The Big Island is known for the contrast between the luxurious, tourist-heavy resort areas and undeveloped swaths of land in-between, the retail opportunities on the Big Island are largely focused around two locations: Kailua-Kona and Hilo.
While the brand-name establishments you’ve come to know and love are likely found only in Kailua-Kona, those looking for an authentic and uniquely Hawaiian shopping experience will find stores, shops, and boutiques perfectly suited to your tastes throughout the following rural communities.
The largest town on the Big Island’s northern point, this tiny oceanside island town has plenty of galleries, boutiques, and gift shops to enjoy before or after your northern Big Island adventures. A former sugar plantation town that once boasted four movie theaters, an afternoon spent in Hawi provides insight into history, ancient Hawaiian culture, and plenty of opportunity to see some of the finest artwork available on the Big Island.
A rolling, sleepy mountain town located in the shadow of Mauna Kea and the Pu’u O Umi Natural Area Reserve, Waimea is appropriately filled with incredible restaurants, farmers markets, and natural food stores that source much of their products from local farms and ranches. With the added bonuses of an incredible art gallery scene, a lazy afternoon spent browsing throughout the town’s excellent shops makes for a beautiful and rewarding experience.
Located a short distance south of Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook is known for its historical significance, agriculture, and amazing snorkeling. But if you’re trying for a more casual experience to spend an afternoon in Captain Cook, there are plenty of small, local shops and galleries that provide enough interesting tidbits to keep you strolling with a cup of coffee in hand. Speaking of coffee – if you’re interested in it, the area surrounding Captain Cook is one of the finest coffee producers in the world, making any stop in the region one that deserves some extra caffeine.