You are currently viewing 36 Hours in Kona: The Best Things to Do

36 Hours in Kona: The Best Things to Do

What to Do in Kona: Exploring the Hidden Gems of the Big Island

Kona, located on the western side of the Big Island of Hawaii, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, culture enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike. With its stunning beaches, vibrant marine life, and rich historical sites, Kona offers a wide range of activities and attractions for every traveler. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, here are some top things to do in Kona that will make your trip truly memorable.

Discover Pristine Beaches and Water Activities

One of the main draws of Kona is its breathtaking coastline and pristine beaches. Spend your days basking in the sun or diving into the crystal-clear waters of Kua Bay, known for its powdery white sands and excellent swimming conditions. For an unforgettable snorkeling experience, head to Kealakekua Bay, where you can explore vibrant coral reefs and swim alongside tropical fish, dolphins, and even sea turtles.

Immerse Yourself in Hawaiian Culture

Kona has a rich cultural heritage that can be explored through its numerous historical and cultural sites. Visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a sacred place of refuge where ancient Hawaiians sought forgiveness for their transgressions. Take a trip to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, where you can witness ancient fishponds, petroglyphs, and sacred temples. To dive deeper into Hawaiian history, be sure to attend a traditional Hawaiian luau, where you can experience authentic food, music, and hula dancing.

Embark on an Epic Volcano Adventure

No trip to the Big Island would be complete without a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Witness the power of nature as you explore the park’s active volcano, Kilauea. Hike through volcanic landscapes, marvel at steam vents, and even witness the red glow of lava during a nighttime visit. For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a helicopter tour over the volcano to get a unique perspective of this geological wonder.

Indulge in Hawaiian Cuisine and Coffee

Kona is famous for its world-class coffee, so make sure to take a tour of a local coffee farm and learn about the coffee-making process. Sample freshly brewed coffee and discover why Kona coffee is renowned for its smooth, rich flavor. When it comes to cuisine, don’t miss out on trying traditional Hawaiian dishes such as poke, kalua pig, and poi. Immerse yourself in the local food scene by visiting farmers’ markets and enjoying the freshest produce the island has to offer.

Dive into Underwater Adventures

With its diverse marine ecosystem, Kona is a haven for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Explore the underwater world surrounding the island and discover colorful coral reefs, unique marine species, and even underwater lava formations. Join a guided diving tour to explore famous dive sites like Manta Ray Village or the underwater lava tubes at Puako. Even if you’re not a certified diver, you can still enjoy the underwater world by taking a snorkeling tour and swimming alongside tropical fish in calm, protected bays.

Unwind in Natural Beauty

When you need a break from all the adventure, Kona offers plenty of opportunities to relax in its natural beauty. Visit the serene Japanese-style gardens of Liliuokalani Gardens or take a leisurely stroll through the coastal pathways of Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. If you’re up for a more challenging hike, trek to the top of Hualalai volcano for panoramic views of the island and a sense of tranquility. End your day by watching the mesmerizing sunset at Magic Sands Beach or enjoy a peaceful evening under the stars at Mauna Kea.


Q: How do I get to Kona?
A: Kona International Airport (KOA) is the main airport serving Kona and offers direct flights from various cities in the United States and international destinations. Alternatively, you can access Kona by ferry from Maui or Oahu.

Q: What is the best time to visit Kona?
A: Kona enjoys a warm and sunny climate year-round, making it an ideal destination for any time of the year. However, the months of April to October tend to have the driest and most comfortable weather.

Q: Are there accommodations available in Kona?
A: Kona offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference, from luxury resorts and hotels to vacation rentals, boutique inns, and cozy bed and breakfasts.

Q: Can I swim with dolphins in Kona?
A: Yes, Kona is known for its resident pods of spinner dolphins. There are various tour operators that offer dolphin swimming experiences, ensuring ethical interactions and respecting the well-being of these magnificent creatures.

Q: Are there hiking trails in Kona?
A: Yes, Kona boasts numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy coastal walks to challenging volcano treks. Popular trails include the Pu’u Wa’awa’a Cinder Cone Trail, the Captain Cook Monument Trail, and the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park trails.

Q: Are there any local festivals or events in Kona?
A: Kona hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Kona Coffee Festival, the International Billfish Tournament, and the Kamehameha Festival. Be sure to check the calendar of events before your visit to experience the vibrant local culture.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, cultural immersion, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the Big Island, Kona offers a plethora of activities and attractions for every traveler. With its stunning beaches, rich history, and diverse marine life, Kona truly is an unforgettable destination that will leave you with lasting memories.