Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast Scenic Byway covers the entire length of Ali‘i Drive, seven miles of roadway and over seven centuries of Hawaiian Royalty archaeological, historic and cultural traditions that have shaped Hawai‘i into what it is today.
By whatever means (vehicle, transit, bicycle or on foot,) following the footsteps of ancient royalty and embracing the scenic beauty, natural and archaeological features, historic sites, associated cultural traditions and recreational opportunities will give the traveler a greater appreciation and understanding of Hawai‘i’s past and sense of place in the world.
Here are selected Points of Interest along the Scenic Byway:
1 – Kailua Seawall – first built in 1900, the entry to Historic Kailua Village begins on Ali‘i Drive where its oceanfront promenade offers sweeping vistas of Kailua Bay, from Kamakahonu and Kailua Pier to Hulihe‘e Palace
2 – Pa o ‘Umi – marks the location of the landing and residence of the ruler ‘Umi-a-liloa (‘Umi) (ca. AD 1490-1525.) Modern seawall and road construction has covered most of Pa o ‘Umi
3 – Hulihe‘e Palace – built in 1838, Kona’s only existing royal palace and one of three palaces in the United States
4 – Moku‘aikaua Church – built in 1837, it is the oldest Christian Church in Hawai‘i
5 – Hale Halawai – means “meeting house” and serves as a community meeting facility under the County Parks and Recreation program
6 – Ōneo Bay – scenic panoramic views of the shoreline and seasonal surfing -favorite place for residents and visitors to enjoy Kona’s famous sunsets
7 – Wai‘aha Beach Park – also known as Honl’s – “birth-beach and the birthplace” of modern bodyboarding (in 1971, Tom Morey created boogie board and first used it here)
8 – Kahului Bay – nicknamed Tiki’s after the adjacent small hotel (Kona Tiki Hotel,) lovely ocean vista
9 – Hale Halawai O Hōlualoa – stone church structure was built entirely by native Hawaiians under the direction of John D. Paris 1850-55
10 – Puapua‘a – popular local surf spot that once served as a canoe landing, now referred to as “Banyans”
11 – Hōlualoa Bay – oral traditions suggest King Kamehameha I learned to excel in board and canoe surfing in these very waters
12 – Hōlualoa Royal Center – Hōlualoa Royal Center includes Kamoa Point/Keolonahihi Complex, Keakealaniwahine Residential Complex and Kaluaokalani
13 – Jud Trail – constructed between 1849 and 1859 and intended to link the Kona area with Hilo – construction was abandoned when portions of the trail were covered by a lava flow in 1859
14 – Pāhoehoe Beach Park – County park with picnic and portable restroom facilities. Ocean access is via coral rubble and rocky shore
15 – La‘aloa Beach Park – also known as White Sands, Magic Sands or Disappearing Sands
16 – La‘aloa Bay – small cove on the south side of the parking lot, entry point for snorkelers and divers
17 – Ku‘emanu Heiau – overlooks Kahalu‘u Bay and is associated with surfing – adjacent Waikui Pond was convenient for chiefs to bathe after an ocean outing
18 – St. Peter’s by the Sea Catholic Church – originally built in 1880, the church was dismantled and carried piece by piece to its present site at Kahalu’u in 1912
19 – Kahalu‘u Bay Beach Park – served as the Royal Center of Ali‘i, residence of Lonoikamakahiki ca. 1640-1660 and oral histories note its use by Alapa‘inui, Kalani‘ōpu‘u and Kamehameha — successive rulers from 1740-1760 on
20 – Helani Church –‘Ōhi‘amukumuku Heiau – old Helani Church (built in 1861 by Rev. John D. Paris) built atop the former ‘Ōhi‘amukumuku Heiau
21 – Hāpaiali‘i Heiau and Ke‘ekū Heiau – Hāpaiali‘i Heiau was built around 1411-1465; Ke‘ekū Heiau – after building it, Lonoikamakahiki attacked and defeated Kamalalawalu, king of Maui
22 – Mākole‘ā Heiau – also known as Ke‘ekūpua‘a, built (or consecrated) by Lonoikamakahiki and that it was used for prayers in general
23 – Heritage Corridor Overlook – pull out on Ali‘i Drive includes interpretive sign explaining the archaeological and historical significance of the lands of Kahalu‘u and Keauhou
24 – Royal Hōlua Slide – stone ramp nearly one mile in length that culminated at He‘eia Bay – this is the largest and best-preserved hōlua course, used in the extremely dangerous toboggan-like activity
25 – Lekeleke Burial Grounds – Following the death of Kamehameha I in 1819, Liholiho declared an end to the kapu system; Kekuaokalani (Liholiho’s cousin) and his wife Manono opposed the abolition and went to battle, here is the burial ground
S-1 – Kamakahonu Royal Center at Kailua Bay – residential compound of Kamehameha I from 1813 until his death in 1819; the center of political power in the Hawaiian kingdom during Kamehameha’s golden years
S-2 – Ahu‘ena Heiau – reconstructed by King Kamehameha the Great between 1812-1813; he dedicated it to Lono, god of healing and prosperity of the land
S-3 – Keauhou Royal Center at Keauhou Bay – ocean access at Keauhou Bay is superb and, just as boats use it today, canoe landings once dotted the shore. The royal canoe landing of King Kamehameha I was located at Pueo Cove
S-4 – Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) Birthsite – son of Kamehameha I and high chiefess Keōpūolani, he was ruler of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i for thirty years from 1825-1854
We prepared the Corridor Management Plan (CMP) for the Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast Scenic Byway, the first CMP to be accepted by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation.
We are proud and honored that American Planning Association-Hawai‘i Chapter selected Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast for the “Environment/Preservation Award”, Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation awarded the 2011 Historic Preservation Commendation and Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce awarded the 2011 Pualu Award for Culture & Heritage.
The image shows the Royal Footsteps map; in addition, images of each of the sites are added to a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.