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Holiday Activity Guide for the West Side of Hawaiʻi Island

The holidays are right around the corner! We know that parents and families are gift shopping, making holiday plans, cooking ono-licious food, and doing all they can to make this time of the year special and memorable for their children and loved ones. We want to offer a “Local Travel/Activity Guide” for anyone who is looking to plan a fun-filled day with their ʻohana. We like the idea of spending quality time with one another; exploring new landscapes, enjoying the natural beauty of the island, and sharing a good meal together. We decided to offer a couple of itineraries of fun activities to do on the West Side of the Big Island. Enjoy, happy holidays!

Outdoor Exploration

The great thing about living on the Big Island is that swimming in the ocean and hiking in the mountains all on the same day is very much possible.

Option 1:

A.M. Wake up with the sun and head to Kealakekua Bay to swim with the dolphins. Be sure to get there early. The earlier the better. This time of the year you might even spot whales. Don't forget to bring your snorkel gear and underwater camera. I recommend bringing, borrowing, or renting stand-up paddle boards for this activity because it makes it easier to get out in the bay. Remember to always swim with respect for marine animals because we are visitors in their home.

Lunch: Stop at The Coffee Shack for lunch and try one of their delicious deli sandwiches made on homemade bread or a tasty homemade pizza. This restaurant has one of the best views in Kona and overlooks Kealakekua Bay and the fertile landscape, home to some of the best Kona Coffee.

P.M. Holoholo (cruise) to Manukā State Park. This State Park is on the boundary of Kona and Kaʻū. The park has pavilions, restrooms, and a 2-mile loop trail. Throughout the park youʻll see native dryland forest species like the Wiliwili tree. I highly recommend hiking the nature trail. It's a short 2-mile hike that will take you through a lush forest of native species, a crater pit, and many birds!

Dinner: Finish the evening off with ono local grinds from Rebel Kitchen in Kainaliu. They use locally sourced produce and protein for their dishes, and the menu has a Caribbean inspired flare that you won't find elsewhere in Kona.

Option 2:

A.M. Hike to the picturesque Wainanaliʻi Lagoon and have a picnic breakfast by the lagoon. Wainanaliʻi lagoon is sometimes to referred to as the blue lagoon at Kīholo State Park. This culturally significant area was once a thriving fishing village and home of Kīholo fishpond. Wainanaliʻi village and majority of the fishpond was covered by the 1859 flow from Mauna Loa. What remains is the beautiful turquoise lagoon. Park along Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and hike down to the shore, itʻs a little over 1-mile.