Kona, Hawaii

Polynesians first settled here on Hawaii's western coast in the 6th through 9th centuries on land carved from a lava flow. Kona welcomes you now to white sand beaches, barren black lava fields, flowers spread wild across rainforest, and snowy volcano peaks. You can still touch Kona's recorded past in sacred heiau temples, as you explore its magic in present time.

If you snorkel and dive at Kahalu'u Beach you might find yourself swimming among dolphins, electric blue parrot fish, and big gentle honu green sea turtles. Stop at high vantage points along ocean-cliff roads to see molten lava pour into the steaming sea. It is possible to explore the 333,000 acre volcanic park that houses Mauna Loa, the most massive volcano on Earth.

Kayak at Kealakekua Bay, then head east to the Kona Coffee Living History Farm that honors the Japanese immigrants who worked the plantations in the early 20th century. Discover the coffee farms that dot the slopes of Hualalai and serve delicious unique brews. Kailua Village inspires artists with its tranquil beauty. Kailua Bay meanwhile serves as robust host to the original Ironman Triathlon.

You could be at Rainbow Falls when water rushes down cliffs through sunlight and forms the most beautiful rainbow. Kona sunsets are breathtaking. And when the sun goes down the Kona night comes to life. Music, graceful dances, and sumptuous island foods fill you up alongside the rhythm of soft crashing waves.

Next Stop: Kona

Videos provided by Next Stop