Those who prefer to have their Hawaii vacations simple, the Big Island of Hawaii does not disappoint. Larger than all the other island put together, The Big Island experience is spread wide and far over several districts each with it’s own character and requires a bit more time than the other islands to fully enjoy and appreciate. But by far the most popular area is the Kona side of the Big Island.
Many island visitors are quite familiar with the Kona Coast of the Big Island. Although the Big Island has two airports, the Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) is the most often used by island visitors because of it’s proximity to the numerous vacation condos and homes and mega resorts location all along the Kona and Kohala coasts.
Second only in size to Hilo, the Kailua-Kona area is the center of activity along the Kona Coast. Clinging on the slopes of Hualalai, the Kailua-Kona area is hardly a flat or latticed experience. Carved out of the mountainside, narrow two lane highways cling to the contours of the mountain and views of the Pacific Ocean are always just a glance away. Although the town has many historical sights along with a Costco, Wal-Mart, Target and even a K-Mart, rocky lava shoreline makes white sandy beaches almost non-existent.
Located about an hour drive north from the Kona International Airport at Keahole the panoramic views widen to include miles of lava fields and ocean views. AS Queen Kaahumanu Highway stretches along the coastline, the resort areas of Kaupulehu, Waikoloa, Mauna Lanai and Hapuna will come into view. Many choose to daytrip from Kona to spend a day on those picture perfect white sand beaches that have names like Hapuna, Spencer and Anaehoomalu.
Those wanting to shy away from the more manicured experiences of mega-resorts find fun and affordability in the Kona area. From oceanfront condos walking distance to town to private cottages concealed in Kona coffee plantations on the slopes of Mauna Loa in South Kona.
Those who prefer to stay close to town will find that there is something for everyone to do. Shoppers will enjoy wandering the small shopping complexes and farmer’s market along Alii Drive, while those who enjoy deep sea fishing will no doubt want to spend a day in pursuit of an ono, marlin or mahi mahi by commanding their own adventure in a Kona Boat Rental at Honokohau Harbor. Those who enjoy the ocean will include a day at Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling or kayaking while those more adventurous will find that night dives with manta rays to be unforgettable while a visit to Puuhonua o Honaunau will find a peaceful park setting of ancient Hawaiian City of Refuge along with cultural demonstrations and self-guided tours. Those who love oceanfront dining can enjoy views of the Kailua pier at Kona Canoe Club or a more upscale experience at Anthony’s By The Sea along Alii Drive. Those looking to experience genuine local food will be happy to find award-winning poke at Nakoa Pabre’s Umekes along Hualalai Road in the heart of Kailua Kona.
The Big Island has lots of charm and beauty and is perfect for those who like to load the family into that rental car and enjoy a day of exploring and relaxing. Or share a quite day on the beach with your significant other. E komo kai!