Day Trip to Kohala Coast Resorts

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This day trip will take you from Kailua-Kona to two magnificent resort hotels on the Kohala Coast, with a stop at a fascinating art gallery and lunch at our favorite Kohala restaurant. The return trip offers you the choice to see sharks and Hawaiian green sea turtles, then laze in a seaside hammock as you watch the sun settle into the Pacific or shop ‘til you drop at two beautifully landscaped marketplaces. The trip covers approximately 50 miles and the route remains at or near sea level.

Stops Along the Way *

Hilton Waikoloa Village:

In our opinion, this  is the most family-friendly resort on the Kohala Coast. You can visit for free (pay-parking in the hotel lot, but free parking is sometimes available in the shoreline access parking lot across the street). Wander the resort, sit in an oceanside chaise, putt in their mini golf course, ride the boats and tram, and watch dolphins play.  

Café Pesto:

This is our favorite restaurant on the Kohala Coast. Located in a strip mall near Kawaihae Harbor, it is not much to look at from the outside, however It’s the food that brings visitors and locals back time and again. You won’t be disappointed.

Harbor Gallery:

A small gallery just across the breezeway from Café Pesto, the Harbor Gallery sells quality art by local artists. We especially like the furniture and koa bowls. They’ll ship your purchases.

Mauna Lani Resort:

The Mauna Lani has recently undergone a multi million dollar facelift, but none of it’s original charm has been lost. It is still the premier place to watch Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat, and it is the only place on the coast where you can get up close and personal with sharks

Kings’ Shops and Queens’ Marketplace:

These shopping malls provide fine food and fun shopping in a pleasant environment (and this area’s only Starbucks!). Check their web sites for shopping information and click below for a schedule of free Hawaiian entertainment and movies under the stars (King’s shops calendar of events), (Queens’ Marketplace calendar of events).

* You will find full restrooms at all of these stops.


Kohala Coast Resorts and Attractions (Printable itinerary for this trip)

Guest transportation at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

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Getting to the Start Point

This day trip starts at at the entrance to the Waikoloa village Resort Complex. Here are directions for getting there:

From Kailua-Kona: Take the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway (Queen ‘K’ highway, as locals call it) north to the entrance to the Waikoloa Village Resort complex.. Allow 30 minutes.

From Waikoloa Resorts: You are already at the start point for this day trip.

From Waimea: Depart Waimea on upper road (called the Hawaiian Belt Road or the Mamalahoa Highway). After about 7 miles turn right on Waikoloa Road and follow it to the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway. Turn left then turn right at the next stop light. That is the entrance to the Waikoloa Village Resort complex. Allow 20 minutes.

From Hilo: It is too far to get there and back in a day.Instead, choose the Volcanoes National Park, Plantation towns and secluded valleys, the Hilo town, or the Kamuela and Cowboy country day trips.

Our Recommendations

Click below to download

itineraries for these day trips

on The Big Island.

  1. Place of Refuge and Kealekekua Bay

  2. Kohala Coast Resorts and Attractions

  3. Volcanoes National Park

  4. North Coast and King Kamehameha Country

  5. Plantation Towns and Secluded Valleys

  6. Kailua-Kona

  7. Hilo and Hamakua