Several years ago we rewarded our mortgage team with a group trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Our team, the Wynn & Eagan Team, had hit a production goal after helping hundreds of families finance homes the year before. As a reward we decided we would take the entire team on an unforgettable trip to Hawaii.
Taking a group trip to Hawaii can be challenging due to the various activities people may want to do while on the Big Island. Finding a rental home that can accommodate multiple couples can be challenging. The Kohala Coast just north of Kona has some expansive real estate with conveniences to beaches, ziplining and to Kona that makes it a great location for groups visiting Hawaii.
Our group trip to Hawaii consisted of two groups. The first group was made up of 3 couples and two individuals. The second group had 3 couples and two individuals. We’ll share our experience about taking a group trip to Hawaii including where we stayed, why we chose the Kohala coast and what people did while they were here.
Why We Chose the Big Island for Our Group Trip to Hawaii
The name of our site is Calling Kona Home, which means we love Kona which is on the Big Island. So, you can imagine when we were looking for a place to go on our group trip Hawaii was at the top of the list. We had not yet moved to Kona but the Big Island was always our favorite island.
After visiting all of the major islands (Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii) we fell in love with Hawaii for many reasons but here are the top reasons:
- The Aloha – people are just darn friendly
- The Size – it’s called the Big Island for a reason
- The Variety – whether you want to relax or go go go you’re covered
- The Traffic – or lack thereof…despite being the biggest island it’s the least populated
We loved it so much and wanted to give our mortgage team the opportunity to experience the Big Island too!
Where to Stay with a Group on the Big Island
We had a lot of options to choose from when deciding where to stay. The first decision was the west side or the east side.
Those that live in Hilo will tell you that the east side (where Hilo is at) is better than the west side. But those in Kona (on the west) will tell you that the west coast of Hawaii is better. After visiting both sides we focused on the Kona side when picking a location for our rental house. Kona brings less rain and more sunshine and allows for more frequent outdoor activities. And since one of the things on our “must-have” list for our group trip was a pool, we decided to stay on the west coast of the Big Island.
With that settled we needed to decide where on the west coast? Kohala up north? Kona Town near the airport? Or maybe a bit further south near Captain Cook?
After looking around online at vacation rentals we decided that staying on the Kohala Coast would be the best. There were some amazing properties but what drew us to Kohala for our group trip was the home we found to rent. It was a large home with 6 master suites! Perfect for groups and couples. Everyone would have their own room and private bathroom.
Group Activities on Hawaii
When we planned our trip we were focused on providing the group with as much free time as possible. We did not want to dictate what they did day to day. Instead we wanted to be in an area that provided access to as many things as possible within a (somewhat) close proximity.
Kohala Coast was a great location for our group with some great spots not far away including:
- Hapuna Beach – 10 miles away
- Hawi Ziplining – 15 miles away
- Parker Ranch – 15 miles away
- Waipio Valley – less than an hour away
- Kona Airport – less than an hour away
- Hilo – about 1.5 hours away
- Mauna Kea – less than 2 hours away
This provided each person, or couple, the ability to pick what they wanted to do. Some went hiking in Waipio Valley while others went ziplining in Hawi. Others headed further south to go snorkeling at Two Step. But that’s exactly the point of taking a group trip to the Big Island – there are so many different activities depending on their unique preferences.
Group Dining near Kona
Another consideration was dining. There was a nearby restaurant and bar our group found and enjoyed called the Seafood Bar & Grill. Just a few minutes from the rental home it made a great spot to grab some food and enjoy some drinks.
But, to be honest, there aren’t many restaurants to choose from in Kohala. Instead, when we wanted to go out as a group we would head down closer to Kona. And of course, when taking a trip to Hawaii you’ve got to go to a luau.
Our favorite luau spot is the Royal Kona Luau. They have a great show with hula dancers, fire dancers and a full authentic Hawaiian luau buffet. If you choose to go to this luau be aware that reservations should be made in advance (even before you arrive on the island). One of our favorite dishes is the Luau Chicken.
Other than that a few spots that work well for group dining near Kona include:
- Fish Hopper (Kona)
- Fosters Kitchen (Kona)
- Huggo’s on the Rocks (Kona)
- Kona Brewing Co (Kona)
- Lava Lava Beach Club (Waikoloa Village)
- Splasher’s Grill (Kona)
“Living” with a Group Under One Roof
There are some things to think about when having a group of people who aren’t used to co-habitating. I mean think about dinner time, if you’re planning to eat at home. With 2 to 3 other couples and a few individuals who gets access to the stove? And how do you avoid a traffic jam in the kitchen?
What we found worked best is pre-planning some meals together. Agreeing on a menu and a schedule of who’s cooking (if they wanted to be a part of dinners together).
But we also had to think through things like mayo, mustard, ketchup, milk, bread and other groceries that are best purchased as a group. We decided it was best to have everyone contribute close to equal or provide receipts and settle it up equally at the end. We ended up doing a bit of both.
Just some things to think about.
All in all Hawaii, particularly the Big Island is a great place for a group trip. Our team was forever grateful for the opportunity we provided and even prompted one of our team members to open up a side business called Sweet Shack Shave Ice when he returned to Colorado. Everyone still talks about that trip to this day. If you’ve ever had a group trip to Hawaii or are planning one, share your experience or ask your questions in the comments below.