Despite it’s larger size, the Hawaiian island of Kailua-Kona is relatively empty in comparison to its sister islands. The vast island is covered in abrasive volcanic ash and rocks as far as the eye can see, and the volcano on the island is actually still visibly active. In fact, there are some roads that have been slowly covered in lava. A small village has been threatened by the creeping flow for years, with local radio stations covering how much closer it gets by the day.
The western coast of Kailua-Kona is filled with condos and resorts, with some of the best beaches tucked away and renamed by locals. If you are planning a trip out to the Hawaiian islands, here are the Top 5 Experiences you can’t miss in Kailua:
Organic Coffee and Fruit farms
Get your fix of famous Kona coffee as you drive up the coast. There are many farms that sell roasted and raw macadamia nuts, coffee, mangos, avocados and pineapples, and most of the farms are organic and family owned. It just doesn’t get better than that!
Here are a few of my favorite stops:
*make sure you try the raw macadamia nuts here. Super tasty!
Ka Lae Coffee:
*They have homemade sweets including pies!
Punalu’U Beach: Black Sand Beach
Take your rental car around the full island, which can be driven from coast-to-coast in little under a day. Along the Southern Coast is a small black sand beach, with frigid deep water swirling around the surf. The sand is as black as asphalt, and makes the water look ominous and foreboding. Just along the waters edge, souvenier and poke shops line the beach side, perfect for an afternoon snack.
There is so much to do on the east side of the island. It’s usually the rainier area, so be prepared for lower temperatures and a greener climate.
- Hang out in underground lava caves (unless you have seen the movie The Descent…). The caves stretch back over 25 miles!
- Take a sneak peek at the waterfalls that surround the city.
- Cool off with a pineapple cocktail at one of the many boutique restaurants.
- Snorkel with tons of fish at some of the best spots on the eastern shore of Kona:
- Take a drive down highway 130 to see Pahoa, the smal town threatened by lava flow.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
I highly recommend spending a late afternoon (and evening) exploring the Volcanoes National Park. Not only will you see all of the interesting geological features of the area, but the evening glow of the live Volcano is worth waiting until after dark to see.
Beach Bummin ‘
Hit up some of the best beaches in the world, right here on the Big Island. The locals call one of my favorites “Beach 69”, although its on Google Maps as “Waialea Bay Beach”. Either name is code for gorgeous waters, bountiful fish, and perfect surf.
On the east side, snorkel in and around volcano rocks at Carlsmith Beach Park or Richardson Ocean Park.
What other adventures have you gotten into on The Big Island? I’m headed back later this year and can’t wait to explore more! Any tips and hints are much appreciated. 🙂