Kailua-Kona stretches out along a lava-lined coast of Hawaii Island’s western shore. Along this expanse of paradise you’ll find coffee farms and historic sites, postcard worthy beaches and natural wonders that include an active volcano. Visitors to the heart of the Big Island will have their pick of activities and outdoor pursuits, but to get you started in the right direction, we offer these top 10 things to do in Kona:
- Watersports -- From surfing to paddle boarding, kayaking to parasailing there’s plenty to keep you busy in the turquoise waters of Hawaii Island.
- Take a helicopter tour -- There’s no better view of the island than from the air. Climb aboard a helicopter that will take you to a secluded waterfall picnic or a thrilling aerial ride over top a simmering volcano.
- Tour the local chocolate factory -- Kona’s Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory features confections made from 100 percent Hawaiian cocoa beans grown, hand-picked and sun-dried right here in Kona.
- Drop a line -- Sport fishing in Hawaii is among the best on the planet. Charter boat tours include tackle, ice and knowledgeable fishing guides.
- Take a garden tour -- The Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden showcases the natural flora and fauna of old Kona.
- Hit the Beach -- With plenty of options to chose from, there’s no way to go wrong with a day lounging on the sand. Check out Manin’owali Beach in Kua Bay, Makalawena or head for Kihola Bay to see the black sand beaches and turtles that lay about in the warm island sun.
- Hulihe’e Palace -- If history is what you’re after, head to this bit of Old Kona where Hawaiian royalty once lived.
- Go whale watching -- Just off the shore of the Big Island scores of dolphin and whale pods frolic in the sea. Take a boat excursion or even try swimming with the dolphins.
- Visit a coffee plantation -- Kona coffee is some of the best in the world. Visit one of the small coffee farms in the hills where you can tour a plantation, learn about the growing process and sample the delicious roasts.
- Ali’i Drive -- This mile-long street features a variety of retail shops, eateries, galleries and souvenir shops. It’s a great way to enjoy the bay and the incomparable views along this ocean side boulevard. While you’re here, make sure to pop in Hawaii’s oldest house of worship, Mokuaikaua Church.
Kona is just one of the stops on YMT Vacations Hawaii Four-Island Tour. This 13-day excursion takes you from the world-famous Waikiki Beach to Volcanoes National Park, the mystical Fern Grotto to the moving site of the USS Arizona Memorial. To learn more, or to make your reservations to join us, call your travel agent or 800-922-9000.