Dress for the water, not the weather. If your kayak tips over, you’ll learn how important it is to plan for water temperature. Layers of quick-dry clothing are ideal.
Calm waters, dramatic landscapes and hidden rivers make Hawaii a kayaker’s paradise. Each island offers several opportunities to hit the waves either solo or as part of a group.
In a kayak you can see parts of the islands that aren’t accessible by road or by foot. You can get up close and personal with dolphins, and you can even glide up hidden rivers through tropical jungles. Even if you’ve never dipped an oar in the water, Hawaii is definitely the place to give kayaking a try.
Choose the right boat based on your skill level. Talk to the staff at the kayak rental to determine which craft suits you best.
Know how to rescue yourself and others. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll capsize on calm waters, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
From Oahu’s Lanikai Beach you can easily paddle to the twin pyramid-shaped Mokulua Islets. Both have small beaches—a white sand beach on the larger island and a pebble beach on the smaller one.
One of Kauai’s most popular attractions, the Napali Coast, isn’t accessible by road. If you can’t afford a helicopter tour, simply steer your kayak along the waters beneath the 4,000 foot high coastline cliffs where you’ll discover hidden waterfalls and abundant marine life. The Wailua River on the eastern part of the island—once you pass the fork in the river beyond which the diesel powered fern grotto boat tours don’t go—is a heavenly experience.
Maui is home to thousands of Hawaiian green sea turtles and there’s no better place to see them than by kayak on the waters between Makena and Turtle Town, a snorkeling location along the island’s southern coast. Honolua Bay, off the coast of Kapalua, features a marine preserve with awesome snorkeling in pristine waters thanks to the reef cleanup efforts of local excursion companies. The best time to kayak is during the summer when the waves aren’t huge.
On the Kona side of the Big island is the locals favorite kayaking spot Kealakekua Bay. It’s an easy mile ride across the bay to the Captain Cook Monument, where you’re likely to be joined by a pod of frolicking dolphins. If you’re looking for a fun family adventure, consider renting a six-person canoe, and take a guided tour of the Kona Coast or Kohala Coast to discover the many hidden coves.
“There’s nothing that makes me happier than being alone on the waves and watching sea turtles and dolphins.”