Although it's the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kona is at its core a small town. The rural topography is peppered with every kind of escape, from white and black sand beaches to pockets of both rain forest and desert. Navigating the Big Island is best with a seasoned local guide. Mine came in the way of a trifecta—dear friend, bartender, and Kona native—who personally squired me about to the following spots over the course of my weeklong sojourn. Keep scrolling for the inside track to everything my favorite local recommends.
Shop local island musts below.
Have a favorite Kona spot? Tell us in the comments below.