Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kailua-Kona: Don't Forget the Beach

Kailua, the heart of the Kona Coast on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii has a lot going on. A museum and church date from the first missionary settlements in Hawaii in the 1820s. The venerable King Kamehameha Hotel honors the nation's first king, at a spot where a heiau (temple) marks the site where the Great One chose to spend the last ten years of his life.

Kona has alleyways of tourist shops, some bars that rocked in the glory days of deep sea fishing, and a dock that hauls boatloads of visitors on sunset cocktail cruises. Okay, fine. But don't overlook the "beach," which is a huge pool of protected clear water that runs along the breakwater that protects Kona's main drag, Ali'i Drive. A wooden rack of cubbyholes is nearby to store towels and flip flops. Steps lead to sandy entries on either end of the breakwater, so you just glide on in for snorkeling and swimming. Then get out, dry off, and take your pick from many places to enjoy a beverage and Hawaiian grinds. That's aloha style, brah.