On the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, far away from the resorts in Kailua-Kona and the lava flows in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is a small town that’s big on charm. With a population of less than 2,000, Hawi is a funky little town that offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of life in a bigger city. From culturally significant historic sites and family-friendly adventures to the best coffee around, awesome shopping, and phenomenal restaurants, here is (almost) everything you need to know about planning a trip to this beautiful slice of Hawaiian paradise.
For an introduction to the town: Kohala Welcome Center
The rural Kohala region is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty - and the Kohala Welcome Center exists to inform you of all this beautiful region has to offer.
For the best Hawaiian food: Bamboo Restaurant
This Hawi restaurant is known for serving up innovative Pacific Rim cuisine in a tiki-themed atmosphere with live entertainment. What could be more Hawaiian?
For your morning cup of Joe: Kohala Coffee Mill
Serving up freshly-brewed Kona coffee in an inviting space, Kohala Coffee Mill shares a space with Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, so you can get your caffeine and sugar fix in one stop!
For charming accommodations: Kohala Village Inn
This relaxed, plantation-style inn is both charming and comfortable, with rooms that can accommodate one to six people. It's also affordable: rates start at just $110 per night.
For shopping, art, and souvenirs: Hawi Gallery Art + Ukulele
With the best selection of musical instruments in the area, an impressive collection of Aloha wear and Hawaiiana items, Hawi Gallery is the place to go for all of your shopping needs in Hawi.
For a history lesson: Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
On the northwestern coast of Hawaii Island is this National Historic Landmark that was designated in order to preserve the ruins of the last major ancient Hawaiian temple. The Puukohola Heiau, translated to the “Temple on the Hill of the Whale,” was built by hand, with no mortar, in less than a year. The temple was completed in 1791, and that same year, King Kamehameha summoned his cousin, Keoua Kuahu’ula to the site, and captured and killed the entire party; the sacrifice of the bodies officially marked the temple’s dedication.
For a family-friendly adventure: Flumin’ Kohala
Explore the notorious Kohala Ditch, an 110-year old system of elevated flumes, hand-wrought tunnels, and concrete channels that once supplied fresh water to the area's sugar cane plantations.
For the freshest produce + Hawaii products: Kohala Grown Market
For locally sourced produce and gifts, look no further than Kohala Grown Market, a vibrant retail establishment where you can pick up fruit for breakfast and souvenirs for your family back home at the same time!
For a scenic drive: Kohala Mountain Road
Is there anything truly better than driving through the country with the windows down and music blaring through the radio? We don't think so. Don't forget to bring your camera on this drive!
For mouthwatering sushi: Sushi Rock
For some of the most innovative sushi on Hawaii Island in a charming, no-frills establishment, Sushi Rock is hard to beat.
For an adrenaline rush: Kohala Zipline
What better way to immerse yourself in the Hawaiian rainforest than to spend the afternoon zipping through towering trees and lush valleys? Trust us – anyone can zip line!
For epic views + a hiking excursion: Polulu Valley
Far less crowded than nearby Waipio Valley, the Polulu Valley Lookout offers dramatic views of Hawaii Island’s northeastern coastline and impressive cliffs, a black sand beach, and small offshore islands. You can even take the steep path down to the impressive beach below.
That’s it, I’m booking a flight to the Big Island from Oahu and packing my bags to visit this funky little Hawaiian town. Not convinced that Hawi is the place to be? Check out these
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