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[mis]Adventures in Kona

I knew with the brutal schedule that Mr. Misadventures was going to have during his photography workshop in Hilo, that he was going to need some serious rest and recovery. So for the last three days of our trip to Hawaii, I planned a stay in Kona.

Also, after five days of restaurant food (even though it was delicious!) being able to eat or prepare meals would be welcomed.

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Hawaii Big Island Keokea-Beach-Park Crab
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

The perfect solution was a condo where we could be on our own and have a kitchen. I wanted a condo, what we got was a little slice of heaven.

The name of the little corner of paradise?

Royal Sea Cliffs by Outrigger Resorts.

Having been introduced to the Outrigger Resorts family (literally and figuratively) during SPAMJam, I was very interested to see what their other type of accommodations, condos, would be like. The Outrigger Resort team graciously agreed to host Mr. Misadventures and I for a few days in Kona.

We took the “long way” to get from Hilo to Kona and stopped along the way, meandering up the south coast.

We visited the turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Mr. Misadventures had photographed them the previous day as part of his workshop. The turtles were hanging out in the water, feeding and beginning their afternoon naps. In the evening they come up to sleep on the beach.

Hawaii Big Island Turtle at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

We picnicked near Ocean View (that’s the name!) where we had a majestic view of the layers of fauna and flora, from dark volcanic rock to brown fields, to rich pali greens down to the ocean.

We visited at the southernmost point of the U.S. at the end of South Point Road. There at the end of the world lies a platform where you can jump off into the gorgeous deep blue waters.


For the first time observer you think that the diver is completely nuts, but then on closer inspection, you see that there is a ladder attached to the cliff so that you can climb up to do it all over again. Mr. Misadventures and I sorely wished we had our bathing suits on; we would have done the jump, although it is discouraged from jumping off of the cliff for safety reasons, and the last thing you want to do is visit a doctor while on vacation!

The coastline was desolate, rugged and gorgeous.

Hawaii Big Island SouthPoint-Cliff
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

There were maybe a dozen people there. Half tourists, half locals, and everyone was so nice to each other, aloha at the end of the world.

We stopped for coffee on the Kona coast, a preview to many great cups of coffee over the coming days.

When we reached the Royal Sea Cliffs we were happy and exhausted. We checked in and found our home for the next couple of days.

Actually, it was a palace.

We had a fourth-floor level one bedroom condo on the corner. It afforded us views of the ocean and the pool. It was clean and well-designed with thoughtful local touches and great amenities to make it feel like home. The best feature though was the near wrap-around terrace.

We spent every morning and every evening on that terrace.

In the morning with cups of coffee and in the evening with Longboard beers, just enjoying the view, the sunset, the sound of the waves.

Here was the view the first evening:


After surveying in awe and wonder, we went to KTA (see why I think you should support them) and bought food supplies. Breakfast food, fruit, coffee, beer, and rice (they had a rice cooker and a crock pot in the kitchen!). I had a supply of freshly picked lychees from OK Farms (thank you Ala!), plus mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen – what more do you need in life?

Poke. Of course!

We got plenty of poke while in Kona. From KTA, from Da Poke Shack and from Umeke’s. Each time we would get our amazingly fresh ahi poke and take it back to our terrace and pinch ourselves. This was true paradise.

I would wake up in the morning and open my eyes to this view


Or I would see Mr. Misadventures sitting on that chair drinking coffee, feeding birds, relaxing and I knew I had done well. I had told him that we were to have no plans for Kona, no “we must go here” or “we have to get up at x time to be at X.” And when I woke up to my husband looking out at the sea, I knew I had done well.

One day we took a drive up the Kohala Coast and visited near deserted beaches. We stopped in Hawi for more Kona coffee and picked up lunch and picnicked by the sea at Kēōkea Beach Park.

We drove to the other “end” of the island to Pololu Valley Lookout where the highway literally ends and there is nothing but the gorgeous Pololu Valley below.


Given it is an island, there are only a few main roads, so instead of driving back the way we came, we cut through the green, green Kohala mountains, stopping to say hello to cows and admiring the grassy hills.

Hawaii Big Island Kohala Mountain-Cow
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

If you didn’t see the ocean the hills might would remind you of Ireland. We made our way through Waimea (where one day I want to eat at Merriman’s!) and then back home to paradise.

Hawaii Big Island Waimea-Hills
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

Unapologetically, we did absolutely nothing our last day. We went out to get our poke, but that was it. Trust me, if you stay at Royal Sea Cliffs, you don’t want to leave!

This was the sunset from the pool our last evening.

Hawaii Big Island Kona_Sunset
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

This was the first trip to Hawaii Island for Mr. Misadventures. He had been to Oahu in a previous life. And he and I had been to Maui in 2008. But ever since my trip last year I have been telling him how much I love Hawaii Island.

Now he understands.

And we will be back.

Kona is on Hawaii Island, sometimes referred to as the Big Island. And while it may be the largest in land mass, it is decidedly not big. Hawaii Island has many small towns where the greatest pleasure is to discover local treasures and local people. It is big-hearted with the perfect balance of things to do, visit, eat drink and explore. I am most definitely in love with Hawaii Island! Our trip was pretty low key in terms of outdoor adventure but if you are looking to check and do some of the most exciting things to do on Big Island, you should definitely check out my friend Suz’s list!

How about you? Have you been to Hawaii Island? How about Kona? What did you like best?

More of my Hawaii Big Island stories:

[Disclosures: I was on vacation, but I did receive a hotel discount from Outrigger, an airfare discount from Hawaiian Airlines and a rental car discount from the Big Island Visitors Bureau. All opinions remain my own.]

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  1. Lovely!! We stayed in Kona in 2010 at the Kona Village Resort and it was one of my favorite trips ever, mostly because we had our own little hale and the laid back vibe of the resort was so chill (no phones, TVs, AC, etc.) Unfortunately it is now closed due to tsunami damage. I’m glad to see if we go back that we can find a new slice of paradise.

    1. @Tamara, most definitely, although it had TV, wifi, etc. you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to and we didn’t!

  2. Ahhhhh, I feel calmer just reading about your trip and diving into those gorgeous pictures. What a wonderful part of the world. I have not been to Kona, but need to go, and need to stay at the Royal Sea Cliffs. I wouldn’t want to leave that balcony and view either. I think that’s what vacation should be all about – taking a moment to simply sit and admire.

    1. @Kelly, it is definitely the kind of terrace you can live on. Three different types of chairs depending on your mood, a sun shade for when it is too hot, a table for eating, a sink, space for a barbeque, cover from the rain, we loved it!

  3. That sounds like an amazing adventure. I would LOVE to see those turtles! How cool is that.

  4. wow I’ve never been to Hawaii before. If I went, What an amazing place! I wonder if I would have had the courage to jump into the water!

    1. @Jerusha, funny, I am reading a book on Hawaiian history right now and Jerusha is the name of one of the original missionary wives and the name was given to many daughters of the family line.

  5. We were set to go to Hawaii this summer. I wanted to go really a lot much tons, but things changed and now it’ll have to wait a bit. 😉

    1. @Rosey, that happened to me last year with a trip to Yellowstone. Life happens and we have to move things around, I hope the wait isn’t too long.

  6. Breathtaking views. I think I’ve seen it somewhere in the movie. How’d I wish I could visit it one day.

  7. Have yet to go to Hawaii but am an avid visitor of Oahu.
    I would love to do a tour of the islands one day – I’ve heard each has a distinctive personality and very different landscapes. At first I wouldn’t have guessed some of your images are from the big island it is so varied and lovely!

  8. I lived on the Oahu island for a couple years. During that time I was given the opportunity to go to some of the other islands. I loved the Big Island. I loved how on one side of the island it was lush green Hawaii, and the other side was the volcanic rocky side. There is so much to do there, and I could spend an entire day at the local farmers market. Looks like your lodging was amazing!

  9. Awesome vacation you had and thanks for sharing I must confess I’m a local when I do see other people enjoying what I already know I still get a kick out of it. Aloha!