- Mauna Kea. The view from the summit of Mauna Kea at sunset is incredible. It is a 13,803 ft mountain that brings you above the clouds to see a stunning sunset. On your drive up they will make you stop at the visitors center. This is where you have to acclimatize so you don’t get sick due to quick elevation gain. The Rangers will also make sure you have enough gas and are in a 4-wheel drive vehicle- it is important to note these things before you arrive. It is also important to know that it is very windy and cold at the top, so bring jackets! Once you make it to the summit it will be well worth it. Usually, the Rangers will make sure everyone is off the top of the mountain right after sunset, but, if you are lucky you might get to stay up there to see some of the stars. If not, you can stargaze at the visitor center which is still pretty cool. There is also a short hike close to the top that will take you Lake Waiau. The hike was about .5 miles and took 20 minutes. The lake is a sacred place for locals so be respectful if you do this hike.
Mauna Kea at sunset
- South Pointe. This is the southernmost point in the United States. We went here just to say that we went there. When we arrived, the scenery took our breath away. There are cliffs that you can easily jump off here. The water is about 30 feet deep and is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. The road to get here is narrow but it is paved. You will pass a cool windmill farm right before you arrive.
- Kahaluu Park. This park is right in the heart of Kona. The waters here are swarmed with hundreds of fish and many sea turtles. The water is warm and extremely clear allowing you to see everything around you. This park is also very easy to get to and has a parking lot, bathrooms, and showers! With this being said, it was crowded every day.
- Kiholo Bay. Just a few miles from the Kona Airport, this bay offers bright blue water that you dream of when you think of Hawaii. This is not the best place to snorkel because the plankton makes for poor visibility. This is still definitely a place to go and swim. There are a couple of things to see while here; obviously the blue water, queens bath, and the lava fields.
- Two Step. In my opinion (and many others who live in Kona), this is the best snorkeling spot around. There are literally two steps carved into a rock that you can jump or slide right into the deep water filled with coral and fish. You can swim pretty far out here and see so many animals in the water.