Hi Patti, we are very active kayakers here in Oregon. This was the first time I got to do it in Hawaii. I even got my mom to kayak there and she's 70! I wish everyone so inclined would try it and find out how great it is for people of all ages and abilities.
We stayed half the time in Volcano and half on the dry side in Honaunau. Both are rural areas without much tourist stuff, just the way I like it!
I'll be back in March, staying in Miloli'i (the so called last fishing village in Hawaii)
I agree - if you go to the Big Island you need to stay at Volcano. We did two nights at the Volcano House hotel, room overlooking the crater. An unforgettable experience.
I should also mention that their Prime Rib is out of this world.
Volcano House Hotel can been closed down for the last two times I've been there (March and September this year). They also have their rental cabins in the campground closed down. It does have great views and location but people had been complaining the mattresses were rock hard, the rooms small, and the cafeteria food was not so good. The good news is they totally shut it down to do a remodel and find new vendor contracts to supply the food. I have eaten in the caf in the past and the food was so-so. The prime rib is probably served in the dining area and I didn't get there in the evenings. Kiluea Lodge Restaurant is run by a former makeup artist from Magnum PI that took his earnings and sent himself to europe to train in culinary skills after the show ended. The menu is inventive (rabbit and antelope) along with the regular fare, but also quite expensive.
Maui is truly one of the most spiritual places in the world. I love this Island and I am sure that I am not alone. This is a place for anyone interested in Maui whether you have been, plan to go or just want to see what others are saying about it.