The Kona District is on the west side of the island of Hawaii and offers a huge range of attractions and activities. When you spend some time in Kona, you’ll have the chance to see historic sites, tour coffee farms, traipse through beautiful natural, and learn more about the culture from the locals. You’ll also be able to get out on the water and see some of Hawaii’s most amazing marine life.
Unless you’re a big fan of traveling to Hawaii, you probably haven’t heard of Kona before. This will make it a little difficult to find the best neighborhood in Kona for your first time or even on a return trip. But now, when you’re planning your trip, all you’ll have to do is check in with this Kona neighborhood guide and you’ll find all the best areas to make your base for a relaxing, memorable trip to this part of the world.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Kona?
- Where to stay in Kona first time – Kailua Bay
- Where to stay in Kona on a budget – Wai’aha
- Best neighborhood in Kona for families – Kukailimoku Point
Where to Stay in Kona
If you’re ready to book and go, here are some great accommodation options that will almost every type of traveler.
- Free parking on premises
- Warm kitchen with traditional cabinetry and hardwood floors
- Breathtaking views of the ocean from the dining or cozy seating areas
This bright and airy apartment sleeps two guests and has lovely hardwood floors and a covered lanai where you can walk out and stare over the ocean. The kitchen is large and fully equipped for your stay and the apartment also has laundry facilities for extra convenience.
Absolutely Ocean Front Condo
- Located right on the beautiful aqua blue Pacific Ocean
- Watch yellow tang, turtles, dolphins and whales right from the condo
- This 37 unit complex is nestled between Magic Sands Beach and a grass and tree covered park
Located on the beachfront, this condo sleeps up to three guests and is newly remodeled. It’s right next to a beach park and has its own pool and a fully stocked kitchen. The apartment’s decor is pleasingly tropical and the apartment has lots of extras that you’ll need for a perfect beach holiday like an umbrella, beach chairs, and ice chest.
Kona Magic Honu Room
- Kahaluu Beach Park is 1.5 km from Kona Magic Honu Room
- Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park is 13 km away
- A wimming pool, a shared lounge, a garden and views of the garden
This hotel is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona on a budget. It has its own swimming pool, garden, spa bath, sauna, and a shared lounge for that touch of convenience and luxury. The units have dishwashers and microwaves as well as private bathrooms with their own hot tub. Best of all, the hotel is on the beachfront, so you won’t have to go far to enjoy the famous coastline!
Kona Neighborhood Guide
The Kona district is a large area that stretches from south of Anaehoomalu Bay (Waikoloa Beach Resort) to Manuka Park (Kau). It’s a large area but there are surprisingly few places to stay as most of it is covered with forests and other natural features. This means you’ll have relatively limited choices when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona close to everything.
When you’re trying to decide where to stay in Kona for your first time, then you need to be near Kailua Bay. This is the main tourist area in Kona, because it’s right on the beach and it’s also where you’ll find the most hotels.
The next area to look at is Wai’aha. This is still on the coast but a little further from the village. It’s still within a walkable distance, but the extra distance means that the accommodation options are a little more budget-friendly.
The last area is Kukailimoku Point. This area is as close as you can get to the restaurants, shops, and attractions of the village. This makes it the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona for families with kids who don’t like to walk far!
Kona’s 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Are you still having trouble making a choice? Well, here’s a closer look at what each area has to offer.
Where to stay in Kona first time
- COOLEST thing to do in Kailua Bay – Grab some local produce and mingle with the locals at the Kona Farmers’ Market
- BEST place to visit in Kailua Bay – Kona Farm Direct Coffee for a cup of coffee as it was meant to be
Kailua Bay is right on the coast of Kona and the area with the greatest concentration of hotels. It’s also close to all the restaurants and shops in the main village, so you definitely won’t go hungry or get bored when you stay in this area.
Kailua Bay is the best neighborhood in Kona close to everything simply because it’s on the beach. After all, why would you travel to Hawaii at all if you didn’t want to enjoy the famous coastlines and water adventures!
- Have a meal at Papa Kona Restaurant and Bar or On the Rocks
- Explore the summer home of Hawaii’s royalty at Hulihe‘e Palace
- Learn about the area’s past at the Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark
- Head up to ‘Alula Beach for swimming, snorkeling, and diving
- See a show with your dinner at Island Breeze Lū‘au – He ‘Ohana Kakou
- Relax on Kailua Bay Beach or Kamakahonu Beach
Best Airbnb in Kailua Bay
This airy, spacious apartment is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona for families as it sleeps up to four guests. It’s also just steps from the beach and from the shops and restaurants in the downtown area. The apartment is fully renovated and has its own parking space and a lanai with views, and there’s a pool in the building with a grill and picnic area.
Best High-End Airbnb in Kailua Bay
Located right in the heart of Kailua Bay, the best neighborhood in Kona close to everything, it offers one bedroom and one bathroom, ideal for two people. It’s close to the downtown shops and restaurants as well as the beach. The apartment has its own lanai so you can enjoy the views, a pool, and lots of beachy extras like umbrellas and boogie boards.
Best Budget hotel in Kailua Bay
Located close to all the attractions of the downtown area, the best neighborhood in Kona for nightlife, this hotel is a great budget choice. It has comfortable guest studios with patios and kitchenettes as well as an outdoor pool and hot tub on the property. It’s also just across the road from the beach for convenience at a good price.
Best Luxury Hotel in Kailua Bay
Located right on the coast, this beautiful resort is oceanfront, with a sun deck where you can enjoy the views. It also has a hot tub and pool and is just a short drive from all the shops and restaurants of downtown Kona. The rooms are large, with private balconies and dining areas and there are BBQ facilities on site so you can even eat your meals in the great outdoors!
Where to stay in Kona on a budget
- COOLEST thing to do in Wai’aha – Go snorkeling or explore the rockpools at Honl’s Beach
- BEST place to visit in Wai’aha – Honuaʻula Forest Reserve for hiking, biking, and other nature experiences
If you want to save a bit of money on your accommodation, then you should stay in Wai’aha, the best neighborhood in Kona if you are on a budget. This area is a little further from the main center but still close enough that you can walk there whenever you want a meal.
Wai’aha is also on the coast, so you’ll have the same access to all the beach and water activities. It has its own collection of restaurants and hotels, so you really won’t have to travel far for any reason if you don’t want to.
- Stop at Island Lava Java or the Basik Café for a meal
- Take the kids to work off some energy at Pualani Park or Hale Halawai Park
- Try a cup of joe at the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
- Check out the local flora at the Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens and the Kona Educational Center
- Head down for kid-friendly swimming and snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park
Best Airbnb in Wai’aha
Located in the best neighborhood in Kona if you are on a budget, this one bedroom sleeps up to four guests. It has easy access to the shops and restaurants in town and is in a building with its own garden, swimming pool, and BBQ facilities. The apartment doesn’t have an elevator but it does have partial ocean views and a fully renovated kitchen.
Best Luxury Airbnb in Wai’aha
If you like a little extra luxury when you travel, then you’ll get it at this apartment. This private paradise offers stunning ocean views, including sunset views, that you can enjoy on your own lanai. The condo has been recently upgraded to include a new kitchen with luxury fittings and the restaurants and shops of Kona town are just a short walk away.
Best Budget hotel in Wai’aha
If you want to be close to the best neighborhood in Kona for nightlife at a good price, then stay in this hotel. It offers a private beach, an outdoor swimming pool, and its own restaurant for your convenience. The rooms are softly decorated to encourage relaxation and have their own lanais with ocean or mountain views. In case you can’t get enough of the outdoors, there are tennis courts on-site as well as a spa and wellness center.
Best High End Hotel in Wai’aha
This unique accommodation is designed to look like a traditional Hawaiian village, so you’ll definitely feel like you’re on holiday when you stay here. It’s all bungalows with palm roofs and paths winding through flowering tropical trees. It’s also just a short drive from downtown Kona and offers units with dining areas and kitchens as well as laundries. There are two swimming pools on site (one a children’s pool), hot tubs, a fitness center, and a BBQ area.
Best neighborhood in Kona for families
- COOLEST thing to do in Kukailimoku Point – Enjoy the full beach experience at Kailua Beach
- BEST place to visit in Kukailimoku Point – The Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area for fishing, picnicking, surfing, and swimming
When you’re traveling with kids, you want to ensure that you stay in an area that offers plenty for them to do. That’s exactly what you’ll find in Kukailimoku Point. This area is close to the main village center which makes it the best neighborhood in Kona for families.
But you won’t miss out on the ideal beach experience in this area either, because it’s on the coast and boasts some of the area’s best beaches and beach parks. It also has a good collection of bars and clubs, making it a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona for nightlife as well.
- Go jogging or walking on Maka’eo Walking Path
- Have a relaxed drink at Ola Brew Co or the Kona Brewery and Pub
- Eat lots of local food at Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill or Chubby’s Diner
- Head up to the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park to see early fishponds and petroglyphs
- Get active by going during Kona Cloud Forest Guided Walking Tours
- Go bird watching at the Puu Waawaa Forest Bird Sanctuary
Best Airbnb in Kukailimoku Point
If you’re on a budget, then why not check out this simple condo? It sleeps up to four guests and is just a couple of blocks from Kona’s center and from the ocean. The building has its own pool that you can use during your stay, and the kitchen has been newly remodeled to include new double ovens and lots of counter space.
Best High End Airbnb in Kukailimoku Point
This gorgeous apartment has one bedroom and a sleeper sofa, so can sleep up to four guests. It’s right in the center of Kona’s downtown, so it’s a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona for nightlife. The apartment has stunning views over the ocean, a full kitchen, and lots of beach accessories like snorkeling gear and boogie boards.
Best Budget hotel in Kukailimoku Point
This hotel is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Kona for couples on a budget. It serves a free daily breakfast and has large rooms with fridges, microwaves, and private bathrooms. There are laundry facilities on-site as well as free Wi-Fi and a pool and fitness center.
Best Luxury Hotel in Kukailimoku Point
This hotel truly has everything you’ll need for a comfortable, convenient stay in Kona. With two restaurants, a tour desk, a private beach area, and a pool, you won’t have to go anywhere to enjoy your holiday when you stay at this hotel. The rooms have their own balconies and coffee machines and are modern in design with nature-inspired designs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Kona
Kona is a beautifully wild, culturally rich part of Hawaii that’s full of amazing food, nature, and beach experience. When you visit this part of the world, you’ll either have an impossibly active holiday, filled with every kind of outdoor experience you can imagine, or one that’s based around relaxing on stunning beaches. Whatever holiday you’re looking for, make sure you use this guide to help you decide where to stay in Kona close to everything. Finding a comfortable and convenient base is key to having the best holiday possible!
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