Steep drop-offs beckon just off Kona’s coast, the dominion of pelagic beasts—marlin and billfish some topping 1,000 lbs. Most journeys to catch one begin the 262-slip marina at Honokohau Harbor, just before the entrance to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. Nearly all of Kailua-Kona’s fishermen, independent sportfish tour operators as well as charter boats departing for scuba sites and popular manta and dolphin snorkeling adventures dock and depart from Honokohau Harbor.
The full-service marina also sports two noteworthy restaurants: Harbor House, a burger and beer joint with views of vessels from their open-air dining room, and Bite Me Fish Market Bar & Grill serving seafood delivered direct from the ocean to their door. ATMs, two full service restroom blocks with hot showers and a convenience store for snacks and sundries round out the facilities here.
Just behind the marina proper, a snaking road ends at a lava rock parking lot with a trail leading to a small beach with decent snorkeling and popular with area dog owners.
Harbor offices are located at 74-380 Kealakehe Parkway and a large sign announces the entrance between mile marker 97 and 98 from Highway 19—it’s three miles north of town and five miles south of the Airport. The Charter Desk, located above the marina’s fuel dock, sells spots on 60 sportfishing boats—expect to pay between $450 and $600 for a half day or $750 and $3,500 for an entire boat’s full-day charter. Most Pacific blue marlin, the big catch here, are reeled in between June and August. Tickets for most other excursions are available from booths in Kailua town. Many popular tourist activities include transport from area hotels or central locations; if they don’t, you’ll need a rental car or taxi to reach the harbor. Note: Restaurants here close between 7 and 9 p.m.