Anyone who’s ever visited any of the Hawaiian Islands can’t deny the magic each one has to them. I mean, as soon as you get off the plane the islands just smell good. After I got married my husband Dave and I honeymooned on the Big Island of Hawaii in Kailua-Kona. Kona is a great town with a ton to do – we definitely did a lot on our honeymoon but still wish we had more time there!
I’ll start with a few beaches we particularly loved:
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
In my opinion, you have to see a black sand beach when on the Big Island. Punaluʻu Beach is not in Kona, but is totally worth the hour and a half drive. The sand on Punaluʻu Beach is made up of basalt created by volcanic lava flowing into the ocean and cooling as it reaches the ocean. Punaluʻu Beach is beautiful and located between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu.
Manini’owali Beach (Kua Bay)
This white sand beach is spectacular and is never short of dolphin and turtle sightings.
Besides the stunning beaches the Big Island and Kona have to offer, there are endless hikes and views to take in that’s unlike anywhere else you’ll ever visit. One day Dave and I drove out to Waipiʻo Valley Lookout, a scenic overlook in Waimea. Here you’ll see miles and miles of blue ocean, lush river valley and cliffs. Although it was a little cloudy the day we drove to Waipiʻo Valley, the views were still 100% worth it.
View at the top of the Waipiʻo Valley Lookout
Akaka Falls State Park is another place I’d highly recommend if you’re in Kona, or anywhere else on the Big Island for that matter. From Kona, getting to Akaka Falls will take you about two hours or so, but let me tell you it’s worth it. Here you’ll see endless amounts of rich greenery along with a 442 foot tall waterfall. Akaka Falls is absolutely stunning and is just another reason as to why the Big Island is so magical.
This probably goes without saying, but seeing a volcano on the Big Island is essential. We drove to the Kilauea Overlook where you have the best view of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater which devastatingly collapsed again in 2018. I was here in 2016 so I cannot speak to what this area looks like now (or if you can even visit considering the eruption was so recent), but if at some point in the future if it’s possible to get to this point again, it’s a sight you are not likely to forget anytime soon.
Now lets get to Kona’s restaurants. There are SO many to choose from. Too many to count! I think I ate fresh poke everyday while we were there, it’s something I can never get tired of. A few restaurants I will highlight though…
Kona Brewing Co.
We went to Kona Brewing several times on our honeymoon. We couldn’t help it. Obviously we’ve been a fan of Kona beer for many years but the food here was unreal as well! From their pizza to sandwiches, every single time we came here the atmosphere was awesome and the food and drinks were delicious. Not much more you can ask for in my opinion.
Lava Lava Beach Club
Lava Lava Beach Club is another place we visited a few times while in Kona. It was close to the resort we were staying at and was the perfect place to come for happy hour. When you’re enjoying a meal or a drink here (or both), you’re quite literally on the beach, as in the chair your sitting in is in the sand. So if enjoying a cocktail with your toes in the sand while staring out at the ocean is your thing, then come here. The view is truly unmatched and the food was really yummy too. My personal favorite was the Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice Bowl, which was actually how it sounds – chicken fried rice served in a freaking PINEAPPLE.
What a great place Harbor House is. From the ice cold beers served in chilled schooners to their daily caught fresh fish, this place got an A++ in our books. Between the food, drinks and the restaurant being on the water, it’s the perfect casual spot to enjoy the view and have a great meal that won’t break the bank.
Scandinavian Shave Ice
Also referred to as “Scandi’s”, this place is SO. GOOD. A must-have when in Kona in my opinion. They have over 60 flavors of shaved ice to choose from, in addition to ice cream and espresso drinks as well. Whether you have a big sweet tooth (like me) or just want a cappuccino, going to Scandi’s whenever you’re in Kona will not disappoint.
Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill
All I’m going to say about Umekes is this – go here if you want fresh, delicious poke and seafood. Just do it!!
Overall, I can’t speak highly enough about Kona and the Big Island in general. I can’t wait to go back and go coffee tasting and keep exploring what this magical island has to offer.
Thanks for reading!