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As you drive 20-minutes north of Kona International Airport, you’ll marvel at the rugged lava fields surrounding you. You may not see it from Queen Kaahumanu Highway, but the Kohala Coast is where you’ll find some of the island’s finest resorts. Nestled amongst the jet-black and rust-red lava rock fields, a result of eruptions from the island's volcanos centuries ago, are green oases full of world-class accommodations, fine dining and some of Hawaii’s best golf courses. The sun-drenched Kohala Coast sees an annual average rainfall of only nine inches, so soak in the sun and relax at Hapuna Beach State Park, one of the island of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches, indulge at local restaurants or recharge at a local spa. You’ll discover cultural treasures on the Kohala Coast, too, such as the remarkable Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, the largest restored heiau in Hawaii.

At the junction of Kawaihae Road and Highway 19, turn east to explore the cool scenic pasturelands of Waimea. In sharp contrast to the lava landscapes along the Kohala Coast, this upcountry town is home to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy). From Waimea, head north on Kohala Mountain Road. Visit Kahua Ranch to take a horseback riding tour or ATV drive. Then continue on to the charming town of Hawi. On your way to Kapaau, home of the original Kamehameha Statue, you'll find dramatic Pololu Valley at the end of the road. If returning back to the Kohala Coast, take Akoni Pule highway (coastal) and stop off at Lapakahi State Park, an old fishing village..

Video: Day With a Local in Kohala

Follow on a trip through the Kohala region of the island of Hawaii to see lava fields, amazing local food and more.

Kohala Highlights

Puukohala Heiau National Historic Site

Part of the National Park System, this historic site is home to one of the largest and last heiau (temple) built in Hawaii.


Puako Petroglyph Archeological Preserve

The Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve is one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Hawaii.


Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach on the Kohala Coast is one of the largest white sand beaches on the island of Hawaii.


Pololu Valley Lookout

The Pololu Valley Lookout offers a breathtaking view overlooking Pololu Valley, a black sand beach and the northeastern coastline.


Learn More About Petroglyphs On the Island of Hawaii

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