This is the first of four posts in a series of exciting adventures with kids on the Big Island in Hawaii. This post is centered in the area of South Kona, where we fit in four activities; Snorkeling/tide-pooling, Visiting a National Park, Touring the Painted Church and Lunch all between the hours of 11am-3pm. (This means we skipped many naps on vacation for the 3 year old. It also meant frequent melt-downs, but, we rolled with it anyway.) All of these activities are very close together and the admission fee was only $5/car for the National Park. Pretty fun and inexpensive day!
Activities with kids:
We set out to snorkel at Honaunau Bay in South Kona. This is a quick 5 minute walk from the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park. You can park for free along the trees on the side of the road if you aren’t into the $5 admission to the National Park. We paid the money to park, since they have nice clean restrooms and water fountains.
The glass bottom boogie boards were rented from the educational center located at Kahalu’u Beach Park near where we were staying. We paid $19 for two at a beach location for day use. Snorkel Bob’s is the way to go and they rent them out in Kailua-Kona $6.50/day or $26/week, but if you book a tour through them, you get a free one for use all week. You could also buy your own inflatable raft from Amazon for $59 and have it forever and ever. (Wish I would have known all this before we went!)
Honaunau Bay is known for fabulous snorkeling, sea turtles and the occasional dolphin. It’s nicknamed “two-step” because there is a ledge off the lava that will plunge you into the deeper water. The waves lap up on it, so it can be tricky getting in and out. We found this to be true with our 3 and 5 year old girls, so we entered near the boat launch and walked in.
We snorkeled and held onto the girls as they peered into the ocean on their glass bottom boogie boards. The girls loved seeing the schools of fish and calling out the marine life they saw. After we were done with that, we headed into the tide pools. The water in them was so still, clean and warm, that the girls loved taking an ocean bath.
This is a wonderful and peaceful historical place of refuge in Hawaiian culture. It’s been maintained and in some places rebuilt to show exactly how it was.
Here, you will also find sea turtles lying about in the tide pools of lava. One of the most fun things about the park was having the girls join the Jr. Ranger’s. Go up and ask to join at the information center/store and they will give you a booklet of things of importance to find, check off and some coloring assignments. When you turn it in, the rangers ask the kids to raise their right hands and have them take the oath to preserve and be stewards of the the land and parks. It was a really fun activity that provided us all with some knowledge and made the trip through the park a fun scavenger hunt.
I love churches. It’s my thing. When we travel, I love checking them out, but this one was definitely worth the quick stop just off Hwy 160 on the way to and from the National Park. Just turn where you see the sign “Painted Church”. It’s no more than 5 minutes out of your way.
It’s really something to see in the middle of an island. It even has a very friendly cat that will let your 3 year old hug and love it too much with no complaint at all. I guess in Hawaii even their cats are relaxed.
(sorry no photos – too starved to think about it at the time!)
After all that snorkeling and touring we were ravenous and decided to stop in here. These burgers are seriously delicious; the onion rings: fabulous, and the fries: crispy. Great drink selection! It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but go inside and EAT! They have a kid friendly menu, crayons and paper for the kiddos.
Be sure to subscribe via email, follow on Facebook and on Pinterest. Can’t wait to share the rest of kids in Kona, Hawaii with you all! Have I missed any great tips for South Kona? Please add in comments! As always, thanks for reading.
If you like this post, you may like:
- Body Glove Dolphin Snorkel Tour
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- How to Tour Kona, HI on the Cheap