Things to Do in Kona, Hawaii

Are you planning a trip to Kona, Hawaii? Whether it’s your first time visiting or not, you’ll want to have a good time, make new memories, and learn new things while on the island. If you’re unsure what to do, check out these special things to do during a stay in Kona Kohala.

Located just north of the Kona International airport, this area of the Big Island is home to luxury resorts with amazing pools, and beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters. You may find that you don’t even want to leave your resort. But if you do, these are the things to do in Kona, Hawaii.

Still haven’t decided where to go in Hawaii? Deciding between the islands? Check out which Hawaiian island we think is the best Hawaiian island for kids. Have you decided to stay on the Big Island? But don’t know which area to make your home base. Here’s where to stay on the Big Island.

snorkeling in Kona Hawaii
Snorkeling with tropical fish in Hawaii.

Go Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the best things to do while staying in Kona. Even if you have never been snorkeling, a guide will help you get started and stick with you throughout the water. You’ll get to see some fantastic sights, including beautiful, bright-colored fish, manatees, and more. If you’ve always wondered what the ocean floor looks like, take a snorkeling trip!

You can snorkel right off of many of the beaches. Or, take an ocean cruise with a snorkeling excursion included. Night snorkeling with the Mantas is also popular in Kona.

Visiting the may beautiful beaches tops the list of things to do in Kona Hawaii
Mauna Lani beach.

 Visit the Beaches

The Kona Kohala area has many beautiful and unique beaches. All beaches in Hawaii are public. But some are harder to access than others. Some reside adjacent to resorts and are mostly accessed by resort guests. Others require a bumpy drive to access. We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid. While there we enjoyed their gorgeous beach and clear waters along with a cabana rented from the hotel and a sun and fun pass giving us access to paddleboards, boogie boards, kayaks and more. We also spent a morning on the beautiful Mauna Lani beach.

Insider Tip: Be sure to check out some of the best beaches in Hawaii while there!

Residents of Kona and tourists absolutely love the beauty of Manini’owali Beach. It has white sand and clear water that looks stunning from afar and up close. You can rest on the clean beach sand while soaking up the sun or get in the water to play around and have fun. You might even want to go kayaking at the beach.

Seeing waterfalls is one of the must do things to do in Kona Hawaii
Private waterfalls that can only be seen on tour with Hawaii Forest and Trail.

Tour the Waterfalls

The biggest and most famous of Hawaii’s waterfalls are found on the Hilo side of the island. But if you take a tour with Hawaii Forest and Trail you can access some amazing waterfalls on private land on the Kohala coast and even take a dip to cool off in the water at the base of the falls. It is quite a unique experience that ends with a picnic at a spectacular island overlook to the coastline and beaches below.

Views from a sunset cruise by Ocean Sports.

Enjoy a Sunset Cruise

Spend the evening out on the water enjoying views of the coastline from the water and ending with the spectacular color of the sunset over the blue water. Ocean Sports offers great service and views on their sunset cruise.

Amazing pool at Hilton Waikoloa.

Play in the Pools

The pools in the Kona Kohala area of the Bog Island really are some of the most beautiful, relaxing and fun that our family has ever experienced. The pool at the Fairmont Orchid has the most beautiful ocean views. The pools at Kings Land by Hilton Grand Vacations has amazing waterslides at one, and serenity at another.

Take a Scenic Drive on Saddle Road

Saddle Road stretches from Kona to Hilo. If you have a car available, you can take a scenic drive on this road to enjoy the sight of beautiful landscapes and volcanoes. The sights you’ll see are like nothing you’ve probably experienced before. The road is slightly under 53 miles, so it’s quite a bit of a trip, but it’s a relaxing one that you can thoroughly enjoy.

Stop by Ali’i Drive

Rent a bike and head on over to Ali’i Drive, where you can check out all the neat little shops and vendors with unique items for sale. You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade jewelry, and other stunning items to bring back home with you as souvenirs. It’s right by the shoreline, so you’ll have some amazing sights to see while you bike around and talk to the locals. You can even grab food while you’re there.

humpback whale on a hawaii whale watching cruise
A majestic whale off the coast of Hawai’i.

Whale Watch

Would you like to have an unforgettable whale-watching experience while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii? It’s not uncommon for residents and tourists to see beautiful, large whales in the ocean while aboard a boat in the sea, especially near the Kohala Coast of the Big Island. January through March is considered peak of whale watching season in Hawaii. North Pacific Humpback whales pass through the area on their annual winter migration during these months. Though you may be able to spot them as early as November and as late as May. We visited during late April and they had already headed out on their migration.

Swim With Dolphins

Go for a swim with friendly, loveable dolphins for a one-of-a-kind experience. Several companies offer this opportunity, including Ocean Encounters and the Kona Dolphin Swim Club. You can compare prices after finding out how much it’ll cost for you to spend some time with the dolphins. Once you get to experience these intelligent creatures up close and personal, you’ll want to swim with dolphins more often. It’s the kind of experience that you’ll never forget, even after many years have passed.

With activities like these available, you’ll never run out of fun and exciting things to do in Kona, Hawaii. Whether you want to go on an adventure, explore local attractions, or relax, take advantage of the opportunity to do all those things while visiting the area. You’ll make some of the best memories with loved ones in Kona.

Things to Do in Kona, Hawaii

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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