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what to do in kailua kona

What are the top 10 things to do in Kona, Hawaii? The Big Island is not only the largest isle within the Hawaiian chain, but the youngest. Still home to a rich cultural history– the Big Island has risen in popularity over the years making it a popular destination for tourists and new island residents alike. Kailua-Kona especially has made a name for itself over the years as being an enthralling place to visit. Aside from the active town center and rich cultural history which lines the old royal palaces and houses in the center– the NorthWest side of the island is home to some incredible wildlife.

If you are in the midst of planning your tropical getaway and are looking for what to do in Kailua-Kona, then keep reading! We’ll run you through our favorite activities as locals and how you can secure your spot aboard.

Top 10 Things To Do In Kona, Hawaii

1. Embark on a Morning Snorkel Adventure Along Kailua-Kona’s Coast

One of the most popular things to do in Kailua-Kona, by far, is embarking on a guided snorkeling tour of the Kona coast. The best tours offered, leaving from Kona’s town center, are morning snorkels that explore the island’s 2 greatest reefs and more! There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when embarking on a snorkel tour of Kailua-Kona, which we have laid out in our previous article, most important is to book a snorkel tour that aligns with your comfort and experience level.

If you are someone new to snorkeling, maybe having only practiced breathing with the mask and snorkel– as well as swimming– in a pool, then we highly recommend that you choose a shorter tour with only one destination, which is likely one that is in a sheltered bay. Alternatively, if you are nowhere new to snorkeling, and are game for a day of jumping in and out of the water exploring the various marine life and sea caves, then we recommend you choose an excursion that is longer and takes you to as many spots as possible!

2. Take A Snorkel Tour Around Captain Cook in South Kona

Are you searching for breathtaking reefs populated with hundreds of tropical fish? Look no further than Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay. This site is not only home to one of the most historically significant interactions between colonizers and the native Hawaiian population, but it serves as one of the most popular reefs in the entirety of Hawaii to go snorkeling.

While the reefs along the rim of the bay are extremely popular for humans and marine life alike, their diversity and size allots for equal opportunity to explore for all of the bay’s visitors. The best way to snorkel along these reefs is to book a snorkel tour with an accredited boat; this will allow you to get a position on the best spot on the reef as well as venture to the deeper waters of the bay where you may see pods of Hawaiian spinner dolphins.

3. Explore Kailua-Kona’s Historic Town Center

Kona town is an incredible, small city. There is so much to uncover as it relates to Hawaiian history, as well as to have a great time with friends and family of all ages! There are so many great restaurants who serve everything from local grinds to your back home favorites. There is so much to explore by foot, car, or even rental-bike. We highly recommend that you spend at least one day of your vacation seeing all there is to do in Kailua-Kona’s town center.

4. Set Off on a Night Time Snorkeling Adventure with Kona’s Manta Rays

One of the most popular tours nowadays, just outside of Kona town, is a night time snorkel with the Big Island’s manta rays! This is one of the last remaining facilitated close encounters with the island’s marine life. What’s greater is that you are only able to embark on this tour with one of Kona’s trusted tour boats, meaning that you can be assured the experience is adhering to environmentally responsible and safe practices– ensuring that if you listen to the experts aboard, you will have an amazing time.

You can’t go wrong with a trip to Kailua-Kona, there is so much to do, all you have to figure out is where to start!

5. Relax on the Big Island’s Magic Sands Beach

Spend a day soaking up the sun, swimming, and bodyboarding on this popular beach. The white sand is perfect for every activity. Right near the heart of Kona Town, you can easily go from lounging on the shore to hitting up some of the best shopping and restaurants in the town center.

While convenience is at the heart of this wonderful little beach– don’t forget to catch a magnificent sunset while you’re there.

6. Book Your Own Private Boat Charter of Kona, Hawaii’s Coast

If you want an experience along Kona Coast that is unique to you, there is no better option than booking a private boat charter. When you book a boat charter with an accredited captain and crew on the Big Island, you are opening up a world of adventure that you can completely customize to fit the bucket list of yourself and your group.

Travel to the hidden sea caves and lava tubes along the coast, snorkel at some of the most popular or hidden reefs, and end your time out on the water, to look over the side of the boat and you may get to see pods of dolphins jumping out of the water against the sunset. The underwater world is your oyster, in Kona!

7. Go Whale Watching in Kona, Hawaii!

A whale watching adventure is by far and away one of the most coveted experiences that one can have during the winter months, across the entirety of the Hawaiian islands. The Big Island, and Kona in particular, are especially known for their native and migrant whale populations– the biggest and most renowned being the humpback whales. These whales travel down from the cold waters of Alaska to mate and give birth to their young in the warm waters that surround the Big Island of Hawaii. So, if you are looking to have a safe and magical close encounter, be sure to book yourself a spot ASAP aboard Kona’s whale discovery adventure tours!

8. Have A Safe Dolphin Encounter While Aboard Kona’s Boats

Over the years it has become clear that the safest way to have an encounter with one of the revered native dolphin populations, is not to swim within their pods which may have baby spinner dolphins, or track them down just to dive into the water as they play, but to observe them from a safe distance aboard one of Kona’s accredited tour boats, like those of Dolphin Discoveries. This not only ensures that the dolphins are kept safe for generations to marvel at and enjoy, but you and your family are safe and have a fun and educational time! Since this is one of the most popular things to do in Kona Hawaii, be sure to book your spot aboard a dolphin discovery tour soon!

9. Visit The Volcano Park- Just Outside Kona, Hawaii

While it is no secret that our favorite things to do in Kona, Hawaii are out on and in the beautiful tropical waters, there is still wondrous native landscape to enjoy. The Big Island is not only the biggest island within the chain of Hawaiian isles, but it is the youngest. There are two active volcanoes on the island, and if you happen to be visiting while one is erupting, there may be a safe way to view the lava ooze just outside of Kona at the volcano national park! Be sure to ask your local guide or guest concierge about this wondrous opportunity.

10. Take The Family Out On a Kona Coast Boat Trip

The best part of vacationing in Hawaii is arguably creating lasting memories with your family! One of our favorite things for the whole family to get involved in is a boat tour along Kona’s coastline! Why? because you will not only get the opportunity to play in the water, but you will have the chance to explore the hidden lava tubes and sea caves of the mystical island!