We vacationed on the Big Island, flying into Kona last Saturday. We had decided to rent a house for the week, which was actually much closer to Hilo (on the eastern coast), but since we were trying to use D's points with Delta to cover the tickets, we took what we could get and that got us into Kona. Knowing we'd have about 3 hrs of driving across the island, we also used some of his Hilton points (yeah... he travelled a lot last year), and stayed at the Hilton Waikolola Resort for a night after we first arrived. We got upgraded to a lovely oceanview room with a balcony for our 1-night stay there.
We woke up to some gorgeous early morning sunlight and hung out for a while on our balcony. This is really a stunning resort - tons of walking trails and multiple restaurants and some of the few sandy beaches in the area (most are the volcanic rock). We took our time getting packed up and then headed east through the grassland areas that raise Kona beef, and continued on to the east coast, south of Hilo.
Our rental house was just one lot away from Kehena Beach, which is about 10 miles south of the small (and funky) town of Pahoa. The beach isn't exactly a "beach". There is a space with black sand that's about the length of a half football field, but you have to clamber down a pretty steep set of rocks to get there. It doesn't stop the locals, but D and I aren't really beach lovers anyway, so we were mostly looking for a secluded place near the water to relax and enjoy the week.
Here's the current view from our front deck of the house we rented - a much nicer view apparently since about 2 years ago the lot between our rental and the water fell off into the ocean, taking the structure with it.