Things to see on the Big Island, Kona side:
Manini beach & tide pools- Manini Beach is a small beach on Kealakekua Bay just opposite from Captain Cook monument. Most of the park is covered by a grassy lawn
and it has a few picnic tables. There is a nice amount of shade so it is a great place to bring a picnic lunch and some beach chairs and just hang. The tide pools are located on the shore towards the back of the park.
The Red Road - Also called Kapoho Kalapana Road, is a 15 miles winding one lane road that takes you on a journey along the coastline of the lower Puna District. It is one of the most scenic roads in the state of Hawaii. Absolute MAGIC!!! The road brings you along the coastline, sometimes it curves close to the edge of the cliffs formed by lava and sometimes it leads you through a dense tree tunnel where dangling vines reach the floor. I suggest renting a convertible and driving with the top down while the sound track of Elvis's Blue Hawaii plays in the background -- you'll feel transported in time. Just unbelievable. (There is absolutely no cell service or gas stations, so plan accordingly)
Hapuna Beach- Part of Hapuna Beach State Park and located on the Kohala Coast, this is one of the larger, more sandy beaches. There are bathrooms, food and parking. Really great for kids and families. Pack a cooler for the day with lots of drinks and snacks and spend the day enjoying the sun and sea!
Kukio “keiki” beach- This is where we saw the turtles! It is just north of the Kona International Airport, and is part of a the private, gated community, of Kukio so you have to check in with security guard to enter. The swimming area is ideal for babies and toddlers, because there is no waves, as part of the swimming area is enclosed by lava rock. There are also bathrooms available but no food, so bring snacks and lunch. ALSO. There are VERY limited parking spots, so go early. And by early I mean 8:30am! We got there at 9:30 am and got the last parking space!!
Mauna Kea beach- Another beach great for families and it has good access to facilities! The beach is about half a mile long and the waters are generally calm. There are also two small coral reefs on the sides of the beach. If youre in the mood to sunbathe and chill - this is the perfect place. This is my favorite beach I think...hard to say because they are all so vastly different from each other. The beach is part of the Mauna Kea hotel, so if you get hungry or crave a nice drink, you can walk over to the hotels restaurant. AGAIN. Parking is super limited so you need to get there by 8:30am, we got there late and missed our chance this time =(
These are just a few things that the island has to offer. If you're a family traveling with children, these are my top 5 things we have done so far -- we have been to the big Island three times now and still haven't been able to see everything!