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See Alii Drive on Kailua-Kona coast, Big Island

    By Kara Nelson. October 31, 2013 - 1:11 pm


When you visit a new place, you might want to find souvenirs and good food, all while being accompanied by the smell of the ocean.  

Hawaii island’s Alii Drive offers all this.

It is one of the most popular attractions for visitors and is located along the Kailua-Kona coast.  It features a variety of shops, restaurants, places to stay, and historic buildings, as well as beaches suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding.

I started exploring Alii Drive to find a few highlights.

Around the corner from Quinn’s By the Sea Restaurant (a decent restaurant for a meal and a beer) and across from the King Kamehameha hotel, there are three shops: By the Sea, Del Sol and Elephant Walk.

By the Sea is an interesting boutique store featuring better-quality Hawaiian clothes, jewelry, and photography, as well as fashionable clothes and “Life is Good” shirts.

Elephant Walk has more fashion items, jewelry, hats, Hawaiian shirts, pet décor, Christmas ornaments, the Hawaii-opoly game, Hawaiian wall décor such as turtles and fishes, and much more.

Del Sol, which has stores on the Mainland and in other countries, really piqued my interest and I couldn’t resist buying a shirt there.

In Hawaii, Del Sol is located in Kailua-Kona, Kauai and Maui.  Their clothes for men, women, children, and babies have nice designs that change color in the sun!

You can also purchase color-changing hair barrettes, nail polish, sunglasses, and tote bags.

The magic behind the color change is Del Sol Spectrachrome®.  Spectrachrome Chrystal Dye is based on NASA-developed technology, and as store information claims, it is “identified as the most vibrant color change technology on the planet.”

It also purportedly lasts 500 washes!


Next on my agenda was to get shave ice at Scandinavian Shave Ice, where I had had shave ice as a little girl!

It has been in Kailua-Kona for more than 18 years, and is also known as Scandi’s.

Scandi’s is a short walk from Del Sol and a little trickier to see at first. It’s near an old ABC store and past a seafood restaurant.  The website gives its location as near Kialua Pier, Hulihee Palace and Mokuaikaua Church.

Its website claims that “a true shave ice has the consistency of new-fallen snow.”

I got a small (note: small is a misnomer) shave ice and for my choice of three out of more than 45 flavors, I picked coconut, lemon lime and passion fruit.

I also added an ice cream center of macadamia nut ice cream.

I enjoyed the shave ice, especially the coconut flavor, but the problem with shave ice has always been how the flavors mix and the ice melts towards the end.

My mother tried Scandi’s Cara-mac ice cream, a crunchy mac nuts, caramel, and vanilla flavor.  She enjoyed it and said it was “creamy.”

Toppings for the numerous combinations of shave ice are adzuki beans, tapioca pearls, and snow caps.

For both of us, these cold treats were a reprieve from a hot day in Kailua-Kona.

Besides shave ice, Scandinavian Shave Ice also offers smoothies, bobba tea, frappes, and ice cream shakes.

Alii Drive offers a plethora of other souvenir shops, eateries, historical places, and much more, enough to fill a good amount of time exploring to make your own adventures. So much to do, so little space to write!

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