This historic spot in the picturesque Kona coastal district on the Big Island features a harbor with a boat launch surrounded by dried lava beds, ideal for both SUP and kayaking as well as snorkeling. Keauhou Bay is a popular fishing spot for locals and tour groups alike, with access to large yellowfin and ono.
Those who decide to kayak can head south of the bay to explore sea caves and dive off pristine cliffs into the sparkling water below. The small adjacent park has picnic tables, showers, and restrooms. With local shopping and golf, this is an awesome spot for a day trip that will likely please everyone in your party. The area is free to enter; rentals and lessons nearby are available from Ocean Safaris Kayak Adventures and Kahalu'u Bay Surf and Sea.
Another Big Island historic site, Kealakekua Bay is home to Hawaii's only underwater state park. When the water is clear, paddling enthusiasts will be able to see more than 100 feet down, offering unprecedented views of marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, and rays. This site is suitable for both kayaking and stand up paddling, but beginners should go in the morning as the water tends to get a bit rougher in the afternoon.
The state's famous Captain Cook Monument is located at this site, accessible only via watercraft. The park has no entrance fee; rent kayaks and paddle boards nearby at Kona Boys, Inc.
This is the best place for paddling and snorkeling on the Big Island if you want to see an eye-popping variety of tropical fish, including rainbow parrotfish and moray eels. In fact, many tourist maps explicitly refer to Kahalu'u as the "snorkel beach." This busy area also features plenty of public amenities, including grills, picnic tables, showers, and public restrooms.
A lifeguard is on duty to protect swimmers. Kona Kayak Rentals and Kona Boys offer nearby equipment rentals.
This easy river in Kauai is notable for a few reasons. First, it's calm enough to work for even the youngest or least experienced members of your party while providing a respite of relaxing greenery views.
It's also the only way to access a trail leading to one of Hawaii's most sought-after sights: the Ulewehi (Secret) Falls, towering 100 feet over the river. There's no entrance fee. Get your kayaks and SUPs from Wailua Kayak and Canoe.
These islands offer a more secluded, private paddleboarding experience with heavenly white pebble beaches and crystal-clear blue water. With medium difficulty, this isn't the best spot for mixed groups that include beginners, but those who are up to the challenge will enjoy a uniquely peaceful experience.
It's also less than a mile from another outstanding paddling spot, Kailua Bay, home to accessible offshore islands managed by the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuaries. There's no admission fee and convenient kayak and SUP rentals are available at Kailua Beach Adventures.
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