South of Kailua-Kona lies Keauhou or “the new era”. This area holds some of Hawaii’s most culturally significant ancient sites and historic event locations in addition to an underwater playground. Over 100 acres of archaeological preserves are found here. Originally the preferred retreat for Hawaiian Royalty, today it serves as a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown in a low key, upscale setting. Keahou Shopping Center, Kona Country Club, cinema, as well as the weekly Keahou Farmer’s Market are found here.
Located at the end of Kamehameha III Road is Keauhou Bay. Aptly named as the site of the birthplace of King Kamehameha III. The area marks this history with a stone memorial indicating the site of his birth in 1814. He was the longest reigning monarch in the Kingdom of Hawaii. A popular destination for kayakers and paddle boards, and in the evening look for lights on the water drawing out graceful manta rays.
Lekeleke Burial Grounds
Uphill from the bay is another historic site where ancient warriors were laid to rest after a religious battle in 1819. Nearly 300 warriors died over the abolition of the old “Kapu” sacred practices. Western religion and business practices became more commonplace ever since.
Hapaiali‘i, Keeku heiaus / Kahaluu Beach Park
One of the area’s best spots for snorkeling and learning to surf. Adjacent is the site of 2 recently restored heiaus or temples estimated to be from the 1400s. During the restoration process, archaeologists discovered that Hapaiali’i Heiau served as a solar calendar. Seasons can be marked when standing behind the center stone on the heiau’s top platform and lining it with different points. At high tide it is completely surrounded by water. Keeku sits next to it and best known as the site where invading Chief Kamalalawalu of Maui was sacrificed after being defeated by Chief Lonoikamakahiki in the 16th century.