You can paddle along a tranquil valley river or ride the rough ocean waters. You can ride alone or with a partner. You can go kayaking on your own or with a guided tour. There are many great Hawaii kayak adventures waiting for you in Hawaii. These are our favorites.
5 Best Hawaii Kayaking Adventures
Tip: If you choose to ocean kayak in Hawaii, be aware of current ocean conditions & forecasts. Guided kayak tours are recommended.
Paddling to offshore islets is popular on Oahu. The most well known of these destinations are the pyramid-shaped Mokulua islets off Lanikai Beach. The twin islets have small beaches on the leeward shores—a white sand beach on the larger island and a pebble beach on the smaller one. The setting is one of the most beautiful in all of Hawaii.
2. Na Pali Coast Kayaking – Kauai
Kauai is also notable for its ocean kayaking, especially the tours along the spectacular Na Pali Coast. These trips are usually reserved for the summertime when the northern ocean swells and surf have subsided.
3. Kayaking Kealakekua Bay – Big Island
Kealakekua Bay on the Big island’s Kona side is a favorite kayaking spot. Paddle about a mile straight across the bay to the Captain Cook monument. Dolphins are often seen in the bay.
4. Honolua Bay Kayak & Snorkeling – Maui
Explore the waters off Kapalua and make a stop at Honolua Bay’s marine preserve for some snorkeling. The best time to go is during the summer when the waves are not as big. With recent reef clean-up efforts by Surfrider and Trilogy Excursions, this area is pristine.
5. Wailua River Kayak & Waterfall Hike – Kauai
The Wailua River on the eastern part of the island is well known as a kayaking spot. It’s popularity and diesel-powered fern grotto boat tours can be a turnoff—not as bad during slow season—but once you pass the fork in the river it’s pure bliss. The hike to the waterfall alone is enough to make this one of the best kayaking adventures in the state.
Who Can Do It?
You don’t need to be an Olympic-level athlete to enjoy kayaking. Today’s kayaks are extremely stable, all but eliminating the prospect of capsizing. (Most kayaks, including all tandems, have the option of a rudder that makes turning as simple as pressing a foot pedal.) If you have the ability to sit comfortably and have at least moderate strength in your arms and shoulders, you’re ready for a Hawaiian kayaking adventure!
We recommend consulting with a reputable kayak tour company that can recommend a guided tour or a safe place to explore on your own.