If Ali’i Drive isn’t the world’s most famous road… It should be. Alii Drive starts to the north at the end of Palani Road in Kailua Kona. There is not a stop sign, the direction of Palani heading west turns into Ali’i at the road turns towards the south. At that turn you will see one of the few multi story buildings in Kona, The Courtyard Marriott Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel on the Oceanside. There is a public beach between the Hotel and the large pier. Parking can be difficult. There are paid parking spots across the road and at the Hotel. $5.00 across the road, $10.00 at the Hotel. The Hotel itself has many different places to shop and explore and a great Oceanfront Restaurant. They have a seafood buffet every Friday and Saturday for $49.95.
On the other side of the street at this point is the Splashers Restaurant and Paradise Brewery that both offer great meals. There are small shops in both of these buildings at the ground floor, the restaurants are on the second floor and both have amazing Ocean views.
There is a seawall that runs along this portion of Alii Drive. It is not uncommon to experience waves that splash against the sea wall soaking a pedestrian walking along and shooting water up into the air 20′!
On the mauka (mountain side) side of the street is the Fishhopper Restaurant. There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant for customers only and it’s pretty tight back in there. Meal prices go up but the view is spectacular and the food is excellent quality. You will see many small shop just past the fish hopper after walking under a huge banyan tree with massive base branches that extend out into an ecosystem of their own!
Just past the big tree is a small outdoor shopping center that has clothing stores and small restaurants, (it’s also a short cut to the public parking area that runs along Kuakini called the triangle lot by the locals)
After heading further south on Ali’i Drive you will come to another open air boardwalk mall with a great little place to stop and have a beer called including an ABC store where you can pick up low priced souvenirs that say things about Hawaii but were made in China.