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Activities: On Land

Dining in Kailua-Kona Hawaii   Restaurant Recommendations

There is no restaurant on the property at Kona Reef, but waterfront Kailua-Kona is just a short walk away.

Upscale fare

Dining in Kailua-Kona is generally a casual experience, but on the upper end of the scale we favor Huggo's, Don the Beachcomber and Anthony's by the Sea, which is a short stroll from the Kona Reef, and is the best place for viewing sunsets and splurging on a Kona blue lobster.

Casual dining

In the casual dining category you'll find Bongo Ben's, Lulu's, Jackie Rey's, Kona Canoe Club, Sushi Shiono, and Bubba Gump's, which are all a short walk into town. Try Quinn's Almost by the Sea for world famous fish and chips. At Kona Brewing Company you can take brewery tours and tastings or simply go for the fantastic pizza and beer. For a taste of the island, try Big Island Grill for local Hawaiian favorites, be sure to try to the Loco Moco!

International cuisine

When it comes to dining, the quality and diversity of Kona continues to impress. The Asian food favorite of our guests is Original Thai Cuisine. The Holuakoa Café has incredible mountain-top views and local/organic cuisine at its finest. If planning to celebrate a special occasion we recommend La Bourgogne French Restaurant, but make reservations well in advance!

Shopping in Kailua-Kona Hawaii   Shopping

If you're the sort who likes to shop on vacation, Hawaii's Big Island won't disappoint. While it doesn't have the choices of a big city, you'll still find major Big Island shopping districts in Hilo and Kailua-Kona, plus brand name stores, art galleries, boutiques, jewelry stores, island antique, bric-a-brac stores, and rustic village shops around the island.

Browse treasures carved from local woods, including gorgeous koa and milo bowls, sometimes so thin they're translucent! Shop for tropical wear for everyone in the family. Find books, quilts, and works of art reflecting Hawaii and the Pacific, and take home tasty Big Island products like jams, nuts, coffees, sauces, and more.

Pick up daily necessities at the nearby Safeway and Wal-Mart stores, or at the Costco Warehouse, if you need the quantity. The best source for colorful luau-wear is indomitable Hilo Hattie's. Its assortment of styles and colors (including designs for children) is unequalled, and the sale racks occasionally offer some good buys.

The souvenir shop has an extensive selection of puka shell jewelry, monkey pod, Kona coffee, jams, etc. There is also good shopping in the Kona Inn Shopping Village, a short stroll down Alii Drive from the Kona Reef.

Kailua-Kona Hawaii Golf   Golfing

The "Golf Capital of Hawaii" enables travelers around the world to walk renowned golf courses while enjoying picturesque views. Among the more challenging and affordable is arguably the most beautiful course, Makalei, high above Kona Town on the cool slopes of Mount Hualalai.

It also features a great 18-hole putting course that is no "walk in the park." Worth a try are the cool, lush Waimea Country Club and newly redesigned 36-hole Kona Country Club. Farther afield, we recommend the Volcano Golf and Country Club.

Kailua-Kona Hawaii Horseback Riding   Horseback Riding

Experience Open Range horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working cattle ranch in the unspoiled upcountry of Kohala Mountain. You will be amazed by the most spectacular scenery on the Big Island including the Kohala and Kona coastline, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai Volcanoes.

The location of these horseback adventures is well suited for providing comfortable mountain temperatures. Marvel at the ancient ruins where King Kamehameha once trained his warriors, and feel like a real Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) in boots, hats, chaps, and dusters, while riding in a range dotted with grazing cattle.

Choose from a wide variety of open-range horseback rides and experience levels. Trotting and cantering opportunities are available on all rides.

Kailua-Kona Hawaii Biking and Hiking   Biking/Hiking

There are hundreds of miles of shoreline roads and rain forest trails to conquer. If you’re an experienced backpacker, you may want to take on the Mauna Loa wilderness. Interesting trails can be found all over, from sandy coastal trails to a snow-covered summit. Some say the key to relaxing is getting active. Hawaii’s Big Island beaches also make it easy to get out and play. There are 266 miles of coastline and 47 beaches here with sand colors ranging from pristine white to green and even volcanic black.

  Sunday Services

If you normally attend Sunday services or if you would simply appreciate the experience of a traditional Hawaiian church service, treat yourself to the uplifting experience of mass in a historic place of worship.

Mokuaikaua Church on Alii Drive across from Hulihe’e Palace was the first Christian church founded in the islands (1820). Simple yet majestic, it’s constructed of lava rock with Koa wood interiors. In the alcove you'll find a museum featuring artifacts from missionary times. Don't miss the unusual "sausage tree" next to the church. Its fruit resemble giant hanging salamis.

Unique, if you don’t mind the drive, is the lovely little Painted Church near Honaunau Bay (City of Refuge). Built at the turn of the century by a Belgian Catholic missionary, its ceilings and walls are covered with colorful frescoes of important Christian themes and events. The lush, well-tended gardens offer great photo-ops, and the little cemetery is worth contemplating.

If possible, attend the Sunday service that’s celebrated with joyful Hawaiian hymns and chants. It's at once simple and inspiring.