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Big Island Travel Guide

  • Photo: Vacclav / Shutterstock

Kailua-Kona

A fun and quaint seaside town, Kailua-Kona has the souvenir shops and open-air restaurants you'd expect in a small tourist hub, plus a surprising number of historic sites. Quite a few nice oceanfront restaurants here offer far more affordable fare than those at the resorts on the Kohala Coast and in Waimea.

Except for the rare deluge, the sun shines year-round. Mornings offer

cooler weather, smaller crowds, and more birds singing in the banyan trees; you'll see tourists and locals out running on Alii Drive, the town's main drag, by about 5 am every day. Afternoons sometimes bring clouds and soft rain, but evenings often clear up for cool drinks, brilliant sunsets, gentle trade winds, and lazy hours spent gazing out over the ocean. Though there are better beaches north of town on the Kohala Coast, Kailua-Kona is home to a few gems, including a fantastic snorkeling beach (Kahaluu) and a tranquil bay perfect for kids (Kamakahonu Beach, in front of the Courtyard King Kamehameha hotel).

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