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Ever wondered what it's like to truly experience paradise? Well, strap in, 'cause Kailua-Kona is about to school you in the fine art of ultimate vacationing. This isn't your run-of-the-mill getaway—oh no, my friend. This is where you snorkel through the kaleidoscopic underwater wonderland of Kapoho Tide Pools and savor a frothy pint at local craft breweries where the term 'island time' takes on a whole new meaning. Imagine wrapping yourself in a velvety swath of inky night skies at Mauna Kea, where stars aren't just specks in the sky—they're celestial fireworks.

And let's not just breeze past those tucked-away art galleries that are the island's best-kept secrets or the beckoning, tranquil sands of Makalawena Beach whispering your name. In Kailua-Kona, you're not merely visiting; you're embarking on a soul-enriching quest. From the echoes of Hawaiian royalty at Hulihe'e Palace to the buzz of underwater scooters near the coral reefs, this place buzzes with the kind of adventures you can't find just anywhere.

So, are you ready to live a storybook of adventures that you'll retell with a twinkle in your eye? Let's dive deep into the captivating allure of Kailua-Kona.

Snorkel at Pristine Kapoho Tide Pools

Ready to dive into an underwater paradise that's clear as crystal and teeming with vibrant sea life? Snorkeling at Kapoho Tide Pools turns that dream into your splashy reality. Here’s the deal — these natural wonders are the spot for your kailua kona snorkeling adventure. The pools are sheltered from the harsh waves by lava rocks, creating a serene haven for you and colorful fishes galore.

You’ve gotta check this out: the tide pools are a breathtaking mosaic of marine ecosystems where you can witness the ballet of exotic fish right under your nose. It's like your very own private aquarium but, you know, without the glass walls. Plus, with the gentle shallows, those not-so-confident in the water can still have a whale of a time!

Don't rush it; you'll want to spend a good chunk of your day here. It's great for both solo explorers and families, so pack a picnic and bask in the sun when you're done. Just don't forget your reef-safe sunscreen to keep both you and the reef happy and healthy. Not to mention, your Insta story is about to get a whole lot more enviable.

Here's a protip for you: slip into the water in the morning to beat the crowd and you might just have some of these majestic pools to yourself. And hey, if you’re craving more oceanic escapades, the nearby coasts are chalk full of snorkeling hotspots! Whether you're venturing solo, with your partner, or have little ones in tow, Kapoho Tide Pools is where those splash-tastic memories are made. Grab your flippers and let’s get snorkeling!

Sample Exotic Brews at Kona's Craft Breweries

Imagine the golden glow of a tropical sunset in your glass, the faint scent of coffee-infused porter tickling your nostrils, and the refreshing tang of a fruity IPA as you look out over Kailua Kona's stunning landscape. Yep, you're not in just any old taproom; you're experiencing the bursting flavors of Kona's craft breweries!

Kick off your taste adventure at Kona Brewing Co., where the sun seems to sink right into your pint! Here's the deal: you want to immerse yourself in that laid-back Hawaiian vibe, and there's no better place to do it than where they serve ice-cold magic with a side of aloha. Their open-air setting is perfect for a leisurely afternoon sipping on favorites like Longboard Island Lager or the iconic Big Wave Golden Ale. It's chill, it's friendly, and the pizzas? Chef's kiss, my friend.

But wait, there's more! For all you daredevils of hoppy delights, slip on down to Ola Brew. These folks are all about local ingredients, which means you're not just sipping—you're taking a tour of Hawaii's farms with every gulp. Their offerings change like the island winds, so there's always something new to tickle your taste buds.

Take note, though! When breweries are this good, you've gotta pace yourself. We're talking hours of flavor exploration, where each sip is a high-five to your senses. It's ideal for friends gathering, solo explorers, and even couples looking for that buzz of something new. Less about the wild night out and more about relishing the craftsmanship, this is where stories flow as freely as the beer.

So, grab your squad, or just your sense of adventure, and dive into the Kailua Kona craft brewery scene. Make it an afternoon affair, because trust me, you'll want to stay a while. Bathe in the brews, soak up the camaraderie, and remember: in Kona, every pint comes with a view!

Immerse in the Night Skies at Mauna Kea

Stargazing at Mauna Kea isn't just a thing to do; it's a celestial experience wrapped in the cloak of the Hawaiian night sky. Imagine yourself buried under blankets of stars, chilly air nipping at your cheeks, with the world's most enormous telescope by your side. That's how Mauna Kea rolls, folks – it's magic!

Ever been at almost 14,000 feet, feeling downright space-adjacent? That's Mauna Kea for you, a dormant volcano hosting the best show around town: the universe itself! On Mauna Kea, stargazing is more than just looking up; it's about touching the stars without having to rocket-ship your way outta here.

But wait, there's more! Suited for singles, space enthusiasts, or families with curious kiddos, this cosmic playground is for everyone. Get cozy at the visitors' center, and with their stargazing programs, you're set for an interstellar journey. Peek through telescopes powerful enough to take you to the moon and back, figuratively speaking!

Pro tip: the stargazing adventure is outstanding, but do layer up; it gets cold when you're flirting with the stars. Spend a good chunk of the night; after all, it's not every day you get to date the Milky Way. And the best part? It's absolutely free!

Nearby, you'll have the desert landscapes and the gentle hush of the Hawaiian winds – quite the companions for your astral outing. Plus, if you're looking to make an educational pit stop, the visitor center's got your back with answers and awe for all ages.

So, are you ready to be starstruck? Because at Mauna Kea, every star you've wished upon, is just the beginning. Pack your spirit for exploration, layer up, and dive into the night – it's not just unusual, it's out of this world!

Discover Kona's Hidden Art Galleries

Picture this: You're walking down a charming street in Kailua Kona, when suddenly, you stumble upon a quaint gallery brimming with vibrant Hawaiian art that beckons you inside. Kona's art scene is a hidden gem, vibrant and overflowing with local talent and unique flair that you've just got to see.

Kailua Kona art galleries are not your run-of-the-mill spaces. They're treasure troves of creativity, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of the Big Island— all conveyed through dazzling canvases, intricate sculptures, and striking photography. Here's where local artists unfurl their love for Hawaii's breathtaking landscapes and dynamic culture, offering you a glimpse into the soul of Kona through every piece.

Now, you might be wondering, what's so special about these art galleries? Well, each gallery has a story, a flavor, a rhythm that's as distinct as the waves of the Pacific. You’re not just looking at pretty pictures; you’re seeing stories of the island’s fiery volcanoes, sprawling coffee farms, and mystical sea life come to life. And you better believe it's not just about observing—it’s about feeling the aloha that these masterpieces exude.

You should carve out at least a couple of hours to truly savor the experience because there's no rushing art, my friend. This is a vibe ideal for couples seeking inspiration, solo explorers with a taste for culture, or families wanting to introduce their kids to the arts. So, if you've been yearning for a slice of Kona’s culture to take home, this is it. Be it a hand-crafted souvenir or a piece of fine art for your living space, you're sure to find it here.

And when the art has completely charmed you, why not chat with the artists themselves? These spots are often manned by the creators, so go on, get that insight scoop on what inspired your favorite pieces.

Discovering Kailua Kona’s art galleries is an off-the-beaten-path adventure that's oh-so worth it. Your memories of Kona will be that much richer with a touch of authentic island creativity in them. Ready to unlock the art lover in you? Get your walking shoes on and explore Kona's captivating galleries today!

Unwind at Secluded Makalawena Beach

Imagine a place where the turquoise waves kiss the white sands under the approving gaze of a warm Hawaiian sun. Your piece of paradise? It's called Makalawena Beach, and it's the hidden gem of Kailua Kona. Forget the crowded tourist traps, because beach hopping here is like finding your own secret treasure.

This secluded beach is accessible by a bit of a hike, which keeps the crowds at bay and the experience authentic. You'll trek over lava rock trails, so wear comfy shoes! Once there, you'll understand why "secluded" is synonymous with "heavenly." You've got soft sands, a backdrop of natural beauty, and chances are you won't need to fight for a spot to spread your beach towel.

So, how long should you bask in this sun-drenched utopia? You'll want to make a day of it – bring sunscreen, water, snacks, and maybe a good book. And get this: the beach typically appeals to the chilled, adventurous souls looking for serenity and a tan rather than the bustling tourist vibe. Definitely perfect for couples or solo travelers wanting to hear nothing but waves.

Nearby, you won't find the usual beachside vendor hustle, which honestly is just refreshing. It's all about the unadulterated beach experience here. Whether you're taking a dip in the clear waters, spotting a friendly honu (that's a turtle, for you mainlanders), or just dozing off in the sun, Makalawena is your go-to beach spot for a perfect, peaceful day.

And for those with a splash of adventure in their veins, the snorkeling is just as secluded and beautiful as the sands. Expect vibrant fish flaunting their colors in the clear-as-glass waters. It’s nature's aquarium, and you’ve got a front-row ticket.

Remember, this isn't just beach time; it's Makalawena time. Get here, disconnect, and savor the salty breeze like you've got all the time in the world – because here, it feels like you do.

Delve into Hawaii's Past at Hulihe'e Palace

Imagine stepping into a time machine and being whisked back to a Hawaii ruled by royalty. That's what it's like when you visit Hulihe’e Palace. It’s got history, it's got the charm, and, oh boy, it's dripping with stories of ancient Hawaiian kings and queens.

This ain't your average museum, folks. Built in the 1830s, it was the vacation home for Hawaiian royalty. Today, it's a treasure chest of artifacts, furniture, and portraits that'll give you a VIP pass into Hawaii’s regal past. Why settle for a typical beach day when you can rub elbows (sort of) with kings and queens?

Set right in the heart of Kailua Kona, this place is perfect for families, history buffs, and anyone who loves to soak up culture like a sponge. Solo travelers, you're going to want to grab your cameras because this palace is as photogenic as it is historic.

Don't rush through—give yourself a good hour or two to stroll through the rooms and the manicured grounds. Breathe in that air of nobility as you wander from room to royal room. And the best part? It's nestled right next to the ocean, so you get those cool breezes and a view that’s worth a million bucks (but don't worry, admission isn't anywhere near that).

Now, who's it for? Honestly, everyone. But if you've got kiddos with a knack for adventure or gramps who loves anything old-school, they’re going to be talking about this visit for years. And hey, even if history isn’t your thing, the palace’s architecture and the surrounding views are enough to keep you hooked.

Before you go, check out their event calendar because they've got some cultural demonstrations and concerts that are—you guessed it—legendary. Trust me, you haven’t fully experienced Kailua Kona until you’ve walked the halls of Hulihe’e Palace. So, what are you waiting for? Step into this slice of Hawaii’s royal history and make those memories.

Explore the Depths with Kona Submarine Tours

Dive in, but stay totally dry! Kona Submarine Tours are your ticket to plunge into an underwater world without even getting your toes wet. Imagine gliding through liquid space, schools of tropical fish darting by your porthole—it's like living in your own personal aquarium! Kona's clear blue waters are teeming with colorful marine life, and the best part? You'll be cozied up in a submarine, no scuba gear needed.

These unique tours let you descend over 100 feet below the ocean's surface, where natural coral reefs are strikingly vibrant. Ever seen a Hawaiian green sea turtle? They're total celebrities down here. And for those of you dreaming of controlling an underwater scooter, Kona's got you covered too. Picture it: You, the grand sea explorer, cruising the deep blue, flipping imaginary submarine switches like a boss. It's all about the adventure!

Talking about adventure, this isn't just for solo thrill-seekers. Bring your family, squad, or even your curious grandma. The sub's interior is cozy, making it perfect for anyone from kiddos to adults. You're in for a comfy dive with no experience required, just a thirst for the extraordinary.

How long should you block off for this journey to the ocean floor? Give it about an hour or two, and you’ll have stories for days. With shops and restaurants nearby, you can easily transition from sea captain to foodie in a Kona minute.

Ready to spy an eel or whisper sweet nothings to a school of fish? Book a Kona Submarine Tour and prepare to be dazzled by the underwater magic you didn't even know you were missing. Trust me, your social media is begging for these #DeepSeaSelfies.

Paddle the Day Away at Keauhou Bay

Picture yourself gliding across the crystal-clear waters of Keauhou Bay, the sun glistening off the gentle waves, and you, standing tall on your stand-up paddleboard. It's not just a dream—it's stand-up paddleboarding in Kona, and it's a must-do for anyone who loves a blend of serene nature and a solid core workout.

With stand-up paddleboarding, you get a unique vantage point of Kona's spectacular coastline. The calm waters of Keauhou Bay make for an ideal setting, especially for beginners. You'll feel like you're walking on water, and if you're lucky, you might spot a curious sea turtle or a school of vibrant fish passing by.

Now, don't you worry about lugging a board from the mainland. You can easily rent one. In fact, if you want to take your experience to the next level, sign up for a paddleboard lesson or a guided tour. The local experts will have you paddling like a pro in no time.

How long should you spend out on the water? That’s up to you, but a couple of hours should give you a good taste of paddleboarding goodness. It's perfect for singles, couples, and families with older kids who can handle their own board. It’s not just great exercise but also a peaceful way to connect with the ocean.

After paddling around, there's plenty nearby to explore. Grab a bite at a local eatery, or chill on the beach to soak up all that Kona sun goodness. Bottom line: Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or just looking for a new way to chill, Keauhou Bay is your go-to paddleboarding paradise.

Connect with Nature on Kona Eco Tours

Imagine yourself standing amidst lush greenery as you breathe in the fresh, earthy scent of tropical flora. Welcome to the heart of Hawaii's natural beauty on a Kona Eco Tour. Feel the spirit of aloha as you connect with the untamed wilderness of the Big Island. And don't worry, you don't have to be a hardcore naturalist to love these tours; they're perfect for solo explorers, couples seeking a romantic escapade, and families hungry for a little adventure.

On these big island eco-tours, you can lose yourself in the sounds of rare bird calls and the sight of hidden waterfalls. Each step you take is an opportunity to witness the wonders of Hawaii's ecosystem, from the majestic trees that touch the skies to the tiny insects that play a crucial role in the health of the environment. Ready for something unique? You might just come face-to-face with a Kona nightingale or find a rare orchid blooming in seclusion - Mother Nature's own little secrets just for you.

Now, how long should you block off on your fun-filled Hawaii agenda for this eco-adventure? Give it at least half a day to immerse fully in this experience. I mean, who wants to rush when there's so much to see and learn? Plus, these tours pack in a lot of sights, sounds, and learning, so you'll want to savor every moment.

Whether you're a solo eco-warrior, a dynamic duo, or a fun family flock, Kona Eco Tours caters to all. The guides are as passionate about nature as you are about discovering it, ensuring that the tour is accessible for most ages and fitness levels. And if you’re looking for a piece of Kona that's far from the typical tourist trails, well, you've found your jackpot!

Feeling excited? Click here and get a glimpse of the top-rated tours and start planning your Big Island ecological escapade now!

Savor Local Flavors at Kona Farmers Market

Imagine you're walking in the sunshine, a gentle ocean breeze in your face, surrounded by the colorful bounty that Kona's earth and sea have to offer. That's right, you're at the Kona Farmers Market, where you can taste the local flavors and feel the community spirit!

This isn't your average farmers market. This up-close encounter with Kona's agricultural gems is a sensory expedition:

  • Sensational fruits that seem like they've been painted rather than grown.

  • Exquisite vegetables bursting with the kind of flavor that only comes from being picked at peak ripeness.

  • Heavenly flowers with fragrances so startling, you’d think they were concocted in a perfumer's laboratory.

If you're a flavor hunter, here's what's on the menu: try the liliko'i (passion fruit) for a tangy kick, or how about a slice of the sweetest papaya you've ever laid your taste buds on? Families, couples, and even the solo explorers - you're all in for a treat!

For the health-conscious, this is your Eden, with everything from organic greens to natural honey. While foodies and culinary adventurers will discover exotic spices and fresh coconut water straight from the shell.

Depending on how much you want to indulge in the cornucopia of tastes or chat with the friendly farmers, give yourself a good hour or two here. It’s the perfect chance to pick up unique, fresh souvenirs and get that ‘living like a local’ experience.

Oh, and the market's vibe? It's as chill as the island life itself, making everyone from toddlers to grandparents feel right at home.

So, stash away the maps for a moment, and while you’re here, relish the Kona’s pure tastes that'll tempt you to linger just a little bit longer. Need to know where and when? Just add visiting the Kona Farmers Market to your Big Island to-do list, and let the flavors lead the way.

Experience Traditional Hawaiian Luau in Kona

Picture this: a sunset that paints the sky in fifty shades of orange, your feet digging into the warm sand, and a luau leaf lei resting gently on your shoulders. Got that image? Good. Now let me introduce you to the ultimate Hawaiian party that's so much more than just a party. Yes, my friend, I'm talking about a traditional Hawaiian Luau right here in Kona, and it's a cultural bash you absolutely cannot miss.

Hawaiian luaus are about embracing the aloha spirit, and in Kona, they crank it up a notch. When you dig into that delicious kalua pork, just remember—this isn't any ordinary meal. That pork has been cooking underground for hours in an imu, which is like the world's best underground oven. Let's not forget the poi, lomi-lomi salmon, and haupia for dessert—talk about a flavor fiesta!

But it's not just about the food, no sir. The performances? Out. Of. This. World. Traditional hula dancers sway to the rhythm of live music under the starry sky, telling tales of Hawaiian legends and folklore with every move. Trust me, this isn't some touristy show—it's a slice of authentic Hawaiian culture served up fresh, just for you.

Think you'll just sit there, munching away? Ha, think again! You'll be up on your feet, hula-ing with the best of them, trying to keep up with the beat of the Polynesian drum. What's not to love about dancing under the stars?

And let me tell you, a Kona luau is perfect for everyone—whether you're with your family, flying solo, or looking for a romantic night out (imagine the brownie points you'll score with your better half).

You'll want to carve out the whole evening for this shindig, because trust me, once the party gets started, you won't want it to end. It's the kind of night that makes memories that stick harder than that sweet teriyaki on your ribs.

So go ahead, let your curiosity lead you to the luau grounds and immerse yourself in the heartbeat of Hawaii. Don't just eat the food or watch the dance, live the luau. And who knows, by the end of the night, you might even find yourself saying "Mahalo" like you mean it.

Uncover Petroglyphs at Puako's Ancient Fields

Imagine stepping back in time, where the lava rock beneath your feet whispers stories from hundreds of years ago. That's what you get at Puako's ancient fields. This isn't just a stroll in the park; you're about to be an archaeologist for a day—or at least feel like one.

These rocks aren't just rocks. They are a sacred canvas, etched with symbols by native Hawaiians long before your favorite Hawaiian shirt was even a thing. Hawaiian petroglyphs tell tales of old Hawaii, and you, my friend, are in for some serious history lessons. So, dust off that Indiana Jones hat, because this is where the adventure gets real.

  • Bring the kids: It's fantastic for families, seriously, children love a treasure hunt.

  • Make it a date: Couples find it surprisingly romantic, ancient love stories anyone?

  • Go solo: Perfect for some me-time with a side of historical enlightenment.

You'll need a sharp eye to spot the petroglyphs, so be camera-ready. Some depict humans, turtles, even canoes, showing snippets of ancient daily life. And the best part? It's not swarming with tourists. So take your time, drink in the mystique, and let your imagination run wild.

Spend an hour, maybe two, exploring. There's no rush. After all, these carvings have been here for centuries; they can wait a few minutes more. And when you're done, you're still in Kona, which means beaches, coffee farms, and sunsets are just around the corner. Come for the petroglyphs, stay for the aloha spirit.

And who knows, maybe you'll even find yourself carving your own story in Kona. Not literally, though—let's keep the carving to the ancients, yeah?


Q: What are some unique things to do in Kailua-Kona?

A: Explore Kailua-Kona's magic with a night dive among manta rays, trek to the mesmerizing Green Sand Beach, or sample the world-famous Kona coffee straight from the source.

Q: What can I do in Kailua-Kona today?

A: You can hit the beach, check out local markets, or visit historical sites like Hulihe‘e Palace, all while soaking up that sweet Hawaiian sun.

Q: Are there free things to do in Kailua-Kona?

A: Absolutely! Stroll through historic Kailua Village, visit the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area, or enjoy the gorgeous sunset at Kamakahonu Beach without spending a dime.

Q: What are some kid-friendly activities in Kona?

A: Keeping the kiddos entertained is easy! Visit the Kahalu'u Beach Park for some snorkeling, explore the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or enjoy a day at the Kona Le'a Plantation.

Q: How can I enjoy Kona, Hawaii on a budget?

A: Enjoy Kona's beauty and culture without breaking the bank by hiking to waterfalls, chilling at free beaches, and joining local cultural events.

Q: What are the must-do things on the Big Island?

A: Don't miss out on the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls, Mauna Kea Summit, and a traditional Hawaiian Luau. Each of these will leave you awestruck.

Q: Is Kailua-Kona worth visiting?

A: Heck yeah, it is! Kailua-Kona is a tropical paradise brimming with beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and outdoor adventures that are totally worth your time.

Q: What is Kona best known for?

A: Kona is world-renowned for its rich, aromatic Kona coffee, stunning coral reefs for snorkeling, and as the host of the iconic Ironman World Championship.

Q: Which is better Hilo or Kailua-Kona?

A: Depends on your vibe! Hilo is more laid-back with lush rainforests, while Kailua-Kona boasts sunny weather and vibrant beaches. Both have their own unique charms.

Q: What not to miss on the Big Island of Hawaii?

A: Make sure you witness the lava flows at Volcanoes National Park, stargaze on Mauna Kea, and take a serene dip in the thermal tide pools along the Puna coast.

Final Words

Well, there you have it. You've just journeyed through a treasure trove of experiences in Kailua-Kona, from snorkeling the Kapoho Tide Pools to stargazing atop Mauna Kea. Each stop promised its own slice of paradise, be it sipping on local craft beers, finding serenity on Makalawena Beach, or paddling the serene waters at Keauhou Bay. True to Hawaiian spirit, the blend of nature, culture, and the almighty ocean was ever-present.

Remember, the next time your feet find their way to the Big Island, sprinkle in some of these things to do in Kailua-Kona. You're not just adding activities to your itinerary but creating memories that will echo the warm Aloha spirit long after you've left. Here's to adventures that await in the heart of Hawaii!