Kona’s Best Activities for Tweens and Teens on Spring Break

Kona’s Best Activities for Tweens and Teens on Spring Break

Partner Content | Photo: OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa Pool

Hawaii Island’s historic village of Kailua-Kona, scenic Keauhou Harbor and the surrounding region known broadly as “Kona” make an excellent destination for families with older kids on spring break. Here are some of our favorite activities to share with tweens and teens.

Go on a Snorkel Cruise

Some of the island’s best snorkeling lies just south of Kailua-Kona, the destination of several family-friendly excursions departing from Kailua Pier and Keauhou Harbor.

Body Glove’s 65-foot catamaran, which cruises from Kailua Pier to an area known as Red Hill, has a 20-foot water slide, a 15-foot-high platform for even bolder descents and wide steps leading into the water for gentler entries and easier exits. The 4.5-hour cruises include continental breakfast and BBQ burger lunch — two fewer meals for parents to plan — and an assortment of water toys, noodles, sea-view boards (ideal for kids who don’t want to get their face wet), standup paddleboards and all snorkel gear, including prescription masks. Grownups can purchase alcoholic beverages and there’s plenty of shade if the kids tire out early. The daily cruises cost $169, ages 6 to 17 $99, younger free.

Body Glove Snorkel Cruise
Body Glove Snorkel Cruise

Fair Wind departs from Keauhou Harbor for Kealakekua Bay, site of a monument to slain explorer Captain Cook that overlooks crystal-clear water teeming with colorful fish. The 63-foot Fair Wind II catamaran has similar bells and whistles to the Body Glove boat, including two 15-foot waterslides and a high-jump platform. Its variety of flotation gear include boogie boards with windows, inner tubes and custom view-boxes, along with snorkel gear. Breakfast and lunch are plant-based, with plenty of tasty options. Adult drinks are available the last hour of the 4.5-hour cruises. The tours run daily,  $159 for adults, $99 kids 4 to 12 and younger free.

Learn About Hawaiian Culture

Whether or not you go for a snorkel cruise, take time when you’re in historic Kailua-Kona, where King Kamehameha I held court until his death, and Keauhou Harbor, the birthplace of King Kamehameha III, to read the interpretative signs sharing the area’s rich royal and natural history. For a particularly memorable evening of education and entertainment, sign up for a luau.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa Luau Poi Pounding
OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa Luau Pounding

The Feast & Fire Luau, held Monday and Thursdays on the oceanside cliffs of the OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou, begins with an “artisan village” where all ages can learn how to pound poi out of taro, make flower lei and create patterns with bamboo stamps (‘ohe kapala). After a family-friendly buffet dinner of traditional local and Hawaiian favorites (with beer, wine and mai tais for the grownups), performers share traditional dances, stories and songs of Hawaii, capped by the non-Hawaiian but exciting fire knife dance. Admission is $165 adults and $82.50 ages 6 to 12 (younger free.) 

A royal procession that arrives by outrigger canoe next to King Kamehameha’s historic compound in Kailua-Kona marks the start of  Island Breeze Luau’s “He ‘Ohana Kakou” (“We Are Family”) luau. Held Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, the evening also includes an assortment of hearty entrees — teriyaki beef, Kona-style barbecued chicken, seared island fish and kalua pork — plus several varieties of poke, salads and tropical desserts, with a hosted bar. Admission is $164 adults and $82 ages 4 to 12 (younger free.)

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa Luau Cliffside
OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa Luau Cliffside

Tweens and teens staying at the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa may also appreciate daily free cultural activities, such as a walking tour of nearby historic sites, making a lei or kukui nut bracelet, and beginners’ classes in ukulele, Hawaiian language and hula.

Play with Cats and Dogs

The newly opened Kona Cat Cafe is tucked at the back of one of several rabbit warren-like shopping centers along Ali‘i Drive in historic Kailua Village (formally dubbed Kailua-Kona to distinguish it from the one on O‘ahu.) Children 7 and older are allowed to accompany an adult into the Instagram-ready catio, where adoptable kittens and cats loll and frolic on ledges, benches and other structures, or blissfully snooze wherever they want. As long as they’re awake, you can interact with them, with cat treats and toys on hand to pique their interest. Catio admission is $20 for adults, $15 for ages 7 to 18 and 65 and over.

Kona Cat Cafe
Kona Cat Cafe

The cafe also serves coffee, tea, kombucha and soft drinks, while its boutique sells cute feline cookie cutters and other adorable cat-themed items. Note: If you fall in love with a particular cat but can’t take him or her on your flight, the owner recruits local volunteers who are already flying to the mainland to bring your new pet home.

Kitten at the Kona Cat Cafe

Dog-loving families with children ages 8 and older can take a canine on a much-needed break from a shelter to romp at the beach, grab a puppacino at Starbucks or sniff around town. The Hawaii Island Humane Society’s field trip program, offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday, provides human chaperones with everything they and the lucky pup will need—including leash, harness, “backpack with water bowl, list of dog-friendly places to explore, etc.—for  $25 a family. You’ll also get a safety briefing before you set off. If you fall in love with your Fido, you can set up a meeting with an adoption counselor at the Animal Community Center in Holualoa.

Pool Day

If current ocean conditions don’t allow for a beach day, enjoy looking at the waves while making your own in a hotel pool. OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa has the largest pool complex in Kona, including an oceanfront lagoon with a  200-foot waterslide, a 900-square-foot sandy-bottomed children’s wading pool and splash fountains, in addition to a separate outdoor adults-only pool. If rooms aren’t available during your stay, check ResortPass for day passes, including cabanas or access to an oceanside room for the day.

Kid swimming in the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa Pool
OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa Pool
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