best things to do in kailua-kona hawaii vacation ideas

10 Things to do in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Searching for the top things to do in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii? Hooray! We are here to help. Join us as we take an exciting look at all the best vacation ideas and must-do’s during your visit to the island of Hawaii. Kailua-Kona is a town on the west coast of Hawaii Island and is home to many white-sand beaches that provide the perfect conditions for a variety of water sports. This area is well defined by its warm weather, lush gardens, coffee farms, exotic birds, mighty volcanoes and historical landmarks. The ground you will tread was once home to many kings who cherished the region for its outstanding weather and waters. When you click on an affiliate link and buy something, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Submitted for your approval, here are some fun things to do in Kailua-Kona to check off your bucket list.



10. Kona Walking Food Tour

Explore your sensory palate by taking part in a true Hawaiian culinary tour that’s a real dream come true for any foodie. What could be better as you celebrate local, fresh and trendy fare with a fun and friendly guide? This remarkable experience starts off our list of the top things to do in Kailua-Kona. Eat, drink, and indulge as you savor delicious tastings of local food and drink at Kona’s best culinary and cultural hotspots. The area of Kailua-Kona is a culinary paradise itself with a rich food scene, driven by the bounty of local fruits, vegetables and seafood. During this 2.5 hour journey, meet at the Kona Pier where you’ll get to learn all about the local restaurant scene, as well as some valuable historical information. A special stop will be made at Hulihe’e Palace, which was once a summer vacation home for Hawaiian royalty. Then, you’ll get to stroll from place to place, eating and drinking your way down the colorful Ali’i Drive which will reveal delightful food, music and local boutiques. During your eating escapade, you’ll also get top recommendations for some of the best local restaurants to visit during your time in Kona. Your tasty adventure ends at Gypsea Gelato, as you enjoy creative gelato flavors including dairy-free and vegan options, with dog-friendly outdoor seating. As a special treat, receive a gift and coupons for several local establishments.

top things to do in kailua-kona hawaii kona walking food tour


9. Admission to Voyagers of the Pacific Luau

A show not to be missed, one of the most festive experiences to be had on the Hawaiian Islands is a sunset luau. Soak up the spirit of Polynesia at a Hawaiian luau brought to you from the Royal Kona Resort. This can’t be a list of the top things to do in Kailua-Kona without a traditional luau! Discover the culture of this tropical island through food, music and entertainment, all while overlooking Kailua Bay. Sip Mai Tais as the sun sets over the glimmering waters and savor a delicious all-you-can-eat dinner with time-honored fare. Begin your 3-hour journey with festive Hawaiian music and a shell lei greeting. It’s also the perfect opportunity to take photos, as it is then followed by interactive island arts and crafts demonstrations. Discover a wide range of standard cocktails, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages to drink at the open bar. Satisfy your taste buds as you enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet with Hawaiian and Asian long-time favorites. Savor authentic island fare such as honey soy braised beef, tender chicken and fresh-catch fish. Indulge in island-inspired side dishes including Hawaiian sweet potatoes, coconut rolls and Lomi Lomi salmon salad. Afterwards, grab a seat as the ceremonial dances, live ritualistic music and stories of the South Pacific captivate you, then at the climax, a Samoan fire dance.

cheap things to do in kailua-kona hawaii voyagers of the pacific luau


8. UFO Tour on the Big Island of Hawaii

Beam me up Scotty! Wherever your curiosity of UFO phenomenon or extraterrestrial life, there’s a good chance some of your questions may be answered with Big Island Ghost Tours. With it’s secluded location, Hawaii has been a hotbed of activity in the skies, not only for hundreds of years, but perhaps thousands. During this 2-hour tour, get ready to be introduced to an unseen world and  to witness these sightings firsthand with advanced 3rd-generation military night vision goggles. Plus, they will set up with a pair of binoculars and a laser pointer for you to experiment with. Get ready to be impressed by state-of-the-art apps for tracking satellites and identifying stars and constellations. Go all out when you add-on the Expanded CE-5 Meditation experience, as a spiritual advisor will guide you through a meditative journey to connect with your galactic family. First, meet the staff at the Kona Inn Shopping Village where they will provide you with snacks, bottled water, along with chairs and blankets. They will then take you by transportation to the foothills of Mt. Hualalai (Kailua-Kona) or Mauna Kea (Waikoloa Village), depending on weather and visibility. During the ride, you’ll get to hear about active UFO cases and local sightings from around the islands. It’s an experience you will soon not forget!

ufo tour on the big island


7. Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson on the Big Island

Have more fun by standing up with an outstanding experience via Kahaluu Bay Surf and Sea. There’s no better way to experience the natural beauty of Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean other than stand-up paddleboarding. A great alternative to surfing, it’s a hit with our things to do in Kailua-Kona list. Start by receiving a unique perspective on the waves and the ocean in this 2-hour journey. The experienced instructor will also teach you all the proper paddling techniques, including how to maneuver your board and what to look for on the water. First, meet your instructor at their surf shop, where you will briefly receive an introduction on the basics of SUP then pick out your board. With its gentle waves and protected cove, you’ll next head across to Kahalu’u Bay, which is one of the best spots on the Big Island for beginner surfers and paddlers. Make your way freely gliding in the bay, the channel, or ride a wave in the surf, it’s a complete blast. Be sure to keep an eye out for what lies below the brilliant blue waters, as you may come face to face with sea turtles, coral heads, and a variety of brightly colored tropical fish. Add some fun to your adventure, as you can rent some snorkeling gear then jump into the action from your board. By the end of your paddleboarding lesson, you’ll be hooked on the feeling of casually floating and paddling above the reef.

stand-up paddleboard lesson on the big island


6. Full-Day Hakalau Forest Reserve Bird Watching Adventure

Join Hawaii Forest and Trail on an unforgettable day of exploring restricted lands inside the Hakalau National Forest Reserve. Hakalau means “many perches,” as it’s been called by Hawaiians long ago, and  is still recognized today as critical fowl habitat. This journey will give you the best opportunity to connect to all the best sites, exotic birds and lush terrain on the island. The preserve itself contains some of the finest remaining stands of native montane rain forest in Hawaii and is habitat for 29 endangered species including seven types of birds. With a small group of just 9 guests, you’ll get to enjoy more of an intimate experience with your naturalist expert birding guide. Start with grabbing a seat in a Short Wheel Base Mercedes Sprinter, you’ll then get to search for rare native plants and wild animals, as well as the indigenous birds. The list is strong, as you look for the Akepa, Akiapolaau, Amakihi, Apapane, Hawaii Creeper, Iiwi, Elepaio, Omao, Io and the Pueo. Along the way, your instructor will help you search the treetops with your binoculars as you look for birds that may appear hidden to the ordinary eye. With traveler pick-up and drop-off offered, your momentous trek will include a deli-style lunch, snacks, beverages and filtered water, as well as the use of binoculars. What a fantastic idea for our list of the top things to do in Kailua-Kona!

full-day hakalau forest reserve bird watching adventure


5. Glass-Bottom Boat Reef Tour

Come aboard the “Marian” Kona’s glass bottom boat with Kailua Bay Charter Co. This custom-designed glass-bottom boat will allow you to view Kona’s underwater world with ease, without getting wet! Perfect for bringing you within inches of the coral reef, this custom-built vessel can easily sail above 2 1/2 feet of water. There will be no need to splash into the water for up-close views of the coastline, historical sights or to watch the marine animals in this 1-hour tour. Your naturalist narrator will share a few insights into reefs and the ecological forces that shape them. Learn where some of the island’s white sand comes from and get a special peek “behind the curtain” of fish mating rituals. All aboard as you leave the Kailua Pier, while your boat gently skims over the reef and you bask in the incredible sights above and below your feet. Continue your ride by proceeding into deeper waters, allowing you views of an underwater pinnacle and a great chance to watch as the bottom quickly drops off into the deep ocean. As you ride, look out for the spinner dolphins and humpback whales (during the winter seasons.) Plus, receive panoramic views of land, where you’ll be able to spot historic shoreline sights such as Hulihe’e Palace, Mokuaikaua Church and Kamakahonu, the final residence of King Kamehameha.

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4. Sailing by Catamaran on the Kona Coastlines

Take in the wonders of the island from the best seat in the house on board the Honi Olani, a 53-foot sailing catamaran. Let Hawaii Nautical take you off the grid in luxury, style and class on their premier 65-foot vessel for a 1.5 hour fun-filled day. Snag the best seat in, on and around the island and take in the coast how it was meant to be experienced. Sail along the blue Pacific waters as you will keep an eye out for marine wildlife and enjoy spectacular panoramas. Whether being land or sea, dramatic natural elements above and below make it a location that feels almost heavenly. As you make your way across the sensational seaboard, you will can glimpses of the past on the mainland throughout the Kona Coast from afar. Witness cultural sites, ancient temples and civilizations, as well as historical landmarks and top-tier resorts. Onboard, you can sit back and relax whilst soaking up the sun with a complimentary refreshment. Expect to see the playful spinner dolphins and the honu (green sea turtles) year round. During the winter season months of December through April, witness the legendary humpback in full action. Snorkel fins and vest, in addition to in-water assistance from the experienced crew will all be included. This is the excursion of a lifetime, so make it extraordinary.

top things to do in kailua-kona hawaii sailing by catamaran on the kona coastlines


3. Volcano Unveiled Tour in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Ready for an in-depth volcano experience like no other? Well, the team at Hawaii Forest and Trail will share a mix of natural and cultural history for its guests. Experience the Kilauea Volcano in a way never seen before by illuminating the stories behind the ever-changing landscape of the Big Island. With traveler pick-up and drop-off offered, you’ll meet your certified guide as your 11.5 hour trek begins. The guide will also select all the best routes based on the weather conditions. Your day begins with a scenic drive over the stark and stunning Saddle Road as you will stop and take in mesmerizing views of Maunakea and Maunaloa. From there you will head straight to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where newly formed hardened lava and changed terrain. Next, prepare yourself for the day’s hike which will be approximately 2-3 miles. See the transformative stages of Kilauea and the powerful red glow of Pele’s eruption. Afterwards, traverse into the Kauhi Caverns where you will receive exclusive access into a private lava tube, known for its 35 foot ceilings and rare yellow/gold microbial mats accenting the cave walls. Finally, enjoy a late afternoon “pau hana” (end of day ritual,) that includes appetizers sourced with local products grown from the very farm that surround this spectacular cave.

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2. Kona Coast Helicopter Tour

Witness the spectacular sights of Hawaii from high-above as you travel by helicopter with a spectacular flight from Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours. During this 30-minute aerial adventure, you’ll get window seating as you enjoy a bird’s-eye view of some of the island’s most famous locations and stunning landscapes. Meet at your designated destination and check-in time, then have a seat and make yourself comfortable. Making your flight a comfortable one, as you can choose from door-on or doors-off with the helicopter, at no extra cost. See the rugged coastline, hotels and resorts, historical places, and major beaches as your all-knowing pilot shares lively commentary through-out this unforgettable experience. Northbound, see the colorful coastline which includes the multi award-winning Manini‘owali Beach (Kua Bay) which features electric blue waters, white sands  and a strong surf. Southbound, get as far as Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay, which is traditionally a sacred site for ancient Hawaiians. It was also home to Lono-i-ka-makahiki and where Captain Cook made his second landing, defined by a 27-foot white obelisk that was erected to honor the famous seafarer. During the winter months of December to February, you want to keep a special eye out for the legendary humpback whale. Truly, an unforgetable day for the entire family as we countdown our top things to do in Kailua-Kona list!

kona coast helicopter tour


1. Atlantis Submarine Kona

All aboard for an unforgettable voyage as you plunge to the depths of 100 feet below the surface of the ocean with a 45-minute underworld adventure via Atlantis Submarines Kona. It’s the top pick with our look at the best things to do in Kailua-Kona. During your descent, you’ll soon discover the captivating submerged scenery, marine inhabitants and its isolated treasures. This unique undersea boat plays host to 48-passengers, as it is fully air-conditioned and environmentally friendly. Ensuring your security and level of comfort, a full safety briefing will be held before the tour begins. Get to see 96% of Kona that you can’t see any other way as you embark on your journey at sea. Be sure to grab a window seat as you prepare for the dive then look through the circular portholes to see schools of tropical reef fish flit above patches of sand and through caves. Highlights include a 18,000-year-old, 25-acre fringing coral reef, which boasts a vibrant ecosystem and another area that’s been hidden even from the people of Hawaii for centuries. See firsthand, all types of tropical marine life on this Big Island submarine tour, from schools of small manini and a convict tang to larger fish such as the big-eyed emperor fish that will slowly cruise above the colorful reef. What’s included? A sightseeing shuttle to a submarine dive site and audio narration in many languages.

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Best Online Travel Deals hopes you’ve taken some great points from our list of things to do in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Hopefully, we’ve helped with some cheap and affordable options, tourist attractions, fun-filled activities and all the best travel tips. If your searching for some great places to stay, consider the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Holua Resort, Kona Coast Resort, Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort, Wyndham Royal Sea Cliff Resort, Royal Kona Resort  and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kailua-Kona, an IHG Hotel. As they say on the islands, “A hui hou” or…until we meet again!





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