Referred to as “Kailua” or “Kona” by locals, Kailua Kona was once a fishing village turned seaport, and was home to Hawaiian royalties like King Kamehameha. It is now a lively town that is the activity capital of the Big Island. Located where the western slopes of the Hualalai Volcano meet the ocean, Kailua is bordered to the north by Kalaoa, to the south by Holualoa, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean from Kailua Bay in the south to Honokohau Bay in the north. This fun and quaint seaside town has the souvenir shops and open-air restaurants you’d expect in a tourist hub, plus a surprising number of historic sites. Looking for the very best accommodations? Browse (and book!) Owner Direct’s Kailua Kona vacation rentals below. From oceanfront condo rentals to secluded, spacious home retreats, anyone from solo travelers, couples, big or small groups, and extended families can find the perfect lodging that will fit their needs.
Escape the hotel crowds and enjoy the privacy of a vacation rental with full amenities for your vacation. No matter what kind of property you choose, the homes are equipped with everything one could possibly ask for in luxury and amenities. With one to multiple rooms, the bedrooms are spacious and some even have their own bathrooms, TV, sleeper sofa, desk, and a door leading to a lanai. The gracious living room has a flat-screen TV, cable, and comfortable, ample seating. Head to the fully equipped kitchen with decor to captivate a mood that inspires creativity with the appliances and a pantry.
Outside, enjoy incredible panoramic views of the ocean from the pool, lanai, deck, or backyard. Spend time with family and friends in the tropical garden while grilling up some burgers/steaks and enjoying them with drinks on the patio set. If you decide to stay in a complex, you could have access to a large common swimming pool, tennis and volleyball courts, outdoor barbecue areas, gym, games room, computer with a printer, and some owners even help you find free activities within the complex for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Other amenities can include WiFi, washer, dryer, air conditioning, landline for international calls, snorkel equipment, boogie boards, tennis supplies, and more! A welcome kit of soaps and paper products makes your first days very convenient. Some homes are wheelchair accessible, and owners provide guests with their personal list of recommended restaurants and activities. You can also request a chef, daily cleaning, grocery delivery, tours, or concierge services for an additional fee.
Kaiula Kona is the hot spot for sunny outdoor adventures here on the Big Island. Do some sunrise snorkeling at King Kam beach, walk at the Kailua pier or at any of the seaside restaurants to watch the sunset. Other adventures that await you include a live volcano, green and black sand beaches, tropical rainforests with magnificent waterfalls, lava caves, historical sites, local seahorse farm, coffee country tours, botanical gardens, national parks, and more!
There are many places to choose from if you feel hungry but don’t feel like cooking. At Rays on the Bay - the only oceanfront restaurant in the world with manta ray viewing - dine on local fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine while having an amazing in-motion view of sea life. Big Island Grill offers honest local food in big portions. The village’s best poke bowls come from Umeke’s, where their “boat to bowl” approach lets diners enjoy fresh Big Island fish with your choice of hot and sweet seasonings. Great food, friendly wait staff, and a lively tiki-style atmosphere make Splasher’s Grill more than just your standard ocean-side eatery.
For drinks and nightlife, it’s hard to imagine a seaside bar and grill more idyllic than On The Rocks. Views of rocky tide pools and endless ocean attract drinkers before sunset. Come nightfall, dance barefoot on the sandy makeshift dance floor to the live music. The Kona Brewing Company, the company behind some of the nation’s best and most beautifully designed craft beers, makes for a surprisingly family-friendly restaurant. Cold beer and strong but sweet cocktails come cheap at Sam’s Hideaway. There’s always something going on at My Bar, with a laidback and friendly atmosphere, you can make friends just by sitting in the bar.
Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA), also known as Keahole Airport, is the main commercial airport for the Kona Coast, serving the Kona area and the resort areas of Kohala to the north. Walking is a manageable way to travel in town, but you should rent a car if you want to get to resorts, beaches, and other cultural locations.
The mountains block the northeasterly trade winds, so Kona gets very little rain and enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. High season runs from December through March and is the time where people come here to escape the winter. Though it’s high season, you’ll get to enjoy some attractions that aren’t available in the off-season, such as humpback whale migration.
You can also visit our Kailua Kona Travel Guide for more information and recommendations for your trip!