There is so much to do in and around Kailua Kona, you may find yourself returning just to check everything off from your first trip. Although an unlimited budget — or at least a large one — offers unique opportunities, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an unforgettable trip on the cheap. You may find when you’re in Hawaii that just taking in the scenery will be enough. Staying away from the business-heavy scene and breakneck pace on the mainland will give you a unique experience. Part of going on vacation is exploring just a little out of your comfort zone.
Reassess Your Priorities
Let’s face it, you’re are probably going to Hawaii for the amazing weather, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking coastlines. Try staying somewhere cheap instead of blowing your budget on a room that you’ll just use for sleeping and showering. Fortunately, Kailua-Kona offers many affordable options close to Kona Town and the beach.
Check out reviews of Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel on Hipmunk. This lodging offers affordable rates, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and access to secluded beaches. This hotel won’t scream extravagance like many of the nearby resorts, but you’ll find the rooms cozy and the complimentary breakfast enough get started. Plus, it is close to Kona Inn Shopping Village, so you can hop on over there if you need to pick up necessities or get a bite to eat.
If Uncle Billy’s doesn’t seem like a place you’d like to stay, continue exploring Hipmunk. The site has tons of other cheap hotels in Kailua-Kona as well as cheap flights.
Get Up and Get on the Road
When you hear “Kona” you probably think of amazing coffee. While you won’t be disappointed going to a trusted chain like Starbucks, getting your morning jolt at Kona Coffee Haven provides you with a local experience and a fantastic views. After you’ve perked up, take a scenic drive on Saddle Road. This recently paved road provides incredible views of the island. Additionally, you will find that it provides quicker access to Hilo, which lies on the island’s east side, than taking the highway. Once you’re in Hawaii’s oldest city, you’ll find enough to do to fill your day. Of course, the east side of the island offers its own spectacular scenery.
Eating Can Be an Adventure Too
One of the best ways to take in the local culture is by eating the local food. Some of the best meals can be had without spending a lot of money. If you want to try some good local food, take advantage of Kailua-Kona’s fresh seafood and chow on some poke at Da Poke Shack. No, this place won’t have candlelight dining or a sommelier, but an appetite and bench to sit on is all you need. End your evening with a Mai Tai and panoramic views of the ocean at Don’s Mai Tai Bar which is at another affordable hotel option, The Royal Kona Resort.
When in Doubt, Ask a Local
Traveling is not only about making connections with a new place, but also new people. Although reading blogs and travel guides can provide abundant ideas, asking a local often offers the most enriching experience. You’ll find that the locals are more than happy to tell you which restaurants are great or where the best place to spot a turtle is. Not to mention, locals are a great resource for finding the best deals wherever you go. Feel free to share your tips and ideas about Kailua-Kona in the comments below. Maybe you’ll inspire somebody’s next vacation.
About the author:
Matthew Potter writes about where he eats and travels and what he knows. He lives in San Diego, California where he enjoys the sun, surf, and the quest to find the perfect burrito.