Hawaii kayaking adventures are a paddler’s dream, with jungle-clad landscapes, mighty rivers and turquoise seas for endless exploration. Wake up to calm bays for peaceful morning paddles, discover waterfalls and drift by soaring ocean cliffs without a soul in sight.
Ready to make your Hawaii kayaking dreams come true? Here’s where to launch your yak.
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Hawaii Kayaking: Top Spots for a Paddle
Napali Coast, Kauai
Hawaii’s famous Napali Coast allows you to paddle in nature and semi-seclusion, as it’s not accessible by road. Launch your yak from Haena Beach Park. Then, look forward to discovering towering cliffs of over 4,000 feet. Along the way, feast your eyes on sparkling waterfalls, verdant green valleys and intriguing sea caves. You might even spot bottlenose dolphins, turtles and pilot whales. Due to changing ocean conditions, this route is best for experienced kayakers.
Honolua Bay, Maui
The protected waters of Honolua Bay are perfect for kayaking and snorkeling in the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District. For snorkeling, it’s best to use a sit-on-top kayak to jump on and off with ease, like the Ocean Kayak Frenzy. This way, you’ll slip into the sea to discover colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, butterfly fish and so much more. During winter the swell picks up for great surf. Therefore, it’s best to visit during the calmer summer months for kayaking.
Hanalei River and Bay, Kauai
This Hawaii kayaking adventure lets you experience both river and sea kayaking on one trip. First, glide down serene Hanalei River to spot endangered water birds among the trees. Next, keep paddling out into Hanalei Bay where you can stop on the beach and take a walk across the sugary sand. In the calm summer months, this is a fairly easy, short paddle that’s suitable for families.
Kaneohe Bay, Oahu
You might recognize the area around Kaneohe Bay, as a backdrop from scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This sheltered bay is fantastic for beginners, with calm, shallow water surrounded by gorgeous scenery. For a longer trip, paddle across two barrier reefs, around tiny islands and snorkel among schools of fish. If you’re taking the kids out on the water, one of the best kayaks for children is the Sun Dolphin Bali 6. It’s a sit-on-top for easy snorkeling too.
Wailua River, Kauai
Meander over warm, placid water on Kauai’s Wailua River to see tropical rainforests, Hawaiian villages and incredible canyons. Along the way, there’s access to a trail leading to Uluwehi, otherwise known as “Secret Falls”. Keep your eyes open for rare birds and Nounou Mountain, named Sleeping Giant for its shape depicting a person laying on its back. With barely any current, this Hawaii kayaking journey is relaxing and ideal for beginners.
Mokulua Islands, Oahu
Launch your kayak from Kailua Beach Park to discover the two small islands of Mokulua. Home to seabird sanctuaries, they’re encircled by powder-soft sand, azure water and lovely tidal pools. Expect to catch a glimpse of sea turtles surfacing for air and maybe even rare Hawaiian Monk seals. However, depending on the weather conditions this paddle is best for kayakers with some experience.
Hawaii kayaking adventures offer natural wonders, calm or challenging waters and scenic vistas that have to be seen to be believed. Choose your favorite spot or explore them all for the paddling adventure of a lifetime.