Kailua-Kona Travel Guide

  • Sea turtle
    Sea turtle
    by kyoub
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
    by leafmcgowan
  • Sunset on the Veranda
    Sunset on the Veranda
    by sarams

Kailua-Kona Things to Do

  • Beaches

    Lovely smaller beach a little bit south of the center of Kailua-Kona town. Free parking! Also known as White Sands Beach, one of the few such in the Kona region. "La'aloa" mean "very sacred" - and yes, this is a special place.

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  • Ali'i Drive

    Ali’i Drive is where the major shopping and restaurants are located in Kona. This long stretch of seaside street has small shopping plazas and individual stores lining both sides of the street. Just about any type of item can be found here along with the typical ABC stores. There are some nice outdoor restaurants and restaurants that have large...

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  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

    We took Body Glove's Deluxe Snorkel and Dolphin Morning Adventure. The cruise is aboard Body Glove's boat, Kanoa II. The boat has 2 levels, both with shaded and unshaded areas. The bottom level had open fresh-water showers, bathrooms, a buffet serving area, bar, and sit-down tables. The bow of the boat was uncovered and had a few tall...

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Kailua-Kona Hotels

Kailua-Kona Restaurants

  • Bubba Gumps

    4 out of 5 stars

    Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory is a kitchsy chain of shrimp restaurants based on the movie Forrest Gump. While I generally think theme restaurants are lame, I've been surprisingly happy with Bubba Gump when I've eaten there. Mind you, this isn't 5 star fare, but tasty, basic southern inspired shrimp, seafood, ribs, etc. One of their best qualities is...

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  • Splasher's Grill

    Splasher's Grill is how my wife and I began our day in Kona. We had just arrived in port and wanted to have breakfast off the ship. My wife had done her planning for this trip and already knew this is where she wanted to go for breakfast. The restaurant is right on Palani Road above some shops. It was a short walk across from the pier. It was a...

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  • Pancho & Lefty's Cantina

    3 out of 5 stars

    Pancho & Lefty's Cantina is one of the restaurant/bars located on the main street, Alii Way. The restaurant/bar is located up a set of stairs from the street. My wife and I decided to stop here for some drinks after doing some shopping. We went up the stairs and right to the bar area which has seats as well and tables surrounding. The bar area is...

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Kailua-Kona Nightlife

  • Lu Lu's

    went into Lu Lus last sat. morning...took forever to get a drink ..breakfast was served with runny gross eggs and manager was to busy viewing football to cook so he asked me to leave when I complained..The place was filthy and Locals tell me its always making someone sic..Very rude manager but scince I own the largest construction business on the...

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  • Huggos

    A great casual bar in the heart of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Definitely idolic of the 'beach' bar atmosphere and setting - this ocean-front cocktail bar and pub is an off-shoot of the Huggo's Restaurant next door. My one and only visit found it to be very friendly, hospitable, with great service and good bar staff. The patrons all looked...

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  • Captain Bean Dinner

    Captain Bean's Dinner (aka 'Booze') Cruise Spend two hours on a boat cruising the seas just offshore of Kona, eating traditional Hawaiian food and drinking as many Mai Tais as you can down while the band plays the theme song from 'Hawaii Five-Oh', for the all-inclusive price of about $50. The drinks are kind of weak, but a quiet word to your...

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Kailua-Kona Transportation

  • Car rental

    We got our rental from the airport in Hilo since that is where we flew into for our stay on the Big Island. There is also an airport in Kailua-Kona area, Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA. Pretty much all car companies are represented at both airports. Driving from Hilo to Kona took us about 4 hrs. There are a lot of cars driving about in...

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  • Airline

    Aloha Airlines.... or.... Hawaiian Airlines... Both are good, but if I had to choose, 'Aloha' ;-) Best way to get around would be to hire a Convertible or A Harley ;-) There are also buses, if you prefer not to hire your own transport.

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  • Tender to Port

    We arrived in Kona via cruise ship and had to tender to port. Tendering can be a long process and depending on the seas; quite bumpy as well. We were fortunate to have smooth seas and a very short ride to and from the pier.

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Kailua-Kona Shopping

  • Nice Tees for Everyone

    Crazy Shirt is a store I have seen in many location on the Main Land of the U.S. Here in Hawaii they have several locations across the islands. They carry some nice tee shirts for men women and children along with pants, swim wear, skirts, hats and some plush toys for kids. Prices are reasonable and the quality of the merchandise is good. We...

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  • A Nice Tee for my Dad

    My Dad's only request of me for a souvenir was to get him a Tee Shirt from the Harley Davidson Shop in Kona. The shop is about a fifteen minute walk from the pier up a large hill. The gift shop is a small area off the side of the dealership with tee, jackets and other Harley Davidson themed items. There were several tees to choose from and we found...

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  • Nice Souvenir Shop

    Elephant Walk was one of the first shops we visited during our day in Kona. The shop had some fun tee shirts, unique Christmas ornaments, post cards, jewelry, books and local craft. My wife found a nice handpainted Christmas Ball she had to have to add to our ever growing collection of travel ornaments. I found a tee shirt that suited me perfectly...

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Kailua-Kona Local Customs

  • Sacred Sites

    Just to the north of St. Peter's Catholic Church on Ali'i Drive, this altar stands as a temple solely to the art of surfing. Here, offerings were made asking for gnarly surfing conditions. Even today, offerings are left, though now it is left by locals of all social standings. Long ago, surfing was a sport only for the royalty. Commoners caught...

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  • Hawaiian Dance

    This pic was taken on my last night here. Sonja danced her Beautiful Traditional Hawaiian Dance, before the 'Hot Lava' Show began. She then wrapped her gorgeous 'Fresh Plumeria Lei' around me. She puts a lot of love into making her own Leis, and I was honoured to wear it ;-) ....... One very important tip, You must wear flowers in your hair Girls...

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  • Free Local Guides and Maps

    Free Local guides and Maps are plentiful around town. It's always good to have a map and a listing of what the area has to offer. We found several spots along the street that had free material for the taking which had some valuable info as well as coupons for shopping.

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Kailua-Kona Warnings and Dangers

  • Lava rock

    Yes, you want a souvenir of your vacation but do not remove any lava rocks. As superstition goes; removal of the rocks angers the volcano goddess Pele and brings bad luck to the person. So just go buy a souvenir from ABC... "Take only pictures; leave only footprints." "Take only gifts you are given (like flower lei’s); and leave only with Aloha."

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  • Sharks

    the island have deep water so stay off the water during sun rise or sun set....those are the times that sharks feed....this is a old hawaiian tample to the spirit sharks...they pray before they go in the water, that they promise if the shark will no eat the a life their family will feed their flash to the sharks after their dead

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  • Rough Shores

    This beach looks so idyllic that it's easy to forget that those waves out there are VERY powerful. When we came in Nov 2006, my husband got caught in one of those waves and got slammed to the beach. He sprained his shoulder. He did go to the lifeguard station and they must be so used to injuries like that as they made him a shoulder sling right...

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Kailua-Kona Tourist Traps

  • Malasada Nada

    I heard all about the wonderful Malasada while on the Big Island so I decided to check it out. We were staying in Kailua-Kona but apparently the best malasada was at Tex Drive In which is on the road to Hilo. So I drove out to this place which was about 30-40 minutes away. It is NOT worth it. It's like a great big hole-less doughnut that you can...

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  • Whale watching with Body Glove - near...

    Body Glove (Kailua-Kona) brings you 1000 ft away from hotel (where you might be staying) for whale watching, 15 minutes away from the pier. You have to try to spot whales yourself, as well as to learn about whales habits by talking to bartender (while advertised naturalist is busy chatting with captain). It is no surprise if you do not see any...

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  • If you like scuba, and you...

    If you like scuba, and you decide to go for Manta Ray Night Diving spent 100$ for charter, don't be sure that you will see Manta

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Kailua-Kona What to Pack

  • Travel Light

    Just pack lightly! And pack shorts in your carry-on to change into once you reach the islands: the airport isn't air-conditioned, and you exit the plane on the HOT black tarmac! Light, short-sleeved shirts and lots of shorts. A good pair of walking shoes. One semi-formal outfit if you plan on having a meal at a hotel restaurant. All such items can...

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  • Extended stay

    One big suitcase for your Souvenirs you won't need much. Don't forget to tag your luggage so you don't get it mixed up a lot of us shop in the same places:) Weather varies within 74-84 degrees Farenheit and humidity 64-74 percent all year long. Winter travelers we have snow here in Hawaii for those of you who didn't know! Nothing fancy though no...

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  • Sunscreen

    It is never very cold in Kona. Shorts and capris are year around wear. You may need a light jacket if you are out on the water though. Take along some comfy walking shoes for walking up and down Alii drive. Of course a swimsuit is a must. The sun is very bright so you would do well to have a sun screen for your camera. If you don't have one try...

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Kailua-Kona Off The Beaten Path

  • Beaches / Bays

    Panaluu black sand beach. It's pretty far south, but on the way to the Volcanoe National Park. Although we didn't snorkel there, I understand the snorkeling is very good there. Plus it's suppose to be a great place to find turtles because of the cool water seeping into the bay from underground. But we didn't have problems finding turtles, they were...

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  • Ka Lae, Ka'u

    visit the boat docks at south point. Also on the way towards the volcano. I don't believe the hoists are used anymore. The water was an unbelieveable blue color here! We even saw snorkelers here. There was a spot where the water was somewhat accessible---if you climbed a bit. The water was so clear we could see the fish from the cliff. I understand...

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  • Mark Twain / Captain Cook

    Mark Twain's Monkey Pod Tree If you have taken the trouble to fly thousands of miles and rent a car to reach this district of the Big Island of Hawaii then you might as well slow down to take a look at the monkey pod tree on the mauka side of the road when driving highway 11 from Kona to Volcanoes National Park since the tourist sights in these...

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Kailua-Kona Sports & Outdoors

  • Kona Marathon

    While we were in Kona in the summer of 2013 my mother and my sister ran the Kona Marathon. OK, so that was the original reason why we were are there - to cheer on my sis and my mom on this important life event. The Kona marathon is large and generally well-organized, with a route which is generally "fair". However, would-be runners should be aware...

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  • Kona Country Club

    The Kona Country Club has two courses. One that more or less parallels the ocean, and the other which goes up into the mountains.Personally, I prefer the mountain course. Its views are better and the temperatures are more comfortable.The fairways and greens are kept in wonderful condition and the staff are very helpful and friendly. Do be warned...

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  • Walua Road Trail

    The locals like the Walua Road Trail. Many people come here, whether it be those who live close and walk to it, or those who live far away and drive to it. Starting at dawn, the trail comes alive.Locals may be creatures of habit, so if you become a regular on the tail, you'll notice the same crowd during the same hours quite frequently.The "trail"...

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Kailua-Kona Favorites

  • Island Tour / Exploration

    Hard to believe that this dormant volcano is the world's tallest mountain at a height of 32,000 ft. measured from the bottom of the ocean floor to the summit. Although a good portion of it is below sea level, 13,796 ft. is visible and rises above the ocean. The last eruptions occured about 4,500 years ago. At the summit is the world's largest...

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  • Volcanoes National Park

    Visiting Volcanos National Park was worth the whole trip. The Drive from Kona was about 2 1/2 hours, so get started early and plan on a long day. Better yet, if your going to visit VNP stay in Hilo or at the Volcano House, which is perched on the edge of the caluldera. The sights here will take your breath away. the most memorable part of this trip...

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  • Watersports

    Anaehoomalu Bay is great for windsurfing, especially in the afternoon when the wind picks up. This beach is very casual & many try the water sports available even if it's the first time. There is no pressure here to 'look good'. Anaehoomalu Bay is the only spot on the island where you can learn to windsurf. I realize this tip should be under the...

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Explore Deeper into Kailua-Kona
Black Sand Beach
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Churches
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Pu'uhonua o Honaunau
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Volcanoes National Park
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Waterfalls
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Island Tours
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Hard Rock Cafe
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Watersports
Off The Beaten Path
Huggos on the Rocks
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Waterfalls
Off The Beaten Path
Lava Java
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Banyan Court Mall
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Kona Inn
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Beaches / Bays
Favorites
Sunsets
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Cocunut Grove Marketplace
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Kona trail
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Scuba Diving / Snorkeling
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Pu'uhonua o Honaunau
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Volcanoes National Park
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Churches / Altars
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Turtle Gate
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Golfing
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Over Rated
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It's Not All About Coffee
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Tasty Mai Tais & Lava Flows
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Good Breakfast
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Moku'aikaua Church
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Hulihe'e Palace
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Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Fair Wind II
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La'aloa Bay Beach Park
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POG Juice
Local Customs
Hawaiian Gifts and Souvenirs
Shopping
Explorations on Foot
Transportation
Ali'i Drive
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Mokuaikaua Church
Things to Do
Huliheʻe Palace
Things to Do
Arrivial Via Cruise Ship
Transportation
Do Not Remove Lava Rocks!
Warnings and Dangers
The Sun is Strong
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Kailua-Kona

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