
 

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I can relate, Dir-t. My wife and I were supposed to travel to the Big Island this year for a small family reunion, but ended up cancelling because of my work.
This is a timely thread though, since we hope to make it next year.
 

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Sorry, but Ken's House of Pancakes gets a "No" from me. I was born and raised in Hilo and used to go there in the 70's. It's not what it used to be. It's crowded, parking during breakfast hours is impossible, and the food has gotten gross and greasy. Instead, go to Kuhio Grille or Hawaiian Style Cafe.

Wanna try some opihi handrolls? Go to Sweet Thunder Local Fusion Sushi.

Moon and Turtle is good for pan asian cuisine and the New Chiang Mai Thai restaurant on Kalakaua Ave is good.

Be sure to check out the Hilo Farmers Market and walk around downtown Hilo. Check out the Buddist temples in town - Taishoji Soto Mission and the Honganji.

Snorkeling is good on the Kona Side. Try Kaloko Beach Park, just north of Kona. I can't recommend very much on the Kona side. A lot of haoles have moved there and it's lost a lot of it's local flavor. .

Have a great time.
 
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