Hey Girl Guide to Hilo and Kona


The past few weeks have been insanely busy. I picked up a few new business clients, founded a blogger network with my lovely friend Kelly from Politely Wild, partnered up with Pigment & Parchment to take her hand lettering workshops on the road throughout California, and was asked to speak at the Northern Ambition conference happening this Sunday in Sacramento (let’s not talk about how terrified I am about deciding what to say). On top of work responsibilities my husband and I have been in full DIY mode on our kitchen. We have tile, and cabinets, and back splash is next on the list. With so many projects swirling around I tend to work too much and not get enough sleep because I can’t shut my brain off.  I have adopted a new routine where I force myself to go outside, be in the fresh air for at least 30 minutes a day, and not think about anything work related. It is not easy, but when I do take this mental break to refresh I always find my mind drifting back to the Hawaiian vacation my husband and took last month. You could call it my happy place.


This was the second year that my husband and I went to the Kona for his work event (yes, best work perks ever). This year we decided to arrive a couple days early and check out the town of Hilo. We had heard from other people that Hilo offered more of an authentic Hawaiian experience. We booked the cutest Airbnb near downtown Hilo, it was always easy to spot thanks to the amazing color scheme.

Air BnB

Where to Eat/Drink: Let’s Be Honest Vacation is About the Food

Kens Pancake House : featuring macadamia nut pancakes, healthy portions, and house made syrups //  Moon and Turtle Cafe: small bites, fresh seafood, owned by former NY chefs // Pesto: pizza, yes pizza and it is delicious.  // Pineapples Cafe: great open air patio for happy hour and amazing fish tacos // Mehana Brewing Company: free beer tastings and six packs available for purchase on site.


Where to Play

Rainbow Falls: Show up early to avoid tourists and if you are feeling adventurous hike down to the river and climb the rocks for some great views and a dip in the cool water //  Farmers Market: locally made food and crafts right in the middle of town // Richardson State Beach: crystal blue water, beautiful for snorkeling or just hanging out on the lava rocks.





After a couple days in Hilo it was time to head over to Kona and we decided to take the long way by car. We hugged the coast all the way around the North part of the island from Hilo to Kona, stopping for breathtaking views.


Kona: Where to Eat/Drink

Daylight Mind: It is hard to decide what is the best part about this place, the food, the coffee or the view. We ate there almost every morning  // Da Poke Shack: if you love poke you can’t miss this place. The tuna is caught fresh every day, you can usually see a guy carving it up behind the counter while you are ordering, and they have a ton of delicious sides and sauces. Bonus, they also serve local beer // Fish Hopper: local fish delivered daily. I had the monchong with risotto and it was amazing // Paradise Brewery: carries a number of local craft beers and has the best island breeze and view.




Kona: Where to Play

Farmers Market: Where I discovered rambutan and conveniently located across the street from Daylight Mind // Coffee Farm Tour: get up close and personal with your favorite beverage. There are a number of coffee farms close to Kona that do tours // Manta Ray Viewing Experience at the Sheraton: Snag a seat at Rays on the Bay and watch as the rays come in and float around the bay. If you are brave there are also packages where you can snorkel with them // Snorkeling: tons of great snorkeling spots in the crystal clear water that surrounds Kona.


IMG_6865  IMG_6867


If I concentrate hard enough I can smell the salt air still, that is usually about the time my email alert goes off. Where is your happy place?


  1. Oh, I’ve been to HI plenty of times, but we’ve never been to Kona! Looks lovely, it also makes me happy to hear when people have great AirBnB experiences. Loved living vicariously through your IG while you were there! Yeah, HI would be my happy place too. Or places I’ve yet to have been to list as a happy place 😉 xoxo, ganeeban

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