The fabled Kohala coast extends north for about 15 mi/24 km until just past the small town and harbor of Kawaihae. The Kohala coast is home to some of Hawaii's most magnificent luxury resorts.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village is among the lavish properties there: Even if you're not a guest, it's worth a visit to see Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swimming in a private lagoon and such a mixed bag of architectural styles that it's hard to remember where you are. The Waikoloa Beach Marriott resort next door is, in contrast, totally Hawaiian in feel. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows also take up residence along the coast.

Wherever you stop on the Kohala coast, you'll hear tales of the Night Marchers: They're the ghosts of long-dead warriors who are said to return to warn the locals of such cataclysms as tidal waves or volcanic eruptions. (Whether they'll warn the tourists in the resorts is unclear.) The Kohala coast begins about 18 mi/29 km north of Kailua-Kona.

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