Why waste your time and money at an impersonal resort when you can experience Hawaii like a local at a bed-and-breakfast, and for half the price?
Many visitors to Hawaii end up at pricey, indifferent, chain-owned megaresorts simply because they don't realize that Hawaii is filled with scores of reasonably priced B&Bs. Big resorts may have lots of amenities and flashy trappings, but those who yearn to experience the "real" Hawaii of quiet gardens, rural landscapes, and hospitable residents are never assured of finding those elements in a large hotel. What's more, bed-and-breakfasts are much, much cheaper than Hawaii's mainstream hotels (as you'll discover in the list below). You aren't a sociable B&B person? Don't worry; many of the properties we describe have private entrances, private lanais, even private hot tubs. Most B&B lovers are savvy budget travelers who know that B&Bs are a great way to meet local friends, find out about secret places to visit, and feel that you are part of the fabric of the place and not an anonymous tourist. As for the reliability of proprietors, keep in mind that Hawaii's strict zoning and business laws make obtaining a B&B license very difficult, and those procedures ensure a high level of quality. At the same time, many unlicensed B&Bs have operated de facto for decades and are perfectly professional.
Be sure to ask if the B&B has a minimum-stay requirement and if they will give you a discount for weekly stays (most do). Also, single travelers may be quoted cheaper rates than the ones listed below, which are based on double occupancy. An excellent Web resource for B&Bs in Hawaii is a local one run from the Big Island: Hawaii's Best Bed & Breakfast, 800/262-9912, bestbnb.com.
The Big Island
1. Areca Palms Estate Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 489, Captain Cook, HI 96704; 800/545-4390, konabedandbreakfast.com) is on a country estate in the higher-elevation coffee-growing area of Captain Cook. Four rooms have access to tropical gardens with a canopied Jacuzzi, and the B&B has a three-diamond rating by AAA. Rooms start at $85.
2. Butterfly Inn (P.O. Box 6010, Kurtistown, HI 96760; 800/546-2442, thebutterflyinn.com), not far from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is a two-story B&B for women travelers, amid an acre of fruit and macadamia nut trees. The top floor of the house has two bedrooms with large windows and a private entrance, and the hot tub in the garden is a perfect place for enjoying the balmy Big Island evenings. Rooms start at $65.
3. Da Third House Bed and Breakfast (85-4585 Mamalahoa Hwy., Captain Cook, HI 96704; 808/328-8410, stayhawaii.com/dathird) is in a remote area of South Kona but only five minutes from swimming and snorkeling beaches. A spacious studio includes a continental breakfast served on your own private lanai. Rooms start at $65.
4. Hale Aloha Guest Ranch (84-4780 Mamalahoa Hwy., Captain Cook, HI 96704; 800/897-3188, halealoha.com) is tucked away on a mountainside in South Kona and run by the friendly German host, Johann, with cozy suites extending into covered patios, a hot tub, and huge breakfasts served with ocean views. Rooms start at $80.
5. Hale Kipa 'O Pele (P.O. Box 5252, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745; 800/528-2456, gaystayhawaii.com) is a plantation-style home popular with gay travelers but open to everyone, located in a quiet suburb above Kailua-Kona town, with three airy suites and a Jacuzzi amid wide gardens. Rooms start at $85.
6. Hale Maluhia Country Inn (76-770 Hualalai Rd., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; 800/559-6627, hawaii-bnb.com/halemal.html), the "House of Peace," is an estate with a wonderful Japanese-stone-and-tile hot tub, koi ponds, waterfalls, and garden pathways, with five rooms and a slightly more expensive tree house, and full breakfasts with an omelette bar included. Rooms start at $90.
7. Hale Nui Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 127, Mountain View, HI 96771; 888/968-4253, bbonline.com/hi/halenui) is between Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the edge of the Ola'a Forest Preserve. Four rooms in a snug home go for reasonable rates, and special discounts are given to parties of four or more. Rooms start at $45.
8. Hale Ohia Cottages (P.O. Box 758, Volcano Village, HI 96785; 800/455-3803, haleohia.com) is one of the most unique B&Bs in the state, built in 1931 with fairy-tale-like cottages filled with antiques scattered around a fern tree and often mist-shrouded property, right next to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Rooms start at $95.
9. Hale Ho'onanea (P.O. Box 6568, Kamuela, HI 96743; 877/882-1653, houseofrelaxation.com) is on three acres in Kohala Estates, with four separate suites decorated with local art and with a panoramic ocean view overlooking the Kohala Coast. Rooms start at $90.
10. Jacaranda Inn (65-1444 Kawaihae Rd., Kamuela, HI 96743; 808/885-8813, jacarandainn.com) is one of the most historic B&Bs in Hawaii. A ranch estate built in 1897 as a residence for the Parker Ranch manager (and purchased by Laurance Rockefeller in 1961), the inn has turn-of-the-century, Hawaiian-Victorian elegance, in the cowboy town of Waimea. Rooms start at $95.
11. Kalani (RR2, Box 4500, Pahoa, HI 96778; 800/800-6886, kalani.com) is more a retreat center than a traditional B&B but it's perfect for those looking for yoga workshops, hula lessons, and massage therapy, next to black-sand beaches and nature preserves. Delicious, mostly vegetarian meals are served in a central dining area. For single travelers, rooms are only $60 (triple occupancy; you may have to share with up to two other singles), while private doubles start at $110.
12. Kamuela Inn (P.O. Box 1994, Kamuela, HI 96743; 800/555-8968, kamuelainn.com) is one of the larger B&Bs in the state with 31 rooms, situated in a quiet area but close to the shops and restaurants of Waimea, the town surrounded by the huge Parker Ranch. Rooms start at $59.
13. Kealakekua Bay Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 1412, Kealakekua, HI 96750; 800/328-8150, keala.com) is a spacious, luxury, Mediterranean-Polynesian retreat surrounded by wide lawns on a five-acre estate, with fantastic views of the nearby bay where Captain Cook was killed. A great luxury value for the price. Rooms start at $95.
14. Lokahi Lodge (P.O. Box 998, Wright Rd., Volcano Village, HI 96785; 800/937-7786, volcano-hawaii.com/lokahi.html) is a pink, tropical-style B&B in the Hawaiian National Forest, with four cozy rooms and a living room with a wood-burning stove, all just one mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Rooms start at $99.
15. My Island Bed and Breakfast Inn (P.O. Box 100, Volcano, HI 96785; 808/967-7216, myislandinnhawaii.com) offers several rooms (including "Grandma's Attic") in a historic home or scattered among garden villas in a lush setting in the town of Volcano. The inn's breakfast is touted as "more than you can eat." Rooms start at $65.
16. Our Place (P.O. Box 469, Papaikou, HI 96781; 808/964-5250, ourplacebandb.com) is a cedar home overlooking a stream, located about four miles north of Hilo on the eastern side of the Big Island. Rooms include the "Oriental" and "Early American" suites, and the hospitable owners can also help arrange discount airfare for you. Rooms start at $60.
17. Pomaika'i (Lucky) Farm B&B (83-5465 Mamalahoa Hwy., Captain Cook, HI 96704; 800/325-6427, luckyfarm.com) is a restored farmhouse on a century-old working macadamia and Kona-coffee farm, with a hearty country breakfast including homemade jams and breads and all the mac nuts you can eat. Choose from the farmhouse, the greenhouse, or the coffee-barn rooms. Rooms start at $60.
18. Pu'ukala Lodge Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 2967, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745; 888/325-1729, puukala-lodge.com) is on Mount Hualalai at about a 1,500-foot elevation above Kailua-Kona town, with 180-degree views of the coastline from the 1,400-square-foot lanai, where Tom, one of the owners, plays his ukulele while you watch the dramatic Kona sunsets. Rooms start at $85.
19. Rainbow's Inn Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 983, Pahoa, HI 96778; 808/965-9011, alohafun.com), run by the fun owner, Terrie, is just a few minutes' drive from the ocean and the lava-rock cliffs of the Puna district. Located on five acres of tropical jungle with a lap pool, hot tub, and large lanai, three one-bedroom suites with private baths and kitchenettes are offered-along with your choice of a slew of reasonably priced outdoor activities and tours. Rooms start at $85.
20. Volcano Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 998, Wright Rd., Volcano Village, HI 96785; 800/937-7786, volcano-hawaii.com/volcanobb.html) is a tranquil home in Volcano Village with a full kitchen, living room with fireplace, and three suites, with continental breakfast served daily. Rooms start at $49.
21. Blue Horizons Bed and Breakfast (3894 Mahinahina St., Lahaina, HI 96761; 800/669-1948, maui.net/~chips) offers four upscale rooms (three with private entrances), views of the ocean from a large lanai, a lap pool, and a location between Lahaina and Kapalua, within a short drive of Lahaina's action. Rooms start at $89.
22. Garden Gate Bed and Breakfast (67 Kaniau Rd., Lahaina, HI 96761; 800/939-3217, gardengatebb.com) is a large, modern, peach-colored home with spacious tropical garden complete with umbrella tables, its own stream and bridge, and three suites bathed in cream colors. It's located just one block from the ocean and Wahikuli Wayside Park. Rooms start at $79.
23. HalE Ana (1695 Olinda Rd., Makawao, HI 96768; 808/572-2508, haleana.com) is a good choice for those who don't need to be near the water and prefer the cooler climate of Maui's Upcountry on the slopes of Haleakala. It has two upstairs rooms in a gorgeous, modern home with huge, two-story windows in the living room looking on to the stunning views of West Maui. The home's two acres include flower and food gardens, and there's also a spa and sauna on premise. Rooms start at $85.
24. Hale Kokomo Bed and Breakfast (2719 Kokomo Rd., Haiku, HI 96708; 808/572-5613, bbonline.com/hi/kokomo) is located 1,400 feet above sea level in the lush, north-shore area of Haiku, and this 1927 Victorian-style villa offers four bedrooms and a living room with an open fireplace, as well as gardens. Rooms start at $50.
25. Hana Maui Botanical Gardens Bed and Breakfast (470 Ulaino Rd., P.O. Box 404, Hana, HI 96713; 808/248-7725, virtualcities.com/ons/hi/m/him4501.htm), in the serene old town of Hana on the island's eastern shore, is comprised of two cottages with kitchens and lanais on a 27-acre farm with botanical gardens open to the public (you can even pick your own fruit). Rooms start at $75.
26. House of Fountains (1579 Lokia St., Lahaina, HI 96761; 800/789-6865, alohahouse.com) touts itself as "the most Hawaiian B&B on Maui" and is tucked away behind Lahaina in the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains. Its six rooms include koa wood furniture, Hawaiian quilts, and handmade Polynesian arts and crafts, and there's a pool and hot tub. Rooms start at $95.
27. Kailua Maui Gardens (P.O. Box 790189, Paia, HI 96779; 808/572-9726, kailuamauigardens.com) is along the popular "Road to Hana," with three cottages among nearly two private acres, including a pool, two spas, and a barbecue area. Rooms start at $95.
28. Old Lahaina House (P.O. Box 10355, Lahaina, HI 96761; 800/847-0761, oldlahaina.com) is perfect if you want to be just two blocks from the town of Lahaina and across the street from a local surf spot. The two-story white home has a large pool and courtyard, and the owners can help secure cheap car rentals for guests. Rooms start at $69.
29. Penny's Place Inn Paradise (1440 Front St., Lahaina, HI 96761; 877/431-1235, pennysplace.net) is a two-story, plantation-style building (with a Victorian turret and wide, wraparound porches) right in the heart of the action on Front Street in Lahaina. Rooms start at $88.
30. Spyglass House (367 Hana Hwy., Paia, HI 96779; 800/475-6695, spyglassmaui.com) couldn't be closer to the water (30 feet from a secluded shore), and the three houses with eight rooms are situated around a brick-top courtyard with sunken, tiled Jacuzzi. You can rent by the room or the house (each building has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, living room, and expansive oceanfront lanai). Rooms start at $90.
31. Ka Hale Mala (P.O. Box 1582, Kaunakakai, HI 96748; 808/553-9009, molokai-bnb.com) is a 900-square-foot apartment with four rooms on the bottom floor of a beach house, with a garden and lanai, within walking distance of the beach, and on the edge of a wilderness area. Hawaiian breakfasts include taro, poi, or purple sweet potato pancakes. Rooms start at $80.
32. Kamalo Plantation and Moanui Beach House Bed and Breakfast (HC01, Box 300, Kaunakakai, HI 96748; 808/558-8236, molokai.com/kamalo) is a cottage with kitchen, living, and dining areas, on five acres of tropical gardens and at the foot of the island's mountain range. There's both an indoor and outdoor shower, a lawn to lounge on, and a barbecue hut; freshly picked fruits and breads are supplied for breakfast. Cottage is $85.
33. Dreams Come True (1168 Lanai Ave., Lanai City, HI 96763; 800/566-6961, dreamscometruelanai.com) is a four-bedroom B&B at a cool, 1,620-foot elevation above Lanai City in the center of the island. Each room has a private bathroom with whirlpool tub. The common areas include a living room, kitchen, two verandas, and garden. Rooms start at $99.
34. Hale Moe Lanai Bed and Breakfast (502 Akolu Pl., P.O. Box 196, Lanai City, HI 96763; 808/565-9520, staylanai.com) has three bright rooms and a deck with tables, umbrellas, and views across the fields, in a house occupying a serene area of the island. Rooms start at $80.
35. Ali'i Bluffs Windward Bed and Breakfast (46-251 Ikiiki St., Kaneohe, HI 96744; 800/235-1151, hawaiiscene.com/aliibluffs) presents two fun rooms-one with a circus theme, the other a Victorian theme-and a swimming pool in a quiet suburb on the island's northeastern windward coast. Rooms start at $60.
36. Beach Lane B&B (111 Hekili St., No. 277, Kailua, HI 96734; 808/262-8286, beachlane.com) is a stone's throw to Kailua Beach, with two old-fashioned bedroom suites with ocean views, on the second floor of a renovated home. Rooms start at $95.
37. J & B's Haven (P.O. Box 25907, Honolulu, HI 96825; 808/396-9462, bbonline.com/hi/jbshaven) offers two rooms with valley and mountain views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, only seven minutes from the excellent snorkeling spot of Hanauma Bay. The mother and daughter British owners have been running B&Bs for more than 16 years. Rooms start at $65.
38. The Manoa Valley Inn (2001 Vancouver Dr., Honolulu, HI 96822; 800/634-5115, aloha.net/~wery/mvbroch.htm) was built in 1919 and retains its stunning allure, nestled in the back of verdant Manoa Valley, minutes from Honolulu. This three-story home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers seven spacious suites and a charming country cottage. Rooms start at $99.
39. Manu Mele Bed and Breakfast (153 Kailuna Pl., Kailua, HI 96734; 808/262-0016, pixi.com/~manumele) is named for the varieties of songbirds who visit the B&B every morning-Manu Mele means "bird song" in Hawaiian. The beach is a short walk from the B&B, which has a pool and two rooms with their own private entrances and dining areas. Rooms start at $80.
40. Marianne's Bed and Breakfast (572 Papalani St., Kailua, HI 96734; 808/261-8416, bnbweb.com/mariannes.html) is a two-unit B&B with private entry, kitchenette, pool, and a backyard with a stream. Rooms start at $65.
41. Paradise Palms Bed and Breakfast (804 Mokapu Rd., Kailua, HI 96734; 808/254-4234, paradisepalmshawaii.com) has two guest suites, each with private entrance, patio, and kitchenette, in the quiet suburb of Kailua, within walking distance of the beach of the same name. Rooms start at $75.
42. Pillows in Paradise (336 Awakea Rd., Kailua, HI 96734; 808/262-8540, pillowsinparadise.com) is another establishment on the windward coast, offering three rooms with mini-kitchenettes and private entrances overlooking a pleasant pool and deck surrounded by palm trees. Rooms start at $75.
43. Anuenue Plantation Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 226, Kapaa, HI 96746; 888/371-7716, anuenue.com) is perched on a hillside with 360-degree views of mountains and ocean, with three guest rooms in a huge, two-story house (and one guest cottage) on five acres. The B&B often hosts health and human-growth seminars. Rooms start at $70.
44. Hale Ho'o Maha (P.O. Box 422, Kilauea, HI 96754; 800/851-0291, aloha.net/~hoomaha) is on the island's fertile north shore on five landscaped acres with a pond and stream, and a waterfall is just across the street. The B&B's four suites are brightly decorated in tropical motifs. Rooms start at $65.
45. Hale Lani Bed and Breakfast (283 Aina Lani Pl., Kapaa, HI 96746; 808/823-6434, halelani.com) is situated in a lush valley behind the mythical Sleeping Giant Mountain. It rents three rooms, each with their own private outdoor spa. Rooms start at $90.
46. Kakalina's Bed and Breakfast (6781 Kawaihau Rd., Kapaa, HI 96746; 800-662-4330, kexotix.com/kakalina.html) has two large units with kitchenettes on a three-acre, working tropical-flower farm located in the foothills of Mount Waialeale (one of the wettest spots on earth), with views of the ocean and a lake below its hillside roost. Rooms start at $80.
47. Mahina's Women's Guest House (4433 Panihi Rd., Kapaa, HI 96746; 808/823-9364, purpleroofs.com/mahinas-hi.html) is a four-room, women-only guesthouse right near the beach, with shared living and dining areas, and a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. Rooms start at $55.
48. Mohala Ke Ola (5663 Ohelo Rd., Kapaa, HI 96746, 888/465-2824, waterfallbnb.com) is a large, tranquil home with pool and Jacuzzi, four comfortable suites, and an owner who is a practitioner in Hawaiian lomilomi massage, reiki healing, and acupuncture. Rooms start at $85.
49. Old Waimea Landing Bed and Breakfast (P.O. Box 1113, Waimea, HI 96796; 808/338-1451, bbonline.com/hi/waimea) is in the quiet town of Waimea on the island's southwestern shore, a short walk from a black-sand beach and the Russian Fort Elizabeth ruins. Two homey suites and a cabin include a wiki wiki (quick) continental breakfast tray. Rooms start at $89.
50. Poipu Bed and Breakfast (1792 Pe'e Rd., Koloa, HI 96756; 808/742-6757, poipubeach.com/bedandbreakfast.htm) has four rooms (with high ceilings and two with private lanais) in a plantation-style home with hot tub and barbecue, all just a short walk from the ocean. Rooms start at $95.