Don't confuse Kailua-Kona with the other Hawaii cities called Kailua, or you'll have a hard time planning your vacation! Kailua-Kona is on Hawaii's Big Island, in the Kona region. It's located on the beautiful leeward side of the island, which means it's protected from the wind and has great weather year-round. In fact, the weather and the area are so nice that many Hawaiian monarchs have chosen Kailua-Kona to be their home. Rent a Kailua-Kona beach house or condo and you'll see why. Here you'll find the relaxed atmosphere that makes Kailua Kona travel so effortless, with beaches upon beaches of soft sand and clear waters. Do you have ideas on how we can improve our Kailua-Kona travel guide? Share them with us.

Things to Do on a Kailua Kona Vacation

snorkelingIf you're planning a Hawaii beach vacation and you think Kailua-Kona is the perfect destination for surfing, swimming, and all-around family fun, you're absolutely right. The weather isn't too hot or too wet, and you'll find plenty of beachtime activities for everyone. Try snorkeling in the warm, clear water, or discover why Kailua-Kona is the sportfishing capital of the world. Go whale-watching and kids of all ages will be awed by these magnificent creatures. If you'd rather take it easy and watch other people than do all the swimming or rowing yourself, sports buffs are in for a treat – over Labor Day weekend, the Queen Liluokalani Canoe Race starts at Kailua-Kona. It's the world's largest long-distance canoe race and goes between the islands, so competitors come from all over the world to enter. Still not enough? Kailua-Kona is also home to the Ironman Triathlon World Championship, which you have to see to believe. Entrants run a marathon (an accomplishment in itself!), but before that they swim 2.4 miles in the open ocean and then complete a 112-mile bike race, all in the area around Kailua-Kona! Watch this feat of superhuman endurance and you'll be talking about it for days. If so much time outside has worn you out, Kailua-Kona vacation rentals are conveniently located near the beach, so you can head home to rest up before venturing out again.

Take a break from all the physical activity (whether you're doing it or just watching someone else) and try a little sight-seeing! Kailua-Kona has a few things you won't find anywhere else. Visit a volcano where you can actually see lava oozing down to the ocean. At night, underneath the brilliant stars above, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime romantic view of Hawaii's magnificent natural beauty, where cracks in the lava glow with molten lava just beneath the crust.

Kailua-Kona beach vacations are also a food- and drink-lover's delight, celebrating the area's major coffee harvest with the Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival during harvest time in November. This festival features a bean-picking contest, song and dance, and even a Miss Kona Coffee pageant. Rent a Kailua Kona beach condo in mid to late March and you can celebrate the Annual Kona Chocolate Festival instead, which is a delicious three-day extravaganza.

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What to See in Hawaii, Kailua-Kona

kailua kona vacationKailua-Kona's sunsets are amazing – even locals can't get enough of them, and you're sure to be awed as you watch the sun set from your relaxing Kailua-Kona rental's lanai or patio. If you'd like to take the family sightseeing over your Kailua Kona vacation, check out the Hulihe'e Palace, which has belonged to many royals and government leaders over the years. The palace reflects the laid-back but beautiful Hawaiian style, and it's conveniently located on Ali'i Drive, a popular shopping and dining destination for tourists.


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Where to Shop and Eat in Kailua-Kona

Kailua-Kona is a great shopping destination, since many cruise ships make a stop here. Save money with Kailua-Kona vacation rentals and you can afford to live like a cruise tourist here. You'll find lots of upscale shopping to appeal to the cruise ship crowd, along with tourist staples and souvenir shops, especially along Ali'i Drive. Don't miss the Kona Marketplace, a block-long shopping center/village where you can find countless local vendors selling their wares. At the Kona Arts Center, you can view (or buy) art from local artists, or stop by the Coconut Grove Marketplace for coffee shops, boutiques, and more. You can find traditional chain stores and designer clothing on your Kailua-Kona vacation, but why would you want to? Visit and enjoy the colorful, casual style of Hawaii's Big Island, then bring your finds to your Kailua-Kona vacation home and soak up the sun or relax in the shade.

No visit to Kailua-Kona is complete without stopping by one of the farmer's markets to savor fresh tropical fruit and pick up freshly-caught local fish for dinner. You haven't really tasted mango or papaya until you've eaten one from a Kailua-Kona farmer. Since vacation rentals in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, usually include full kitchens, you can make the most of these fresh ingredients by cooking at home. Hawaii also has many unique and popular dishes, like the delicious saimin noodle dish (think ramen but with a Hawaiian twist) or the ever-present plate lunch. You can find both of these in many small local restaurants, or enjoy freshly-caught fish at places like Kona Style Fish 'n Chips (both budget- and kid-friendly) for an affordable lunch. For something a little nicer, choose from Jameon's by the Sea or Quinn's Almost by the Sea, two restaurants that really live up to their names. Huggo's is a long-time favorite that has made tourists and residents alike happy with great food, great service, a great location and amazing seaside views.

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When to Visit, Weather, Kailua-Kona

As far as weather, Kailua Kona's is good year-round, so much so that many kings picked to live here throughout Hawaii's history, and if you stay in a Kailua-Kona beach condo, you'll see why. High season tends to coincide with when most people can take a vacation, so Kailua-Kona's high season lasts from December through March/April. Come during high season and you'll be faced with high prices and large crowds, and many popular Kailua-Kona rental condos will be booked. Instead, try the off-season in spring (that's April-June in Hawaii), which has the best weather and the best deals, along with very few crowds and very many Kailua-Kona vacation rentals to choose from. Fall (September-December) is another less popular but still beautiful season.

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What to Know About Kailua-Kona

Kailua-Kona offers very limited parking. You might have trouble parking on the street, so it's wise to find a Kailua-Kona vacation rental with its own parking space. Also, plan ahead before visiting popular destinations; you'll probably have to park at least a few blocks away and walk to shopping, dining or attractions.

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What to Bring to Your Hawaii, Kailua Kona Beach Rental

hawaii beach vacationTake advantage of Hawaii's relaxed atmosphere when packing; you can go just about anywhere in casual clothes, and many Kailua-Kona vacation rentals include access to washing facilities, so you can save money by packing light. Also, although Kailua-Kona is on the leeward (protected from the wind) side of the island and is therefore relatively dry, be prepared for rain between November and March. If you're going to be visiting elsewhere in the islands, you'll definitely want to pack rain gear, since the windier sides have extremely frequent rain. The tropical sunlight is intense, so prepare for the sun and also keep yourself hydrated when you set out from your Kailua-Kona rental condo. Finally, bring long pants and sweaters or sweatshirts or jackets to prepare for the cooler weather that can happen if it's overcast, or while the sun isn't out. As temperate as Kailua-Kona is, it can have unexpectedly cool nights or shady days.

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Getting to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Because of Kailua-Kona's convenient location, it's easy to reach. Fly into Kona International Airport, then rent a car and take highway 19 south. Soon enough you'll be in Kailua-Kona, ready to pull up into the parking spot of your Kailua-Kona vacation rental. You can take shuttles or taxis from the airport, but renting a car is probably your best bet.

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Why Kailua-Kona Vacation Rentals?

Kailua-Kona vacation rentals offer all the comforts and convenience of home while giving you access to the best of Kailua Kona. With all sizes to choose from and a full range of price options, there's a Kailua-Kona vacation home for everybody. Plus, a single Kailua-Kona vacation rental can fit more people than a single hotel room, meaning you can save money by renting just one Kailua-Kona rental home instead of a slew of hotel rooms. You'll also have more space (private bedrooms are a plus), along with communal living areas for the whole family and a full kitchen where you can savor fresh ingredients, stick to your budget and cook your own food.

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