Just so you know, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Links may be affiliate links, which won't cost you anything extra when you purchase. For full affiliate disclosures, click here.
Aloha, visitors. Hawai’i travel policies and procedures change frequently. Always check the Hawai’i Safe Travels site for the latest information. Mahalo for your support.
Are you ready to build your Kona itinerary?
Mix and match the best of Kona to eat, shop, and swim your way through one of our favorite places in the world. Plan a perfect Kona day. And another perfect Kona day. And yet another perfect Kona Day. With plenty of outdoor dining, open-air shopping areas, and great water opportunities, Kona is the perfect place for physically distant travel.
Kona Itinerary: Eat
Breakfast: Green Flash OR Island Lava Java
It’s a tie for your best breakfast bet in Kona. If you are looking for a quick bite – and an excellent cup of coffee – on your way to the beach (or volcano!) look no further than Green Flash Coffee. If you want to sit outside and enjoy an ocean view with your meal, and have a more substantial brunch, then choose Island Lava Java (bonus points if you actually finish the giant cinnamon roll!)
Lunch: Da Poke Shack or Kona Grill House
The poke bowl from Da Poke Shack (1 scoop rice, 2 poke choices and a side) is a great option for a portable, beach-ready lunch. Take out only from this small poke place with big flavors. And, unlike some poke shops, there are a few cooked menu items for those in your group who don’t “do” raw fish. If you are south of town, it’s worth a stop at Kona Grill House, (formerly Sundried Specialties), in Kealakekua. Poke bowls, freshly cooked fish, and homemade desserts will all be calling your name. Perfect after a snorkel trip with SeaQuest, or a visit to the Captain Cook Monument.
Afternoon Snack: Scandinavian Shave Ice
A dizzying array of options- choose a “menu” option, or make your own creation including Dole whip, ice cream or sorbet centers, and dozens of syrup flavors. All on a foundation of powdery shave (not shaved!) ice that guarantees a line worth the (physically-distanced) wait at Scandinavian Shave Ice.
Dinner: Kona Brewing Company
Take out or eat in (or out) at this iconic Kona brewpub. You can taste varieties that never ship to mainland locations (and some that are never bottled!). If you do take out (which we ALWAYS do!), time your pick up for Growler Happy Hour and save on growler fills and refills.
Kona Itinerary: Shop
Ohana means family in Hawaiian – so no better place to shop for your ohana than with our Piece of Mind Retreat ohana. Owned by our friends and neighbors, and with locations both on Ali’i Drive and at Ali’i Gardens Marketplace, you are sure to find just the right gift for your mainland friends, young and old.
Want to support dozens of local artisans AND benefit a native short-eared owl preservation effort all while finding just the right gift for your friends and family? Look no further than Pueo Boutique. One location is tucked away just off Ali’i Drive in Banyan Court Mall; the other is up mauka (toward the mountain, away from the water) a bit, off Walua Road. Both offer a well-curated selection of special gifts, including stunning jewelry (that you can also shop on Etsy!) and fun kids items from our favorite island toy company, Keiki Kaukau.
You may not think of shopping for anything but groceries at a market, but at Island Naturals, you would be missing out. In addition to dried fruits, macadamia nuts and other island treats (they do have great produce- but not for mainland travel!), there are soaps, lotions, and other locally-made specialty items that will make someone’s day – including yours.
In due time you will be able to visit Kona Historical Society sites in person again, but you can support their efforts – and find some unique items – by checking out their online shop. My recent purchase? The digital Portuguese Heritage Cookbook: homemade malasadas? Yes, please!
Kona Itinerary: Swim
This low-key, family friendly beach is slightly north of town, toward the airport, meaning it’s often our very first AND very last stop on island visits. Tucked away, a little off the beaten path, it’s rare to NOT see honu (sea turtles) here. There is shade, and a very shallow, kid-friendly area.
Walk-in snorkeling at it’s best. Plus tide pools and rock scrambling for those who prefer keeping their heads above water.
The Kua Bay section of Kekaha Kai State Park is likely the image you have in your mind of “Hawaiian Beach.” Powdery sand, crystalline waters, and rolling waves are what you’ll find at this gorgeous beach, north of Kailua town in Kukio.
Of course, if you’re staying with us, there is no need to leave to go for a swim. The pool at the Piece of Mind Retreat offers a waterfall, several fountains and a tanning shelf, plus no need to search for parking. If your crew enjoys sand, simply pop up an umbrella at the end of the sand volleyball court and build sand castles to your heart’s content.
Want some tips to plan your next vacation – maybe even to the Piece of Mind Retreat? Click here to download our Ultimate Autism Vacation Planner.