Our island is the biggest in Hawaii state, and it’s called “Big Island.”
From Hilo, to get to Waikoloa/Kona area, it takes about 1.5 – 2 hours by car.
The climate is so different that you can enjoy Summer-like weather in Waikoloa/Kona area pretty much any time of the year.
Thus, many students visit the west side of the island to enjoy the weekend.
Here are our student worker’s recommendations on what you can do in Waikoloa/Kona area.
The west side of the Big Island is the place to go when you want to escape the rainy town of Hilo. Waikoloa and Kona have the most beautiful sandy beaches and are almost always filled with sunny days. After spending a few hours at the beach, there are really good places to grab a treat or a really good meal. These are my favorite places to visit whenever I visit the west side.
Hapuna Beach Park
Hapuna Beach Park is one of the largest white sand beaches on the island of Hawaii. This is the go-to beach for whenever my friends and I want to make a trip to the other side of the island. Sometimes it does get busy and filled with tourists and locals, however, it is well worth the visit.
Photo from https://www.southkohala.com/things-to-do/big-island-beaches/hapuna-beach
If Hapuna is too crowded, or it’s an extremely hot day, or you just want to beach hop, I recommend checking out Waialea Bay. It’s located right next to Hapuna, but provides much more shade due to all the trees next to the shore. Waialea is also a decent spot to go snorkeling.
Original Big Island Shave Ice Company
After a long day of swimming and snorkeling under the hot sun, the perfect treat to cool you down is some Hawaiian shave ice. Personally, I think OBISIC has the best shave ice on the island. I recommend getting the halo-halo or the chantilly. You could also create your own shave ice and add your favorite flavors, toppings, and ice cream.
A popular beach for the locals in Kona is Kua Bay. Kua Bay has beautiful white sand and vibrant blue waters. It’s popular among the locals due to the waves, so if you’re not the best swimmer, I would suggest just be careful. Remember to NEVER turn your back on the water!
Umeke’s Bar and Grill
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re in the Kona area, definitely check out Umeke’s Bar and Grill. Umeke’s is known for their poke, but they also have a lot of other local Hawaiian food to try. Personally, I think their pupus, or appetizers, are really the star of the show. I recommend their bulleh fries, poke or kalua nachos, or sauteed shrooms. Whatever you decide to get will be well worth the visit!
Photo from https://www.umekesrestaurants.com/umekes-fish-market-bar-grill/