Kailua Kona has clear sunny days almost every day and has great swimming, snorkeling and other beach activities, which makes it the main vacation destination on the big island. Situated along the west coast, Kailua kona is the main town on the Kona side of the big island of Hawaii.
At the edge of town, along the ocean, is Alii drive with an assortment of restaurants, shops and a few place to get an ocean view. Further down the south of Alii drive are some good spots to snorkel and scuba dive. This section of the coast has a nice variety of places to swim from nice family snorkel pools to large drop offs for scuba divers. Alii drive is rather populated and popular with country clubs and resort homes, but a lot of nice smaller uncrowded beaches are just a short drive away to the north and the south.
South down the coast is Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park; also know as the Place of Refuge. In the old days, when someone broke a law in Hawaii the penalty was death and the only way out was to escape and make it to a place of refuge. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau was the place of refuge on the big island the National Park Service has taken over this park and rebuilt it to what it was supposedly like in the old days with structures and carvings. They also give informational tours and describe the old cultures and tell old stories.
Near Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is Honaunau Bay; also called “2-Steps”. This very nice snorkeling and diving spot is called 2-Steps because at the edge of the ocean is a shelf and you can take 2 steps and be in the water. This is a very nice place to snorkel because it is a good sized bay with all sorts of tropical fish and ocean life. If you venture a out a little way, you might see some dolphins and larger ocean life.
Further down the coast is Hookena Beach Park offering camping, swimming and some decent snorkeling. There is not much coral, just patches of it here and there, but you can still see a lot of fish and ocean life out in the water.
To the north of Kailua Kona, it the population dwindles and you can find some nice lesser known beaches if you look around a bit. There are not many facilities out here, so bring water and pack a lunch. This side of the island is very dry with no rivers or streams, just desert and lava, but this can be a good area for the more adventurous types that want to find a secluded beach they don’t have to share.
Further up the coast is Spencer Beach Park where the coast is mostly rocky and doesn’t really offer that great of swimming or beach combing, but has some interesting ancient Hawaiian artifacts close by. There is an old temple close by called Puukohola Heiau. This temple was built around 1791 by King Kamehameha, and the story says that the King Kamehameha received advice from a priest that if he would build this temple and dedicate it to the god of war, Ku-Kailimoku, that he would conquer all of the islands. The temple was built and when it was complete, King Kamehameha invited his rival chief Keoua, who still controlled the east side of the island, to the ceremony and killed him. With this act, he gained control over the entire island. Over the next 2 decades, King Kamehameha continued his campaign and conquered Maui and Oahu.
There are a couple of other smaller, older temples in this same area; Mailekini Heiau and Hale-o-puni. Hale-o-puni is under water and people tell stories that it was a shark temple and that Hawaiian royalty would feed enemies to the sharks here.
Kailua Kona area has some great coastal places to explore ranging from family fun beaches to more remote secluded beaches. It is dry and sunny most days so it is a great place if you want almost guaranteed good beach weather for most of the year.