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What to do in Kona? There is so much to do on the Kona side of Hawaii’s Big Island that you will want to spend at least a week. There is no end to the list of “perfect days” you can plan in the Kona area of the Big Island. Most visitors fly into Kona International Airport and rent a car. A rental vehicle will give you the flexibility you’ll want to enjoy your stay on the Big Island.
Many flights from the US mainland arrive midday Hawaii Standard Time. So you can start by grabbing some sandwiches at Pine Tree Cafe and head to your accommodations. Depending on the location, hit the pool – or the beach – or both – before grabbing some pizza and beer to-go from Kona Brewing Company.
Depending on what time zone you are traveling from, you may wake up early – so take a walk as the sun comes up over the island. For breakfast, head to Island Lava Java, for some pancakes, island style, or a giant cinnamon roll. Everything is best enjoyed with a cup of Kona coffee, of course! Or head to Green Flash to grab some breakfast sandwiches.
You can either rent snorkel gear from Snorkel Bob’s and head to Kahulu’u Beach Park for some of the island’s best snorkeling, or head out on a half-day cruise with SeaQuest from Keauhou Bay. Lunchtime means poke time – so head to Da Poke Shack before they sell out for the day. If you like, you can enjoy it at Magic Sands, or drive a little further to Aiopio Fish Trap for a beachside poke picnic. Later on, grab some take out from Sundried Specialties and dinner is served!
Kona Can’t-Miss Stops: What to do in Kona
There are so many great choices in the Kona area, but here are a few ideas to get you started on what to do in Kona.
Great pizza and great beer always go hand in hand – and at Kona Brewing Company, the relationship is even more direct. The spent grain from the brewing process forms a part of their signature crust recipe. The toppings range from the common to the creative. I recommend the local options – the luau includes kalua pork and pineapple salsa, and anything with Portuguese sausage. On the northern end of town, two blocks up mauka of Ali’i Drive.
Outstanding texture with a wide variety of flavors – plus the option to have Dole Whip in the center of your concoction! A perennial island treat, at the northern end of Ali’i Drive in Kailua-town.
A go-to for breakfasts like the island-style pancakes and waffles (with bananas, macadamia nuts and coconut syrup) served with a side of Portuguese sausage, Island Lava Java is open all day and serves sandwiches, salads and other mains all with an ocean view. In Kailua-town on the southern end of Ali’i Drive.
Just south of town in the front of the Kona Bali Kai condominiums, Da Poke Shack has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and has received numerous other accolades. Fresh fish, with great poke recipes, along with a few solid options for non-fish eaters make this a great choice.
So maybe this isn’t technically in Kailua-town, but it’s certainly in the Kona district, and close enough to town to make the trip worthwhile. The oldest restaurant in Hawaii, Manago is a step back in time, in a good way. Go for the pork chops- which are served with a family-style sides for the table (as are other lunch entrees). Burgers and sandwiches are served with crispy house-made chips.
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