Looking to escape the tourist crowds on the sun-soaked beaches of the Kona Coast or to just get away from it all and do something different? As you might surmise from the alien-like moonscape of the lava fields surrounding the resorts and attractions of this charming coastline, Kona is unlike almost any other place on Earth. The Big Island boasts 11 of the world’s 13 types of climate zones, and that means there is always something unique – and maybe even a little bit strange – for you to explore during your vacation in paradise in our list of Kona Coast Attractions.
Touch the Snow – and the Heavens – in Paradise
The summits of Hawai‘i’s tallest volcanoes are well over 10,000 feet in elevation, meaning you can experience actual snowfall in Hawai‘i well into June. As an added bonus, the visitor’s center on the slopes of Mauna Kea features nightly interactive astronomy programs and stargazing with powerful telescopes. See why this volcano and its incredibly clear air is the prime spot for international astronomers to study the heavens (there are more than a dozen high-tech observatories at the summit), and marvel at the galaxy as it unfolds before you. If you’re there in winter or early spring, you might even be able to sneak in a quick snowball fight.
Top Tourist Attractions in Kona Hawaii: Kaumana Lava Tubes
Lava tubes form when the outer layers of lava solidify, but the layers below continue to flow. Eventually, the molten lava drains and the result is a hollow tube, the sort of thing adventures are made of on one of the top tourist attractions in Kona Hawaii. On the Hilo side of the island, the Kaumana lava tubes (on Kaumana Drive) are relatively unknown and seldom visited (especially compared to the more popular tubes in Volcanoes National Park). They are also fair game to explorers: there is no admission fee, they are open 24 hours, and there is no supervision. Dress accordingly, bring plenty of light, mind the wet surfaces, and take care when exploring this subterranean wonderland, because you are completely on your own!
Visit a Treehouse
Live out your ultimate childhood fantasy when you visit this actual treehouse built from a recycled wooden church and nestled high in the canopy of the tropical rainforest on the slope of Kilauea Volcano. In the evening, you can even see the glow of the lava flows and the molten caldera of the crater, all from your vantage point high above the jungle floor. Located near Volcano Village.
Lava Tree Forest
Located in Pāhoa in the Puna district, this eerie stretch of woods is made up of the ghostly shells of trees that were engulfed by a lava flow in the late 18th century. The pillars of basalt have been partially reclaimed by orchids, vines, and tropical flowers, but the shadows of the trees remain amidst a newer, younger canopy of monkeypod trees. Lava tubes riddle the grounds, which are easily explored by a short walking trail. Normally this Kona Coast attraction is open to the public, the park was closed in May 2018 due to the advancing eruption.