To the unsuspecting motorist, travel along Alii Drive is a very pleasant seven mile coastal drive filled with scenic vistas, natural features and recreational opportunities. But look a little closer and discover that these seven miles of roadway hold seven centuries of Hawaiian history and culture that are revealed in archaeological sites that have survived over hundreds of years.
Historic sites once covered much of the Kona Coast and these treasured places promote understanding of Hawaii’s heritage. The seven miles of Alii Drive, along the shoreline connecting Historic Kailua Village to Keauhou, generally follows the ancient route of the ala loa foot trail that evolved over time as a road. Four of the seven ancient Royal Centers in use in Kona are located on what is now called Alii Drive.
There are dozens of Points of Interest and Scenic Stops along the route. Discover Hawaii’s history on the Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast Hawaii Scenic Byway.
One could fill a lot of time with all there is to do along the Royal Footsteps Scenic Byway, but there are some noteworthy sidetrips one could take as well. Visit these sites for more information:
Byway Sponsor Group:
Kailua Village Business Improvement District (KVBID)
Alii Drive (Route 186) in the North Kona District of the island of Hawaii is a two-lane, two-way County of Hawaii continuous roadway from Historic Kailua Village to Keauhou that follows along the coast. Travelers can easily follow the route as it is point to point with no gaps. Travelers can access Alii Drive from Palani Road (intersecting with Queen Kaahumanu Highway 19) in the north, or from the south via Kamehameha III Road (intersecting with Kuakini Highway 11). It is approximately 7 miles, or 15-20 minutes, from Kona International Airport. Visitors staying in the Waikoloa, Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea hubs to the north will have a drive of approximately 30-40 minutes.
Download Alii Drive Schematic Map
Maintaining state designation as a Hawaii Scenic Byway requires the approval of a Corridor Management Plan. Available for download is the award winning document collaboratively created by the byway sponsor community group, Kailua Villiage Business Improvement District (KVBID).