First Timer’s Guide to Kailua-Kona

Kailua-Kona, considered a quaint seaside town boasts a plethora of open-air restaurants and souvenir shops. One of the main cities in the Big Island of Hawaii, Kailua-Kona has an unmatched history with plenty of historic sites that are reasons alone to justify a visit. Here is a travel guide for all those who are planning to visit Kailua-Kona for the first time.

How to Get Around Kailua-Kona?

One of the main airports in Kailua-Kona is Keahole Airport, located about 11 miles from the city center. Although you may find buses that head to the city center or the hotel, the best and cheap way to get around the city is by renting a car as it not wise to rely on public transportation. You’ll find many car rental options outside the airport.

Where to Stay?

Hotels in Kailua-Kona are not only cheap but are known for their exquisite hospitality. If you’re on a budget, hotels like Kona Seaside Hotel and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kailua Kona offer rooms starting from $100 per night. If you’d like a quality accommodation experience by spending a few extra bucks, book a room at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel or Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic ka’upulehu where rooms start from $500 per night.

What are Some of the Things to See and Do in Kailua-Kona?

Hulihe'e Palace Photo by Jesse I. via

Located about 15 minutes from Keahole Airport is the historic Kailua village, a seaside town in Kona Coast. Take a stroll on the Alii Drive road and explore some of the most important historic spots of Hawaii Island. One of Hawaii’s earliest churches is Mokuaikaua Church. Built in 1838, Hulihee Palace was once a summer vacation home to the Hawaiian Royalty. Today the palace features an array of Victorian artifacts and Koa wood furniture. Walk across the Kailua Pier to visit the last royal residence of King Kamehameha I called Ahuhena Heiau.

For a better understanding of the area’s historic significance, sign up for a 90-minute walking tour across the Kailua Village.

Where Can I Taste the Famous Kona Coffee?

When in Kailua-Kona, one of the things you must not miss is the Kona Coffee. You can take a tour on the coffee plantations to learn about how the local coffee is grown and produced. Head to Island Lava Java to sample some of the finest Kona Coffee in town, while you enjoy live music breakfast and the beautiful backdrop of the coast.

Where Can I Eat?

Kailua-Kona Photo by Jesse I vi

In the past decade, Kailua-Kona has seen a little headway in the food scene. With multitude of farmers markets held in town, you can easily eat like a local. Head to Mamalahoa Highway to try palatable organic produce like sweet strawberry papayas, guanabana, and honey bell tangelos. If you’re in for surfing near Lanihau Shopping Center, Kona Tacos offer flavored fish tacos and pork burritos for $6.75.

What is the Best Time to Book My Vacation?

Although Kailua-Kona is a year-round tropical destination, the best time to visit is between November and March. The coolest weather is in February hovering at around 23°, while the warmest weather is in August at 27 °C.

Featured Image by Joe Ratliffe via

This post is published as part of the Hipmunk City Love Project.

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