Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hawaii’s bigger cities? The Kona coastline along the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island, including the seaside village of Kailua-Kona, is known for its historic landmarks, calm waters, and laid-back vibes. Enjoy some snorkeling in the tropical waters teeming with sealife, or kick back and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches. You can also embark on a fishing charter, enjoy a whale-watching cruise, or try water sports such as parasailing. Whether you seek an island adventure or a relaxing beach resort getaway, choose from hundreds of incredible Kona vacation rentals. Here are the most picturesque places in and around Kona to check out.
A vibrant beach town built from a reformed fishing village, Kailua-Kona is the touristic hub of the Big Island’s sunny west side. Here you find everything from sprawling beach resorts to cozy beach homes overlooking the bay. Looking for some fun? Kayak along the calm shoreline, or sunbathe on the sandy beaches before storing your beach recliners in your vacation rental. Walk around town to explore art galleries, waterfront parks, beach-side cafes, seafood restaurants, and Tiki bars.
Situated just south along the coast from Kailua-Kona, this island community is home to luxurious beach resorts and lava rock shorelines with unbeatable sunset views. Enjoy a picnic under the shade of palm trees at one of the beach-front parks, or take your family to the lifeguard-manned Magic Sands Beach Park to play in the waves.
The next coastal village to the south blends natural beauty with top island entertainment. Head to the historic Keauhou Shopping Center to see a cultural performance or browse boutiques, or check out the sprawling greens of Kona Country Club. You can also walk to Kahaluu Beach Park from your vacation rental to kick back on the sand or try some surfing.
Book your stay at Kalaoa just north of Kailua-Kona for easy access to and from Kona International Airport. Here you can explore Kaloko-Honokohau, a historic wildlife refuge where visitors can view petroglyphs and hike to remote beaches with unspoiled stretches of soft sand. This is also a great place to enjoy some golf at Kohanaiki Golf & Ocean Club or take a speedboat or yacht out on the open ocean. For a laid-back afternoon, head to Makalawena Beach, a quiet cove known for its beautiful lava pools.
The winding residential roads near Kukio Bay take you to upscale villas, beach homes, and charming hotels with balconies overlooking the Pacific. practice your swing at Hualalai Golf Course, or make your way to Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay. For even more fun in the sun, stop by Kikaua Point Park, a pristine sand beach where kids can splash in the calm pools created by the surrounding rock formations.
Located just south of Holualoa and Kahaluu-Keauhou, Honalo is a place where you can wake up to the smell of authentic Kona coffee at one of the villas or cottages nestled near the sprawling coffee plantations. The hillside community is just a short drive from the beaches of the Kona Coast and you find plenty of coffee houses serving up fresh brewed coffee and pastries.
The next village south along the Kona Coast is a humble residential community with quirky drive-in burger joints and coffee farms. The Club at Hokuli’a offers an exciting game of golf, and the mixture of beaches and rocky shoreline are begging to be explored. The community also features some historic sites such as the King’s Mansion and the Greenwell Store Museum. If you get a chance, catch a movie or performance at the historic Aloha Theatre.
8. Captain Cook
Named for the place where Captain James Cook first set foot on the island, this historic area boasts ample opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking. Down-to-earth bed-and-breakfasts, hostels, and vacation homes offer the perfect place to kick back after a day of exploring the Kona Coffee Living History Farm or hiking to the monument at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park nestled on the shoreline.
Just south of Captain Cook is a tiny community with beach houses and humble cottages overlooking Honaunau Bay. Step out of your rental to explore the burial grounds and replica villages of Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, or look for tide pools along the rocky shoreline. You can also find opportunities for snorkeling and snapping photos of the steep cliffs of the coastline from a lookout point.
This hilly village just inland of Honaunau is a quiet getaway where bed-and-breakfasts and vacation homes overlook coffee plantations. Staying here puts you just a short drive from the Big Island’s famous volcanoes such as Mauna Loa, where you can hike to take in panoramic vistas of the lush forests and coastlines. You can also drive further south along the Mamalahoa Highway to tour coffee plantations, get some fresh produce from a fruit stand and enjoy breathtaking views of the forest reserve.