"Welcome to Hawaii" never sounded better than it does here at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, your very first stop on this island in South Kona, located just 12 miles south of Kailua Village. Besides the obvious and almost unreal natural beauty, Kealakekua Bay is known to be an important historic site in Hawaii, the site of the first extensive contact between Hawaiians and Westerners. Here is the spot of arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, the first British explorer to establish contact with the Hawaiian islands on Kauai. Captain Cook died in a skirmish with natives on this bay just one year later, and a white majestic obelisk was constructed on the shore in his memory. During your visit here you may visit this monument across the bay and pay proper homage to the legendary man.
On the other side of this stunning historic beach park you will find the Hikiau Heiau. This east side sacred temple is a traditional religious site honoring the Hawaiian god Lono. This area is also known to be a popular Marine Life Conservation District, a perfect spot for wildlife watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. The brilliant bay waters are filled to the brim with colorful coral and schools of amazing tropical fish, and every now and then you can even spot a spinner dolphin poking its nose up from the waters. There are several picnic areas and amenities if you would like to eat lunch here, or you can head over to the village of Kona to find some local eateries to fill up on. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the iconic Hawaiian history, and of course, a bathing suit to go splash around that big Pacific blue.