Kona Hawaii Vacation Ideas

Kona Hawaii Vacation Ideas #1: Ancient Petroglyphs - Two interesting places that are good for a day outing is the Puako Petroglyph Preserve and the King’s Trail Petroglyphs. These two historic spots are an easy 30 minute drive up the coast from Kailua Kona. Here you can see one of the largest collections of ancient rock drawings in Hawaii. These lava carvings were made by indigenous people, some of them dating back 3,000 years.

There’s a 1.5 mile long trail – Malama Trail - that leads from the Holoholokai Beach and into the forest where you can see the simple human stick figures and other drawings made by the ancient citizens of Hawaii.

Nearby is the King’s Trail Petroglyphs site with more Petroglyphs. This site was actually a village that was lived in up until 200 years ago. There are as many as 3,000 of these mysterious lava carvings depicting people, animals, birds and other aspects of life in Hawaii.

#2: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Due east of Kona, in the center of the Big Island, is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are two volcanoes in the park. They are Mauna Loa and Kilauea. These are two of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Mauna Loa is the park’s highest volcano. If you are into hiking, the volcano is accessible on foot using the park’s 18 miles hiking trail. Or you can take a scenic drive to the volcano summit by using Saddle Road

There are a lot of potential hazards to a trip up Mauna Loa so do your homework and be prepared. Kilauea is in another part of the park, further east. You can take a short hike to the crater’s rim. You can also hike through the Thurston Lava Tube, a dark, wet tunnel formed by lava flow.

Kona Hawaii vacation ideas #3: Kealakekua Bay - About 12 miles south of Kona is Kealakekua Bay. This bay is considered one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. It’s a marine sanctuary and an underwater state park with crystal clear waters and loads of tropical fish.

There’s a rafting company here called Captain Zodiac which will take you on a rafting and snorkeling adventure boat ride down the Kona Coast. The trip is on a 16 passenger rubber boat and includes snorkeling in the bay and a picnic at their snorkel picnic site

Another company, Fair Wind offers a sailing and snorkeling trip in Kealakekua Bay. This trip is on a 100-foot long catamaran that holds 100 passengers. One of their specialties is the famous nighttime manta and snorkel dive trip. The bay is teeming with manta rays and nighttime is when they are feeding and the most active.

#4: Kona Family Fishing Charters - Spend the day enjoying a family fishing adventure out on the beautiful waters surrounding the Big Island of Hawaii. Kona Family Fishing Charters specializes in fishing day trips from Kona Hawaii that truly cater to families.

Here's how Lee Cochran, from Kona Family Fishing Charters, describes their service.

Kona Family Fishing Charters
Kona Family Fishing Charters

My partner, Dennis Cintas and I found that there was a need for a different "family-friendly" style of fishing trip rather than the typical ones currently being offered in Honokohau Harbor. We interviewed 25 captains here in the Kona to find the best 7 that could operate these trips. Currently most operators take people out for a day of trolling and keep the most of the fish for themselves to sell.

Most of them view kids as a pain and an added stress/risk to their day. They consider the trip a success only when a big fish is reeled in,rather than paying attention to the overall experience. This was fine 20-30 years ago when Kona was an "Ernest Hemingway" type of fishery with deep pocketed clients who were after big marlin. Now families make up the majority of trips and their needs are much different.

The captains we chose are all seasoned veteran captains that are engaging and have out-going friendly personalities. (this was harder to find than you can imagine) They are excited about taking children fishing and view it as a way to educate the next generation of fishermen. They understand that happy children translates to happy parents. They involve the kids in a much more hands on type fishing from the reef where a catch is almost guaranteed.

Regardless of the fishing action these individuals are focused on the experience. These boats also offer combo trips with snorkel, scuba, whale watching, dolphin encounter and sunset cruises. They provide breakfast or lunch, drinks, and will fillet and package as much of your catch as you like. While our focus is connecting families with these types of experiences, our captains are equally as skilled with adults and corporate groups.

Thanks Lee! Kona Family Fishing Charters is a great contribution for family vacation ideas in Hawaii.

#5: Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park - A short drive south of Kona is the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. This is an ancient sacred site which provided safety and refuge for defeated Hawaiian warriors and law breakers seeking to avoid the traditional death sentence. Today this is still considered a blessed place and it projects an aura of peacefulness and tranquility to visitors.

One of the attractions here is a restored 16th century village offering a glimpse into the past. The park is well suited to explore on foot. One of the attractions here is a restored 16th century village offering a glimpse into the past. See the huge rock wall protecting the grounds, the carved wooden idols, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles feeding on the shore, canoes made of kao wood and coconut fibers.

This is a place where you can slow down and enjoy some truly breathtaking scenery. Make sure you bring a camera because this spot is a photographers dream. There’s a spot near the City of Refuge Park entrance that is excellent for snorkeling so bring your gear.

Kona Hawaii vacation ideas #6: Anaehoomalu Bay - For a day at the beach that is just a short drive north of Kona, try Anaehoomalu Bay. This is a good swimming beach as the there is an offshore reef that keeps out the strong surf and the sand has a gentle slope as it heads out into the bay.

This also makes the beach popular for snorkeling and diving. This beach is also a very popular windsurfing spot because there is almost always a steady wind blowing in towards the beach. You can rent the equipment and also take lessons at the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Hotel.

Nearby Hapuna Beach is also an excellent beach for swimming, body boarding and bodysurfing. Snorkeling here is considered to be as good as it gets anywhere along the Kona coast. In fact, many would argue that Hapuna Beach is the best beach on the Big Island. To get the best beach experience be sure to come during the summer as wintertime kicks up the waves to dangerous levels.

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