Alii Drive

Alii Drive in Kona Hawaii is a scenic waterfront road and promenade centered in the popular resort community of Kailua Kona, also called simply Kona, known for its excellent snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, and as the site of the international Ironman Triathlon. The community lies at the foot of one of the Big Island volcanoes, Hualalai, and the Kona International Airport is actually built on one of the lava flows of this mountain.

In town, Alii Drive is the main street, lined on one side by the ocean and on the other by numerous shops, boutiques, cafes, and other dining venues. As you stroll along Alii Drive you will catch the distinctive aroma of the Kona coffee that is harvested on the slopes of Hualalai and brewed in all the local restaurants.

As it leaves town, this Big Island scenic drive becomes a route passing numerous historic sites, stretching all the way to Keauhou Bay. The sights on Alii Drive are easily accessible as you make your way along the road in your car rentals. Just outside of town, you will find the Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens, showcasing 1.5 acres of island flora.

Most of the Sights on Alii Drive that are in town can all be reached on foot. This includes the Ahuena Heiau, a restored temple that became the retreat of King Kamehameha the Great after he united the Hawaiian Islands in 1812. He remained here until his death in 1819. A year later, his son sat down to a meal with his mother, thus breaking the ancient kapu (taboo) of eating with women. This is where the popular Royal Kona Luau is held. Across the bay is one of the island’s fine museums, the Hulihee Palace, originally the king’s royal residence built in 1838. Here also is wonderful Kahaluu Beach Park. This is one of the prime snorkeling beaches on the island, and it is also popular with families because of the ample shade and calm, protected waters. Another of the Alii Drive attractions in town is the Mokuaikaua Church, the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian islands, established in 1820 and built in 1837.

If you are staying in town, you will find that Alii Drive in Kona Hawaii is lined with numerous hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals. Once you get on Alii Drive in Kona Hawaii and drive out of town, more scenic beauty and fascinating sights on Alii Drive await you. A little north of town is the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. This is the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement, and it protects the Aimakapa and Kaloko Fishponds, two superb examples of ancient Hawaiian aquaculture. Here also is the Aiopio Fishtrap with its huge stone walls and ancient petroglyphs. There are a number of things to do here, including hiking across the barren lava fields, fishing, and snorkeling. Wildlife sheltered in this park includes the endangered Hawaiian stilt and Hawaiian coot. Snorkelers are apt to find themselves swimming with green sea turtles, and they may spot a rare monk seal basking on the beach.

Other beaches along this Big Island scenic drive are Magic Sands Beach, which has good bodyboarding waves, and Kamakahonu Beach, called King Kam by locals. King Kam Beach boasts consistently calm waters and very gentle waves, making it popular among families with young children. Canoes and kayaks can be rented here for easy forays into the bay.

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