Things To Do In Kailua Kona
EXPLORE ALL THAT IS BEAUTIFUL IN KAILUA KONA
Waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes . . . Hawaii really has it all. Youve driven along the coast and have seen Humpback Whales breaching, the stunning ocean surf, and watched the green flash as the sun set over the horizon. Now its time to explore whats under those crashing waves. The Big Island of Hawaii has some of the best snorkeling in the world and they go to great lengths to protect the surrounding reef so the aquatic life is abundant and plentiful.
One of the best places to snorkel on the island is the Marine Sanctuary located in Kealakekua Bay. This location is popular with both visitors and locals alike and is home to the World Famous Captain Cook Monument. In addition to the vibrant reef and sea life, Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins are also often spotted playing in the bay.
We love all the adventures Hawaii has to offer but when it gets dark we have to admit our favorite part of the island is night snorkeling with manta rays at Keauhou Bay. This tour is an incredible experience unique to the Big Island.
Your Sailing and Snorkeling Adventure Begins Here!
Savor The Taste Of Fresh
There are countless poke spots in Kailua Kona. Many of them are right on the ocean along Alii Drive!
One popular spot for waterside dining is Da Poke Shack. There is also one down south in Captain Cook.
Another great Kona poke spot is Umekes Fish Market and Restaurant. This restaurant is committed to locally sourcing its food.
That means the fish, vegetables, fruit, and meat are locally sourced whenever possible! As a result, it will be among the freshest food you will have while visiting Hawaii.
And finally, we have Pau Hana Poke, a tiny hole in the wall. This is a local favorite and also serve as a fish market.
The menu can evolve differently depending on what is available. Local fishermen always provide the freshest fish.
It is take-out only here, so grab some poke and head to a beach.
Things To Do In Kona With Kids
Hawaiis Big Island is the island that has the best things to do in Kona, Hawaii for free. The Big Island is a little less crowded than the other islands and perfect for families with small kids and teens.
There are a lot of amazing free things to do on the Big Island or Kona, Hawaii. Some of the free things you can do in Kona does not even require you and your family to get out of your car.
Whenever I travel I am always on the hunt for the best things free things to do in the location I am traveling to so without further ado here are my top free things to do in Kona:
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Hawaii In November: Weather
The rain brings cooler temperatures through the Hawaiian islands. Day temperatures still reach the low 80s, and youll see cold weather at night when temperatures can drop into the high 60s.
Take advantage of the balmy daytime temperatures in November with waterfall hikes and rain forest walks.
Choose Vacation Activities that Avoid the Rain
If you prefer to avoid the rain on your chosen Hawaiian island, there are a few things you can do.
Hawaiis Big Island tends to be the best island to beat the rain this time of year. However, you can generally avoid the rain by simply moving from one side of any island to the other. For example, if the east coast of the Big Island will see a lot of rain, plan activities on the west side for the day.
In general, any part of the island that is sheltered from the wind will see less rain during winter.
If hiking in hot, muggy weather sounds like something youd rather avoid, then youll love visiting the volcanoes of Hawaii during November. Since temperatures fall as you venture above sea level, you may even need to take a jacket with you if you plan to venture deep into the forest.
Adventure To A Waterfall
A list of things to do in Kona would not be complete without an adventure to a waterfall! If youre up for a serious excursion, the Kohala Waterfalls Adventure is an eight-hour tour that goes to some of the most scenic parts of the big island.
Youll get to do everything from a relaxing hike through a private natural reserve to a high-energy off-roading experience in a six-wheeler. The guides are awesome and youll be sure to learn a lot about the history and culture of Hawaii.
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Drive The Chain Of Craters Road
One of the main draws of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the Chain of Craters Road.This road goes from the visitors office of the park all the way to the coast,and since the erruption in 2018 has had the road cleared from lava. This means youllbe driving through lava flows merely a year or two old as you come through.
When Kilauea was flowing at its peak, it was emitting more than 40,000 cargo trucksworth of lava every single day. Forty thousand! You can easily imagine this being thecase once you drive down this road.
Stargaze Atop Hawaiis Highest Peaks
Finally, before you leave Hawaiis islands, make sure you take the time to see the stars. Because of its location in the middle of the ocean, Hawaii has much less light pollution than the mainland.
If you plan to visit Hawaii in November, we recommend visiting one of Hawaiis most remote peaks after dark. You can take in the vast sky full of stars from any island, but Mt. Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii is a favorite of stargazers.
The elevation, coupled with Hawaiis remote location, makes for some of the best stargazing youll ever have the chance to experience. Even during the rainy months, the stars are visible from Mt. Mauna Kea for about 325 days every year.
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Things To Do On The Big Island
Heading to the Big Island? Im so jealous! The Big Island is the Hawaiian Island that seems to overwhelm most travelers but there are sooooo many unique and truly spectacular things to experience here that its definitely worth a visit!
You could stay busy for weeks exploring every part of this island so this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything to do on the Big Island, but its a pretty good overview of some dont miss experiences!
Also, I know different people like to vacation different ways so while a lot of things on this list you can do on your own , Ive also included options for people who gravitate more towards organized tours and excursions especially since there are quite a few experiences on the Big Island that I think doing as part of an organized tour are necessary.
This post may contain some affiliate links, which means Ill make a little money on anything you choose to purchase. But of course, I only recommend my absolute favorites to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Hulaland possible.
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Lunch At The Booch Bar
When we asked our online community for advice on things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii, we loved all the tips on places to eat and drink!
The Conscious Culture Cafe in Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii was everything I loved in a square building on the side of the road: ginger and turmeric kombucha, healthy smoothie with bee pollen and organic, vegetarian meals.
And music. From the 60s Vietnam era from White Shades of Grey to If youre going to San Francisco.
If you want an unhealthy milkshake or breakfast on the go, head to Just Cruisin Coffee. Again, locals recommended to us that this was the best place in town for coffee as it was a local business.
I wont say it was the best coffee I had I am a little coffee fussy but it was better than Starbucks. And our kids loved their milkshakes.
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Embrace The Taste Of Kona Coffee
There are numerous coffee farms on the Big Island. You can visit any time of year and you will get to sip on samples of delicious coffee, right from the source!
Greenwell Farms is located out of town in Kealakekua. They were recently voted Hawaiis Best Farm Tour by Hawaii Magazine!
The tour is fun and informative.. plus, they have excellent coffee!
Hula Daddy Kona Coffee is another great option and is convenient to Kona in Hulualoa. They offer tours by reservation and free coffee tastings.
Even if you do not want a tour, you can come by and try their coffee!
For a farm tour right in town, head up the hill to Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation. They offer tours with off-road vehicles.
You dont have to walk on this tour however, if you do want to hike around a bit, they have lava tubes and trails to explore as well. Plus, you get to sample that glorious Kona coffee!
And finally, we have Hala Tree Organic Coffee Farm. I love this farm because it is not only organic, but the property is lovely.
You will get to taste your coffee on a lanai that overlooks the Pacific Ocean while you sip your java.
It is a good idea to call ahead before you visit any of these farms to make a reservation if needed.
Additional Information On Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is located 45 miles southwest of Hilo, the park is home to two volcanoes including Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth.
The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction makes it one of the most visited attractions in Hawaii.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses 333,308 acres from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea. There are150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts, and rainforests.
Dont forget to visit the museums, petroglyphs, and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea which has been erupting since January 3, 1983.
Kilauea is sometimes called the worlds only drive-in volcano. This prolific volcano produces 250,000650,000 cubic yards of lava per dayenough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road each day.
In 1980 it was named a World Biosphere Site by UNESCO and in 1987 the park was honored as a World Heritage Site.
Water Sports: Snorkeling Sup Surfing And Kayaking
The cost of these beach activities vary. If you can bring your own gear or book accommodations that provide equipment, then these types of water sports are definitely a cheap thing to do in Kona.
Even if you need to rent, hopefully its a worthwhile expense that helps you better experience what Hawaii has to offer.
A couple of us rented Stand Up Paddle boards and a surf board at Kahaluu Beach Park on the South end of Kona. Its a popular snorkeling area with sea turtle sightings. The parks small protected bay also tends to be good for beginner surf lessons.
Kahaluu Bay Surf and Sea rental shop is just across the street from the beach, offering rentals and surf lessons.
Snorkel/dive With Manta Rays
Just off the coast of Kona, groups of huge 20-foot wide manta rays soar through the water hunting for plankton to eat. Its possible to jump in the water at night and watch them feed.
Our night-time manta ray snorkeling tour began by chasing a stunning pink & orange sunset along the coastline on a sailing catamaran.
After the sun went down, we jumped into the ocean and grabbed onto a custom floating SUP board with hand holds. The board also has an ultraviolet light shinning down onto the ocean floor.
The light attracts millions of microscopic plankton, and the graceful manta rays swim under you to scoop them up in their massive mouths. Its a magical experience! Scuba diving with the mantas is also possible.
Manta Ray Snorkeling Trip
Enjoy a magical moment at night with huge manta rays gracefully gliding through the water under you.
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Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark
Located at the northern end of the Kailua Bay, Kamakahonu was the residence of Kamehameha I. The area included several different buildings and parts, including a place of worship, thatched houses, a personal retreat, storehouses, and much more!
Visiting Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark will give you a bit of insight into the history of the Hawaiian islands, which is truly imperative for understanding the culture a bit more in-depth.
Drive The Hamakua Coast
The Hamakua Coast is one of the most beautiful spots on the Big Island, with lush mountains overlooking the sea. You can drive the Hamakua Coast from Hilo to Honokaa and end at Waipio Valley. Along the drive youll see waterfalls, botanic gardens, and the charming town of Honokaa. Take a detour and drive the Pepeekeo scenic drive for one lane bridges and truly breathtaking views. Its only a four mile drive, but its one of the most scenic on the entire island.
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Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park
In ancient Hawaii, long before it became a state, local sacred laws or kapu governed every aspect of Hawaiian society. The penalty for breaking these laws was death
But if the criminals managed to get themselves to a puuhonua, or place of refuge, they were absolved of their crimes and could return to normal life.
Today you can visit Puuhonua o Hnaunau National Historical Park to experience the history of this place, still considered a sacred site.
The Hale o Keawe temple located here contains the bones of chiefs that infuse the area with their mana . Dramatic looking wooden statues called Kii act as guardians to the bay and nearby temple.
Swim With The Dolphins
Did you even go to Hawaii if you didnt swim with the dolphins? Theres nothing quite like slipping on a snorkel mask and hopping into the clear, blue waters of Kealakekua Bay to get a closer look at some of the islands most beautiful sea creatures.
Dolphin Discoveries offers one of the best ways to explore the area. Plus, they have a 98% success rate at finding dolphins and whales in the area, so youre sure to see some! Book your tour here!
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Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum And Gallery
Address: 75-5706 Kuakini Hwy APT 112, Kailua, HI 96740Website:
The Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum and Gallery is a great place to get acquainted with or just to visit and enjoy the richness of the Aloha culture.
Starting from traditional vintage to quite contemporary pieces, you have a chance to participate in sales that take place in the gallery.
Some of the great works of local designers like Ric Stark, Phyllis Cullen, Ellen Crocker, and many more outstanding artists are exhibited here.
You can also learn about the traditional art of making kapa and witness an original Hawaiian flag quilt.
In case youre planning a visit here, make sure to check out the gallerys website because theyre frequently arranging special exhibits and other exciting cultural challenges.
Go Swimming On Coconut Island In Hilo
For the most part, visitors to Hawaii prefer swimming in Kona. The waves are smoother, thereare more snorkeling-friendly beaches, and the weather is more predictable.However, one of the few places you can safely swim in Hilo is off the coast of Coconut Island.Its easily accessible by a bridge from the island, and features a jumping rock you canleap off of into the ocean. Its not a good place for snorkeling because the water is a bit murky,but its very popular for swimming. If youre staying in the town of Hilo, theres no doubt youllend up here at some point during your Hawaii trip.
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Catch A Glimpse Of Rainbow Falls
If youre spending time in Hilo, dont leave before visiting Rainbow Falls. This 80 foot waterfall is located in Hilo and can be viewed from the Wailuku River State Park. The waterfall flows over a lava cave, which is home to Hina, Hawaiian goddess of the moon. Its called rainbow falls because in the morning, as the light hits the mist from the falls, you can often see a rainbow.
Looking for other things to do while youre in Hilo? Weve got you covered with the perfect one day trip to Hilo.
So Whats The Best Time To Visit The Big Island Overall
If you want to plan the ideal Hawaiian vacation, the best time to visit the Big Island is during the winter from December to March. Visitors peak at this time of year because the weather is idyllic, sunny, and warm.
Highs around 80 degrees and lows around 64 each night make this some of the mildest, most enjoyable weather of the entire year on the Big Island. For the cheapest prices, the best time to visit the Big Island is during the fall from September to November.
This 3-month period sees the lowest number of visitors of the whole year as it falls in between the little high season of summer and the true peak season of winter.
Prices are at their absolute lowest from September to November, but be aware that it starts to get pretty rainy in November. For the fewest crowds, the best time to visit the Big Island is during the month of May and September to November.
May sees the first major dip in visitors as it occurs after the peak winter season and just before the little high season of summer. September to November see the lowest visitor numbers of the year, and prices take a nosedive during these months.
If youre trying to avoid any hidden weather, pricing, or crowd pitfalls, avoid the months of November , December to March , and June to August .
That leaves you with as the absolute best times to visit the Big Island.
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