Talk about multiple personalities! Kailua-Kona is first and foremost a quintessential tourist town, with a relentless lineup of coastal condos, souvenir shops and sunburnt pleasure-seekers trolling for a meal or a drink. Further upland, it's old-time Kona in Holualoa, an art mecca in the cool, misty coffee belt.
All the while, the natural beauty of Kailua Bay recalls its original role as an idyllic retreat for Hawaiian royalty. For visitors, Kailua-Kona is a sunny delight and a hub for ocean sports. For locals who like to gripe, it's a sprawling suburb, with pricey subdivisions blanketing the slopes of Mt Hualalai and nightmare rush-hour traffic. (But that doesn't keep them from joining scrums at Costco, Walmart and other big box giants.) Others love the roadside snorkeling with turtles, the annual Ironman action and taking sunset cocktails. It's either for you or it's not. Stop by to find out.