The Kona coast is a beautiful stretch of land. It's also full of mediocre restaurants that cater to the touristy crowd. Sure, it's hard to go wrong with an order of fresh fish or pristine poke (raw fish salad) anywhere on the island, but when you're finished laying in the sand, Hawaii Island holds many great dining destinations.
There's no better way to immerse yourself in an island than eating your way around it. In one day, you can get the entire way around the island, eating many of the state's specialties while walking some of it off at the national parks, on the black sand beaches, and under the roaring waterfalls. On an island that holds 11 of the worlds' 13 climate zones, you will find way more than 11 unique bites.
Rent a car and grab your buddy. Leave the snorkeling and sun-tanning behind for a day: it's time for a mini road trip. This tour will take you from Kona's sunny coast down to the southernmost point in the 50 states, around to the rainy side of the island and the city of Hilo, and up over the high hill-town of Waimea, before landing back down on the Kohala coast, heading south back to Kona. Just hop on Hawaii 19, the belt road, and cruise around the island in a big circle.
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food writer and marketer. Find more of her musings on her food blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. You can also follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome.