The East side of the Big Island was the least touristy of all the islands we visited. Since we don't have any world-class beaches here, all the tourists flock to the Kailua-Kona area. That means we have the best of both worlds -- we live in a small community with that "small town" feel, yet we are only 2 hours away from all those beautiful beaches, and without all the traffic and congestion that a tourist area brings with it. Prices are still fair at the Farmers Market -- papayas are 7 for a dollar, pineapples are $2.50, $1 for a bunch of bananas. Real estate is a still a bargain here, too. Hilo is what I imagine Hawaii was like 50 years ago.
Ever since we've moved here, we have always felt welcomed. The Aloha spirit is alive and well here.