Flora / Fauna
Discover The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island is geologically the youngest spot on earth—and still growing! Kilauea, on the island’s southern shore, is the world’s most active volcano. This is also an island of incredible geographic diversity with rainforests, lava deserts, gorgeous beaches, and even a snow-covered mountaintop.
At 4,000 square miles, the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands (hence its name as Big), with great open spaces between the settled areas. From luxurious world-class resorts to paniolo (cowboys) on wide, grassy plains, coffee plantations to green sand beaches and sparkling waterfalls to mysterious lava tube caves, there is almost no end to the variety of experience offered by the Big Island of Hawaii.
Big Island: Essential Facts
Learn these Big Island factoids and you will know more than most on your dream Hawaii vacation:
- The Big Island of Hawaii is the the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, at just over one million years old. In fact, the daily lava flow keeps the island growing every day.
- Hawaii is the name of the island as well as the state. To reduce confusion, the island Hawaii is referred to as the "Big Island."
- The world's most active volcano, Kilauea, is on the Big Island.
- Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984, is the most massive mountain on earth and consists of 10,000 cubic miles of rock, and is 13,677 feet high.
- The Big Island is 4,038 square miles (and still growing). All the other Hawaiian Islands could fit inside the Big Island with room left over.
- From the southern tip to the northern tip the distance is 95 miles. From east to west it is 80 miles.
- In the 1850s, John Palmer Parker and his Hawaiian princess wife amassed land to form Parker Ranch, which today sprawls 225,000 acres and is two-thirds the size of the island of Oahu.
- In 1946, a 56-foot tsunami hit the east side of the island.
- In 1981, the Ironman Triathlon moved from Oahu to Kona.
- The Big Island has the most diverse weather of any Hawaiian Island, including tropical, monsoonal, desert, and permafrost.
- Just below the summit of Mauna Kea, inside a cinder cone, is Lake Waiau, the only glacial lake in the mid-Pacific. At 13,020 feet above sea level, it is also one of the highest lakes in the world.
- Hawaii Standard Time is in effect year-round. There is no daylight savings time. Hawaii is 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time and 5 hours behind Eastern Standard Time. When daylight savings time is in effect on the mainland, Hawaii is 3 hours behind the West Coast and 6 hours behind the East Coast.