Things to Do


There is so much to do in Kona, the only dilemma would be in deciding which activity to do. Everything from sunbathing on our beautiful beaches to visiting historic Hawaiian landmarks is on the “Must Do List”. South Kona’s calm and clear waters are also perfect for snorkeling, diving, and spotting dolphins and honu (green sea turtles). For the more adventurous, take a boat tour and swim with manta rays or go deep-sea fishing for giant Pacific Blue Marlin. On land, the cooler uplands are home to hundreds of coffee plantations where you can sample Kona’s unique, aromatic bean. On the versatile Kona coast, the adventures are as big as the island itself.

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Beaches


Beaches, after all, are one of the first things most people think of when they consider vacations to Hawaii. Here is a small sampling:

  • Hapuna Beach
    The most famous of the Big Island beaches is a beautiful long white beach with plenty of facilities, and nearby cabins which rent for very little. It can be hard to find parking on a weekend, but this is the classic Hawaiian beach!
  • Kailua-Keauhou
    All along Alii Drive between Kailua and Keauhou, there are little pocket size beaches and surfing spots. Pahoehoe Beach Park, White Sands, and our premiere snorkeling beach, Kahalu'u Beach Park, are all found in these parts. Most have some facilities, though parking can be an issue.
  • The King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
    Has a small sandy spot of protected shoreline which is great for kids, and with lots of "water toys" for rent nearby for adults, too.
  • Mauna Kea Beach
    Was chosen by Conde Nast as one of the World's Best Beaches. Twice! Obviously, they can only keep it that way by controlling access to it. Which they do. Get here before 9:30 am if you want to be sure to get a beach pass. Otherwise, wait in line. Fortunately, Hapuna Beach is just south of Mauna Kea should you decide not to wait.

There are many other beaches around the island that you shouldn’t miss. A-Bay (Anaeho'omalu), Old Airport State Park, Kahuwai bay near the resort at Hualalai, Keahole Point, Keokea Beach Park at the northern end of the island, and Punalu'u Beach on the southeast side of the island are just a few.

Coffee Plantations


The following is a very brief list of the coffee plantations offering tours:

  • Greenwell Farms - in Kealakekua If you are looking for a great tour and coffee tasting, you can't do better than Greenwell, a must see while on the Kona coast!
  • Kona Joe Coffee LLC - 79-7346 Mamalahoa Hwy in Kealakekua Their award winning coffee is certified by the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, and all orders are shipped direct from the farm.
  • Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation 75-1027 Henry Street #354 in Kailua-Kona Provides outstanding coffee tours to the public.

Culture and History


The Kona coast was once the home of Hawaiian royalty. In fact, King Kamehameha himself spent his later years in Kailua-Kona. Significant historic places like Puuhonua o Honaunau, Hulihee Palace, and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park let you explore Hawaii’s past first-hand.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau or "Place of Refuge" National Historical Park is one of the most beautiful Hawaiian locations you can imagine. This National Historic Site is one of the best locations for learning about ancient Hawaiian life. Demonstrations of local skills are often happening here.

Historic Hulihee Palace and the Mokuaikaua Church are located right on Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona. Later in life, King Kamehameha lived near the current site of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel until his passing in 1819. The Ahuena Heiau also resides at the hotel, a reconstructed temple rebuilt by Kamehameha himself. This sacred site is on the register of National Historic Landmarks and is just one of the significant places on the Kona coast.

Deep Sea Fishing


From May to October, big-game tournaments, with prize money totaling up to $65,000, inspire an atmosphere as competitive as the World Poker Championship. Newbies who want a taste of the hunt for monster-sized marlin, wahoo, mahimahi, and tuna can charter a boat (they're easy to come by, thanks to the high density of sport fishers who live here year-round).

  • Linda Sue 2 The best rate guaranteed for Kona Fishing for a 35 foot charter with two Coast Guard licensed Captains as crew. Jeff Heintz - Owner/Captain
  • "Legend" Sportfishing with Captain Mike Vidal
  • Sea Wife Charters Sea Wife II is a 38 foot Delta specializing in share charters and large groups. Only sportfishing boat in Honokahau Marina that is Coast Guard inspected and certified.

Dining


Food is a big part of life in Hawaii. And here on Big island there's plenty to choose from. With our many ethnic groups there is a wide range of cuisines, with something to suit even the fussiest eater. Check out the linked Restaurant Guide for a pretty comprehensive list of the eating spots on the island … and it’s constantly revised and updated.

Golfing


Kona Country Club - Ali'i Mountain Course - 78-7000 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona

Our Mountain Course (rated four and a half stars by Golf Digest), has a cool Mountain setting that overlooks the ocean and offers a more challenging terrain. Ancient Hawaiian rock slides run through its center.

Mauna Kea Golf Course - Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast

Offering dramatic elevation changes, Mauna Kea Golf Course is one of Hawaii's most unique golf challenges, while offering beautiful panoramic views from nearly every golf hole.

Francis H. I'i Brown North Course and South Course - Mauna Lani Resort, Kohala Coast

Rolling fairways, kiawe groves, challenging golf, play/practice green, driving range, restaurants, solar-powered carts, Golf Magazine Gold Medal Award.

Waikoloa Resort Golf – Waikoloa

Beach Course - Par-70 Robert Trent Jones Jr. resort course. Very scenic with elevation changes and dramatic ocean holes.

King's Course - Par-72 Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish Scottish links-style course, consisting of a double green, drivable Par 4s and large pot bunkers.

Shopping


Some places to shop:

  • Coconut Grove Market Place - Located on Alii Drive in Downtown Kailua-Kona. A wide variety of restaurants and food vendors are located in this market place where you can eat everything from sushi to burgers, top sirloin to salads, and ice cream to subs plus buy items such as elegant jewelry, clothing, locally created artwork and crafts, and children's fashions and toys.
  • Crossroads Shopping Center Located on 25 acres overlooking Kailua Bay, this 100,000 square foot shopping center is anchored by Wal-Mart, Denny's, Safeway, and Borders Books & Music plus features a wide range of specialty shops, restaurants, and services.
  • Keauhou Farmers Market Keauhou Farmer's Market Every Saturday, from 8:00AM to noon at Keauhou Shopping Center, fronting Ace Hardware. All products are home grown in Hawaii - fruits, vegetables, flowers, coffee, macadamia nuts & more. Music too!
  • Keauhou Shopping Center This beautiful open air center is just minutes away from Kailua-Kona and home to over 40 unique shops, specialty services, gourmet restaurants, US Post Office, and a state of the art seven-plex theater, complete with stadium seating.
  • Kona Inn Shopping Village This long boardwalk on the ocean side of Alii Drive extends for a whole block and features over 50 specialty shops, restaurants, and services. Free live entertainment is provided every Friday in the Main Lobby.

Snorkeling


The Kona coast of Hawaii's Big Island is rich with snorkeling areas. Considered one of Hawaii's finest snorkeling spots, Kealakekua Bay is a secluded marine sanctuary abundant with marine life, coral reefs, calm water and 100-ft visibility. To get there, travel south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (HI-11). Turn right on Napoopoo Road. Turn right on Puuhonua Road to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. About 40 minutes south of Kailua-Kona.

Kahalu’u Beach Park is one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island. It is fed by a fresh water spring, up to 10 million gallons per day. These waters are almost always calm, with colorful corals, rock formations, and 100+ species of fish. Swim with huge schools of colorful fish and green sea turtles in these protected waters; don't forget your underwater camera! The north end of the beach is where the waves break and is best for body boarding and surfing. Check the water conditions; when ocean swells are present, the water can be murky.

There are many, many spots with incredible visibility—up to 100 feet—along the Kona Coast (even right off the Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resorts). There are also two incredible swimming and snorkeling spots on the southeast side. The first, Champagne Pond, is a calm ocean cove heated by the volcano. The water is also slightly effervescent, but that doesn't seem to bother the abundant fish and turtles. It's accessed from a dirt road off Highway 132 (heading toward Kapoho from Hilo). At Kapoho "Wai Opae" Tide Pools, a collection of spring-fed brackish pools, beginners will feel safe and even the most jaded snorkelers will be impressed by the coral and fish. To reach it, drive to Kapoho at the end of Highway 132, then south on Highway 137 to Kapoho Kai Road.

Or take a snorkeling tour with one of several dive and snorkeling companies and explore the waters of Hawaii's Big Island with an experienced guide. The possibilities are endless.

Visit the Volcano


Watch the landscape change before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located 30 miles southwest of Hilo, this is the home of Kilauea Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The chance to witness the primal process of destruction and creation make this park the most popular visitor attraction in Hawaii and a sacred place for native Hawaiians.

Check out http://www.nps.gov/havo/ for the latest information on park hours, area closures, and current volcano activity.

Kona Sunsets Vacation Rentals 75-5995 Kuakini Hwy. Ste #802 Kailua - Kona, HI 96740 +1 (808) 987-6129 konasunsets@hawaii.rr.com

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