Kailua-Kona attractions

Top Choice Beach in Kailua-Kona

Magic Sands Beach

This small but gorgeous beach (also called White Sands and, officially, Laʻaloa Beach) has turquoise water, great sunsets, little shade and possibly the best bodysurfing and bodyboarding on the Big Island. Waves are…
Wildlife Reserve in Kailua-Kona

Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary

Dr Ann Goody runs this animal sanctuary on five lovely acres in upland Kona. This isn't a zoo, or even a conventional sanctuary; instead, Dr Goody cares for and genuinely communicates with her charges, which include…
Historic Building in Kailua-Kona

Huliheʻe Palace

This palace is a fascinating study in the rapid shift the Hawaiian royal family made from Polynesian god-kings to Westernized monarchs. Here’s the skinny: Hawaiʻi’s second governor, ʻJohn Adams’ Kuakini, built a sim…
Beach in Kailua-Kona

Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area

Visitors often overlook this quiet park, located a mile from downtown. The swimming isn’t great but it's a grand spot for a picnic. The beach area is studded with lava rock and tide pools, the latter occasionally oc…
Church in Kailua-Kona

Mokuʻaikaua Church

Completed in 1836, this church is a handsome building with walls of lava rock held together by sand and coral-lime mortar. The posts and beams, hewn with stone adzes and smoothed with chunks of coral, are made from …
Temple in Kailua-Kona

Ahuʻena Heiau

After uniting the Hawaiian Islands in 1810, Kamehameha the Great established the kingdom's royal court in Lahaina on Maui, but he continued to return to the Big Island. After a couple of years, he restored this sacr…
Gallery in Kailua-Kona

Herb Kane Paintings

Step inside King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, just next to to Ahuʻena Heiau, to view historical paintings and a mural by legendary artist and Hawaiian historian Herb Kawainui Kane. Each image depicts an element of…
Beach in Kailua-Kona

Honl's Beach

If you're an avid bodyboarder, Honl's, also known as Waiʻaha ('Gathering Water'), may feel like a historical pilgrimage. It was here, in 1971, that Tom Morey tested the Boogie Board (the brand-name version of the mo…
Archaeological Site in Kailua-Kona

Keolonahihi State Historical Park

While largely overgrown with jungle and scrub brush today, this was once a major religious complex for Native Hawaiians. A heiau (temple) here was once dedicated to surfers, and tradition holds Kamehameha the Great …
Beach in Kailua-Kona

Kamakahonu Beach

Kailua-Kona's only swimmable in-town beach is this teeny-tiny strand between Kailua Pier and Ahuʻena Heiau, where ocean waters are calm and usually safe for kids. Concession stands rent all kinds of beach gear. This…