Once upon a time, the town of Kailua Kona (or just “Kona” as it’s typically called) was a special spot for many of the ancient Hawaiian royals. When King Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kailua Kona was actually the capital of this newly created sovereign nation. Even after the capital was moved to Lahaina and then Honolulu, the ancient Hawaiian royals would come to stay in their summer home in Kona.
While there are still marks of Kailua Kona’s important history, the town has become more of a nature- and animal-focused vacation destination. While there, you can snorkel at Kua Bay, visit a Kona coffee farm, and even pet a seahorse! And you can also get a glimpse of Kona’s royalty-filled past at the Hulihe‘e Palace and the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
There are many amazing Airbnbs in Kona. You can stay in a cottage on a coffee farm or in a luxurious oceanfront estate. Which exciting vacation rental will you choose for your island getaway?
Check out my list of the 12 best Airbnbs in Kona to help you plan your trip to the Big Island!
Note: If you’re still deciding where to stay on the island, make sure you check out my list of the best Airbnbs on the Big Island of Hawaii.
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Top 10 Things To Do in Kona
- Snorkel with giant manta rays at night. These gentle giants flock to Kona’s shores every night to feed on sea plankton, so why not swim over and say hello?
- Spend a few hours at a Kona coffee farm. Since Kona coffee may be Hawaii’s most famous export, you should definitely visit one of the many farms on the island, such as Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, Hula Daddy Coffee, or Kona Coffee Living History Farm.
- Stock up on exotic fruits at the Kona Farmers Market. Guavas, lilikoi, mountain apples, rambutans, and dragon fruits are just the start.
- Spend the day at Kua Bay. With aquamarine waters, shell-laden lava rocks, and loads of sunshine, Kua Bay is arguably one of the best beaches on the Big Island.
- Learn about octopi at the Kanaloa Octopus Farm. This farm researches how to preserve different species of octopi – and you can learn a bit about these sea creatures too!
- Or head to the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm if seahorses are more your style. This is actually the only place where you can pet seahorses in the United States!
- Feel like royalty at Hulihe‘e Palace. This estate once served as the summer home to many Hawaiian monarchs including King Kamehameha III, King Kalakaua, and Queen Kapi‘olani.
- Watch the pro surfers at Banyans, a prime surf spot on the island.
- Grab some sushi Hayashi’s. Officially known as “You Make the Roll,” this sushi spot has so much demand that the workers sometimes have to close up the shop for an hour just to catch up on the orders!
- Learn about Hawaiian history and culture at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. While there, take a peek at the ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs and study the advanced engineering of the ancient Hawaiian fishponds.
Why Stay in an Airbnb in Kona
There are so many advantages to staying in an Airbnb in Kailua Kona. For starters, there are so many interesting Airbnbs to choose from in the area! Stay in an adorable tiny house, in a cottage on a coffee farm, or in a lavish beachfront estate. You can pick a vacation home that perfectly fits your budget and style of travel.
Another great perk of Airbnbs is that they often offer the coolest amenities. From private pools to crackling firepits to loads of beach gear, these Kona vacation rentals have advantages that most hotels don’t.
Staying at an Airbnb is also a wise way to spend your money as it’s typically much more cost-effective than a hotel. As an example, if you’re traveling with friends or family, you’ll find yourself paying for multiple hotel rooms. But with an Airbnb, you and your group can split the price of a single large vacation rental.
Finally, one of the greatest perks of staying in an Airbnb in Kona is the fact that you can connect with a local before you even step foot on the Big Island. Many Airbnb hosts are very friendly and love to share local tips! Find out about secluded beaches, challenging hikes, and ‘ono grindz (Hawaiian slang for delicious food).
As an added bonus, if you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can click the button below to get $35 off your first booking!
The 12 Best Airbnbs in Kailua-Kona
Best Kona Airbnbs for Couples and Solo Travelers
The aptly named Manini Unit is one of the cutest little Airbnbs in Kona. In Hawaii’s local slang known as Pidgin, “manini” means “small,” which is quite an appropriate name for a tiny house – especially one nestled in the Big Island Tiny Village.
Within the hardwood and blue-painted exterior of the Manini Unit, you’ll find one plush queen bed and one comfortable sofa bed, and a well-stocked kitchen. Plus you’ll have a cute, sunny outdoor patio where you can enjoy the sunshine. You’ll also have access to the larger Big Island Tiny Village property, which includes a shared fire pit, BBQ area, a small garden, and surf shack.
While staying at this off-the-grid tiny home, you’ll be close to quite a few interesting Kona attractions. You can take a tour of the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, spend a few hours at the vanilla farm known as The Vanillerie, and enjoy the beauty of the hidden O‘oma Beach.
This eco-friendly tiny house is another absolutely adorable place to stay! With “aloha”-printed pillows, small plants, and knit blankets, you’ll feel right at home in this cozy Kona getaway.
This tiny house features a plush queen bed and a comfy single bed, a surprisingly spacious living room area, a small succulent-accented dining area, a well-appointed kitchen, a well-stocked laundry area, and an inviting patio. And let’s not forget about all of the beach gear including with this Kona Airbnb: beach chairs, boogie boards, and even stand-up paddleboards!
And if the inviting, homey atmosphere wasn’t enough to convince you, this tiny house is also situated in the heart of Kailua-Kona so you won’t be far from all the action.
If there’s one thing that Kona is known for, it’s Kona coffee. That’s what makes this Kaloko Coffee Cottage one of the coolest Airbnbs in Kona. Situated on a coffee farm, this adorable red cottage is surrounded by Kona coffee plants and also offers a view of the ocean in the distance.
The inside of this cute Kona Airbnb is equally impressive. You can snuggle up in a cozy queen bed, whip up something to eat in the spotless kitchen, share a meal with your travel companions in the dining room, and even have a movie night in the comfortable living room.
While staying at this cottage, you’ll also find yourself close to a few other coffee-related attractions in the area, including Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation and Pink Mocha Café.
With seashell-bedecked pillows, abstract coral artwork, and a blue and white color palette, an island theme pervades every corner of this beachy studio apartment.
This large one-room Kona Airbnb includes a plush king bed, a living area with ocean-inspired accents, a small but well-stocked kitchenette, and a compact dining area. But the real highlight of this studio is the backyard! With a shaded patio, a grassy lawn, and an outdoor dining table with views of the Pacific Ocean, you can spend hours here enjoying the sunshine and fresh ocean breeze.
This quaint studio is just a fifteen-minute drive from some of the coolest beaches in Kona, including Pine Trees Surfing Beach, Honokohau Beach, and O‘oma Beach.
Best Kona Airbnbs for Small Groups and Families
Featured in Airbnb Magazine, Aolani House is undoubtedly one of the best Airbnbs in Kona! With unobstructed ocean views, a tiki torch-lined walkway, and a heated pool, you should definitely book this marvelous house if you get the chance.
This grand Hawaiian-style home includes two welcoming bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen with WOLF appliances, a beautiful ocean view living room, and even a small coffee nook. And then there’s the backyard where you can swim in the ocean view infinity pool, soak up some sun rays on the loungers, relax on the shaded patio, and stare at the stars while soaking in the hot tub.
The Aolani House is situated in the Kailua-Kona suburb of Holualoa. While in the area, you can enjoy Kahalu‘u Beach Park, learn some Hawaiian history at Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark, or pet a few seahorses at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm.
With all of its thoughtful touches, the Kekai Studio is perhaps the most adorable Airbnb in Kona. With a little welcome sign, beautiful pieces by local artists, beach-themed coffee table books, and lively green plants, you’ll certainly feel right at home at the Kekai Studio.
This studio includes one comfortable queen bed, a small dining area, a homey living room, a well-stocked kitchenette, and a shaded outdoor patio. Then, there is a shared backyard area with a brilliant blue pool and relaxing sun loungers. Plus you’ll be provided with plenty of beach gear including snorkel gear, beach towels, and boogie boards.
Nestled in the suburb of Holualoa, the Kekai Studio is near quite a few awesome attractions. You can spend the day at Magic Sands Beach Park and grab a fresh poke bowl from Da Poke Shack.
With wooden rafters and wing back rattan chairs, La Caseta is one of the most unique Kona Airbnbs. This home’s distinctive interior design style sets it apart from the rest of the stays in the area.
With the exception of the two immaculate bedrooms, the rest of La Caseta is one large open living area. You can choose between relaxing on a modern gray couch or a hardwood vintage one. Prepare something to eat in the well-appointed kitchen, savor your meal on the rustic minimalistic dining table, and even just enjoy the peaceful environment while on the spacious balcony.
La Caseta is just a short walk to Keauhou Bay. While there, you can enjoy the cerulean waters, do a little fishing, and even return after dark to swim with the manta rays.
Best Kona Airbnbs for Large Groups and Events
If you’re hoping to splurge during your Hawaiian vacation, you should definitely consider staying at this luxurious private oasis at The Four Seasons in Hualalai.
Once you walk down the stone path and through the large wooden gates, you’ll be amazed at the extravagance of this villa. You can prepare something to eat in the well-appointed kitchen with stainless steel appliances, relax in the pristine living room, savor a meal in the brightly lit dining room, and curl up in one of the five cozy bedrooms.
But the main highlight of this wonderful home is the backyard. Wake up for a morning swim in the ocean view infinity pool, savor a cup of coffee on the shaded patio, take an afternoon nap in the sunny hammock, toast some marshmallows over the crackling fire pit, and end your night stargazing in the relaxing hot tub.
This lovely vacation rental is near some of the best things to do in Kona. You can do a little snorkeling at Kua Bay or spend a few hours at Makalawena Beach. You’ll also be quite close to Waikoloa, where you can admire the ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs at the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve and check out the extravagant Hilton Waikoloa Village.
While staying at Collessie by the Sea, you’ll feel like a millionaire! Featured not once, but twice, in West Hawaii Today, I’m not the first person to rave about this amazing vacation rental.
The second you walk through the leaf-patterned glass and mahogany front doors, you’ll be in awe of this amazing home. You can lounge in the spacious seating area, whip up something to eat in the expansive kitchen with stainless steel appliances, enjoy a meal in the ocean view dining area, and curl up in one of the three beautiful bedrooms. The beds are so dreamy, you may want to sleep all day!
And the outdoor area of this Airbnb is the perfect place to grill up some dinner, play a little volleyball on the grassy lawn, and enjoy a swim in the immaculate pool.
Situated in Holualoa, you’ll find yourself close to the best attractions both in this suburb and in the heart of the Kailua-Kona town.
Thanks to its three elegant stories, massive turquoise infinity pool, fiery tiki torches, and stunning local artwork, this luxury oceanfront villa is definitely one of the best Kona Airbnbs!
This opulent Airbnb includes five welcoming bedrooms (one of which includes an antique Chinese wedding bed), a stocked kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a lovely pool, a shaded patio, and even a bamboo arch for wedding ceremonies.
And if all of the amenities of this lavish house weren’t enough, you’ll also have access to a community park. This includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an outdoor roller rink, an indoor sports center, soccer fields, baseball fields, tennis courts, and a community garden walking track.
While staying at this estate, you’ll be close to many fantastic tucked away spots, including Keiki Beach, Kona Brewing Co., and Umeke’s Fish Market, Bar, and Grill.
With a koi pond, a shiatsu chair, and an oceanfront infinity pool, this lavish house is undoubtedly one of the coolest Kona Airbnbs. And the name of this home, “Ali‘i Point,” is quite appropriate, as “ali‘i” means “royalty” in Hawaiian. You’ll certainly feel like a royal while staying at this oceanfront estate!
This grand house includes three inviting bedrooms, an island-style living room filled with bamboo furniture, an ocean view dining area, and a gorgeous kitchen with rare koa wood cabinets. But just wait until you get to explore the backyard! While outside, you can enjoy a meal on the shaded patio, go for a relaxing swim in the bright blue pool, and watch the waves crash against the lava rock while soaking in the hot tub.
Situated in the suburb of Holualoa, you’ll be near some of the best beaches and eatieres in Kailua Kona.
Want a Hawaii vacation that you’re guaranteed to never forget? This expansive oceanfront estate near Keiki Ponds is one of the most extravagant Airbnbs in Kailua-Kona!
Past the towering white columns and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the interior of this incredible vacation home has a relaxed, beachy vibe. You’ll find five bedrooms with traditional Hawaiian quilting, a kitchen with spotless white tiled countertops, a dining room with pale bamboo chairs, and a living room with olive-colored cushions.
And while the interior of this Kona Airbnb is incredible, you’ll likely spend all of your time in the backyard. You can soak in some Vitamin D on the sun loungers, take a dip in the aquamarine pool, or watch the brightly colored sunset each night.
Situated right on the beautiful shores of Keiki Ponds, you should definitely spend some time at this hidden gem. While the waters at Keiki Ponds are a bit too rocky for swimming, this little beach is a popular place for locals to surf, fish, or simply enjoy the view.
That’s it – 12 of the best Airbnbs in Kona! Do you have a favorite vacation rental in Kona? Let us know in the comments below.
* All Airbnb photos courtesy of Airbnb.com
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Sarah Etinas – About the Author:
Sarah is a travel writer based on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. When she’s not enjoying the stunning beaches and hikes of her home island, she’s going on exciting adventures all around the world. A few of her most thrilling adventures have included snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps, kayaking through a river of jellyfish in the Caribbean, and sleeping in a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert.