ALOHA!

 

So you DO need to rent a car in order to do some of the BEST things to do on the Big Island. (Either that, or you need to book a tour.)

 

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

But do you specifically need a FOUR WHEEL DRIVE or a jeep rental in order to do the BEST things on the Big Island?

 

jeep 4wd big island rental car. Do you need a 4wd jeep in Hawaii, on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

The short answer is no, you don’t.

Well, I guess if you want to drive to the Mauna Kea summit, it is officially said that a “4-wheel drive vehicle is required” to drive past the Maunakea Visitor Information Station, although there are reports of tourists driving up in a normal car.

But aside from this, there are some things that you may WANT to do that DO require a 4wd. 

 

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

 

More below about specific scenic drives on the Big Island where you need a 4wd!

 

 

 🌴

 

 

 

And so…

Do YOU need a Jeep rental on the Big Island?

Here’s the list!

Drives where you NEED a 4-wheel-drive on the Big Island

jeep 4wd big island rental car. Do you need a 4wd jeep in Hawaii, on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

 

1. You need a 4wd if you want to drive to Makalawena Beach

Do you need a jeep in kona getting to makalawena beach. kailua kona car rental. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to makalawena beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to makalawena beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to makalawena beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to makalawena beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

 

 

But… you actually DON’T need a 4wd to GO to Makalawena Beach. Because you can HIKE there instead!

 

Do you need a 4wd in kona getting to makalawena beach. drive or hike. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd in kona getting to makalawena beach. drive or hike. big island hawaii travel blog

 

Doesn’t walking across old lava flows to get to a beach sound like a great unique Hawaii experience?! 😉

Well, disclaimer, most people drive to Mahaiula Beach in order to hike to Makalawena Beach. You will need to also decide if you consider Mahaiula Beach drivable. A bit on that below. Otherwise, hiking from near Kua Bay is also an option, although it’s a very long hike. You’ll hike from the Puu Kuili hill to Makalawena Beach. This is all within Kekaha Kai State Park.

See your options:

 

 

2. You need a 4wd if you want to drive to the green sand beach

Do you need a jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. car rental for kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. car rental for kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to green sand beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

 

But… you actually DON’T need a 4wd to GO to the green sand beach. Because again… you can HIKE there instead! You will be hiking the same road as the driving.

 

Do you need a 4wd on the big island getting to green sand beach. drive or hike. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

 

See your options:

 

 

3. You need a 4wd if you want to drive to the Waipio Valley beach

Do you need a jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. car rental for kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

 

But… you actually DON’T need a 4wd to GO to the Waipio Valley beach. Because… you guessed it… you can HIKE there instead too!! And you are again hiking on the same road that you would drive.

 

Do you need a 4wd on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. drive or hike. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. drive or hike. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

 

You can also just visit for the Waipio Valley lookout which doesn’t require a 4wd or hiking.

 

Do you need a 4wd on the big island getting to waipio valley beach. drive or overlook. kona day trip. hawaii travel blog

 

 

See your options:

 

 

PLUS…

You might want a jeep to drive to Mahaiula Beach

Do you need a jeep in kona getting to mahaiula beach. kailua kona car rental. big island hawaii travel blog

 

The road to Mahaiula Beach is a little rough and can feel like an off-road drive. Having a little extra clearance might make you feel more comfortable.

But people do drive it in regular cars. It will be a bumpy ride.

There’s not really an option to hike to this beach unless you don’t mind a really long hike.

So Mahaiula Beach is a beach most people would say you need to drive to. Whether you need a 4-wheel drive… well that might depend on your tolerance.

Mahaiula Beach is the starting point for the hike to Makalawena Beach.

 

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to mahaiula beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to mahaiula beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to mahaiula beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep in kona getting to mahaiula beach. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. big island hawaii travel blog

 

See more: Drive to Mahaiula Beach

 

In the case that you’d rather not drive to Mahaiula Beach, Kua Bay is a great alternative beach with a paved road to drive! And a scenic drive, too. Both beaches are a part of Kekaha Kai State Park

 

Do you need a jeep in kona getting to kua bay. kailua kona car rental. big island hawaii travel blog

Do you need a jeep in kona getting to kua bay beach. kailua kona car rental. big island hawaii travel blog

 

 

So these are the most popular activities on the Big Island that you’ll find people requiring a 4wd

You can do these things even without a 4wd if you don’t mind hiking.

And if you don’t want to rent a 4wd and you don’t want to hike… well there are plenty more things to do on the Big Island too!! Here are ideas for 7 days on the Big Island… sticking to regular roads or hiking!

So, you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out even if you don’t rent a 4wd. 

All that said…

It sure can seem like a ton of people rent a jeep on the Big Island. You will likely see a lot of jeeps when you are driving around.

 

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

So if you have even an inkling of wanting one, well, maybe you’re better off renting a jeep! You don’t want to end up with regrets when you’re there. You can also just rent a jeep for a day or 2 and a regular car the rest of the time.

 

 

Cost of gas

Do you need a jeep on the big island. cost of gas on the big island, in kona. big island hawaii travel blog

 

This may also be something to consider. The cost of gas will likely be (much) more than what you’re used to back home.

 

Do you need a jeep on the big island. cost of gas on the big island, in kona. big island hawaii travel blog

 

$4.50 a gallon for gas?! Well, this was in an even more expensive area for gas on the Big Island. (Near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.) For comparison, when it was $4.50 here, gas was listed in Kona as an average of around $3.80 a gallon, and the U.S. national average was listed around $2.70. 

 

 

And… the necessary disclaimer… 😜

When you are renting a car, make sure you are aware of what roads are acceptable to drive with your rental car, no matter what… etc etc.  Some or all of the roads mentioned above may technically be “off limits” or may officially be roads in which car rental companies may say you’re on your own if something happens to your car. And of course, you want to limit your risk so you don’t damage your rental car!

If you are hiking, be sure to bring WATER and SNACKS. Remember, Hawaii is HOT and these things are even more important when hiking in hot weather. See more about hiking essentials for Hawaii.

 

 

Where to rent a car (Big Island airports)

The main Big Island airport is Kona airport (KOA), and this is where most people fly into, and it’s probably where you’ll find the best car rental prices.

There is also an airport in Hilo (ITO), and you can find car rental companies around here too.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Renting a car on the Big Island in 2021

As of spring 2021, there are reports of there being a car rental shortage on the Big Island.

If you’re planning your trip to the Big Island for later in the year, then you might consider looking up availability for a car rental FIRST before you book your flight to Kona.

And book your car sooner rather than later!

If you already have your flight to Kona booked, but not yet your car rental… book NOW!

 

 

Do you need a 4wd jeep on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

HAPPY DRIVING AROUND THE BIG ISLAND!

 

jeep 4wd big island rental car. Do you need a 4wd jeep in Hawaii, on the big island, in kona. 4x4. 4 wheel drive. kona hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
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The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Kona!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
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Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Big Island:


ALOHA!