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Kona offers so many things to see and do that it can be hard to choose from them all. Fascinating historical sites and spectacular natural attractions are abundant in and around Kona. So you can spend more time seeing the sights instead of trying to figure out what they are, we’ve compiled a list of the top five must-see Kona Hawai’i tourist attractions.
Built by Governor John Adams Kuakini in 1838, Hulihe‘e Palace was home to Hawaiian royalty. Located on Ali‘i Drive in the heart of Kona, the palace was constructed from local materials and was home to several generations of Ali‘i (Hawaiian Royals), including Bernice Pau‘ahi Bishop, King David Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani, and later, their sons Prince Kūhiō Kalaniana`ole and Prince David Kawānanakoa. Today, Hulihe‘e Palace has been preserved as a museum, containing most of its original furnishings and housing a magnificent collection of Hawaiian artifacts and memorabilia.
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
For those who love history, this is one of the most loved Kona sightseeing attractions. Encompassing the ancient Hawaiian temple and fishing village of Kaloko-Honokōhau, this oceanside historical park offers visitors unique opportunities to learn about Hawaiian culture, history, and the ingenious technologies used by ancient Hawaiians. Offering interactive educational programs and guided cultural tours, a visit to Kaloko-Honokōhau promises for a fascinating and fulfilling day of ancient Hawaiian wonders.
Dating back to 1820, Moku‘aikaua Church is Hawai‘i’s first Christian church. Missionaries Asa and Lucy Thurston, who arrived on the first ship of Christian missionaries, founded the congregation. At the time of their arrival, the old Hawaiian belief system had been abolished with nothing to take its place, therefore, Christianity was readily accepted. The church was constructed from local lava rock, partially from a nearby heiau (Hawaiian temple). Decorated inside with native koa wood, the church is still in use today, houses several artifacts, and is open for tours and worship.
Once the royal residence of King Kamehameha I, the great ruler who unified the Hawaiian Islands, the site of Kamakahonu is located on the property of the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel. Though none of the original residence structure remains, King Kamehameha’s personal temple, ‘Ahu‘ena Heiau, has been reconstructed and can be viewed. Artifacts from Kamakahonu are on display in the lobby of the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel.
This beautiful gem of a beach meets the postcard-perfect images that most people dream about when they think of Hawai‘i; you won’t want to miss this lovely Kona Hawai’i tourist attraction! Manini‘owale Beach, commonly known as Kua Bay, is a spectacular crescent of white sand with clear, placid turquoise waters located just north of Kona town in Kekaha Kai State Park. Modern facilities make Kua Bay a comfortable place to spend the day playing and relaxing in paradise.