It’s easy to look at the Kona coastline and wonder how Hawaiians survived. Barren, dry, and covered in black lava, this desolate terrain appears inhospitable and incapable of supporting life. In actuality, however, this harsh coastline boasted a thriving population of native Hawaiian inhabitants, who worked intimately with the natural surroundings to maximize all of its resources.
At Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park—set just south of the Kona Airport—this ancient history is brought to life and is blended with recreation. Take a hike past ancient fishponds that were used for feeding the village, and follow trails past historic heiau that were used to worship the gods. If the Kona sun gets a little too hot, cool off at white sand Honokohau Beach, or a take a dip in the Queen’s Bath and enjoy the secluded, hidden surroundings.
More than just the beaches and hiking trails, the Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park is as an outdoor museum of Hawaiian archaeology. Petroglyphs, fishponds, and ancient rock walls are scattered across the park’s 1,160 acres, and traditionally restored, thatched-hut hale (houses) sit on the shore like they once did for centuries. Local fisherman can often be seen throwing nets like their ancestors before them, and this is the perfect place to unplug and escape when staying in downtown Kona.
The Hale Ho‘okipa Visitor Center is open from 8am-4pm daily and is off of Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway. To access the park after 4pm when the gates to the Visitor Center close, follow the road to the Honokohau Marina and the signs to the Kona Sailing Club. From here, a short trail leads north to the beach and all of the hiking trails within. There is no admission fee for visiting the park, and no camping is allowed.