Dry, arid, and often lava encrusted, the southern part of Kohala district is nonetheless the best place on the Big Island to enjoy water activities. White sandy beaches here stand in sharp contrast to the dark volcanic sands of other nearby shores, while swimmers enjoy the gentle waters, divers the diverse underwater geological formations and sea-life. Capitalizing on this glorious seashore environment, green resort lawns ripple down to the palm tree fringe lining sandy crescents.
Golf-courses and tennis courts consequent to this development may be just the ticket for those emerging from the barren volcanic interior. When the hot climate has you ready to take a dip, try Kaunaoa Beach when the surf is moderate, the most popular on the island. Surfers grab their boards when the swells get bigger and swimmers retreat to the shore to soak up sunshine and the show.
Get a shot of culture and car air-conditioning when the beach gets too warm. Peruse petroglyphs along Route 19 or the tour the grounds of immense Puukohola Heiau, a restored temple from the 18th century at the north end of the road.
Lava tubes and coral reefs host a variety of marine-life; get your scuba license if you don't have certification already and explore a handful of the 35 significant dive sites along this stretch of the Big Island. For those who prefer to be on the water rather than under it, join the crew of an outrigger sailing canoe for the afternoon for views of the coast from the other side.
South Kohala stretches for 30 miles along Route 19 north of Kailua-Kona.