WHETHER YOU SEEK ADVENTURE
OR A LEISURELY PADDLE,
KAYAKING IS A GREAT WAY TO SEE THE
BIG ISLAND’S BEAUTIFUL COAST
With a variety of rugged lava landscapes, sheltered beaches, and stunning cliffs, the Big Island has some stunning coastlines to explore. Paddle through clear blue waters and over colorful coral reefs. Maybe you will even see dolphins, whales, or sea turtles!
Imagine kayaking alongside massive Manta Rays at night or paddling up to an old lava tube. Hop out of your kayak to snorkel a colorful coral reef before lunch. Guided kayak tours from Kona offer memorable experiences that include time to explore the shorelines above and below the water.
Kayaking at the Beach
You can rent kayaks for a leisurely paddle at several beaches on the Kohala and Kona coast. If you don’t feel like committing to a tour or expedition, you can explore some of the beautiful bays from a rental boat. Ask your kayak outfitter for tips on great coral reefs and beaches to explore.
BIG ISLAND KAYAK RENTALS
You can rent kayaks by the hour from rental huts at some of the beaches on the Kohala Coast. These are great for a leisurely paddle at the beach. For longer rentals on the Kohala Coast, contact the Kohala Kayak Club. They offer better prices for longer-term rentals.
Mauna Lani Beach Club: You can rent kayaks by the half-hour or hour from the Sea Adventures Beach Center at the Mauna Lani Beach Club. This is a great option for a short, easy-going paddle in Makaiwa Bay during your day at the beach! For more information, including rental rates and other services, visit the Mauna Lani Sea Adventures website.
Anaeho’omalu Bay: The Ocean Sports Beach hut rents kayaks and other paddlesport equipment at Anaeho’omalu Bay in the Waikoloa Beach Resort Area. If you would like to paddle around A’Bay, they offer half-hour and hourly rentals for single, double, and triple kayaks. During their Aloha Days Specials, however, you can get unlimited use of their kayaks and other beach toys for the day (10 am – 2 pm) – which may be a better deal if you want to kayak for longer or if you also want to try stand-up paddleboarding. For more information about A’Bay beach rentals, visit the Hawaii Ocean Sports website.
In Kona, you can explore Kailua Bay and Keauhou Bay by kayak.
Kona Boys Beach Shack: Located in front of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, the Kona Boys Beach Shack allows you to rent kayaks in the heart of Kona. You can also take a kayak lesson here. For more information and current rates, visit their Kona Beach Rentals webpage.
Ocean Safaris: Located in Keauhou, Ocean Safaris offers daily single and double kayak rentals. This is a great option if you have kayaking experience and want to explore Keauhou Bay at your own pace. For more information and current rates, visit their website.
Make sure to check ocean conditions and talk to the kayak rental companies about local hazards before you go out. Kayaking can be very enjoyable when the conditions are right, but you do not want to be caught in bad weather or high surf. If you are uncomfortable reading ocean and weather conditions, you could try a kayak tour instead (see below!).
Tours are a great option if you want to kayak on your visit to the Big Island. Tour guides are knowledgeable about ocean and weather conditions, local areas of interest, and the best spots to see wildlife.
Keauhou Bay – Kona
Keauhou Bay offers some beautiful shorelines with dramatic lava tube sea caves and cliffs to explore. These tours are close to downtown Kona and offer some unique experiences – including jumping off lava cliffs into the water and snorkeling with manta rays! All of these tours include breaks to snorkel and explore the shoreline.
Aloha Kayak Co.: Daily 3.5 hour guided tours of the sea caves – morning and afternoon tours. Includes snorkeling a small reef and cliff jumping off a lava tube. Not recommended for absolute beginners, as it involves a 4-mile paddle. They also have a night-time tour from Kona to kayak and snorkel with the Manta Rays. The west coast of the Big Island is one of the best places to see these giant rays. For more information about both kona tours, visit Aloha Kayak Co’s website.
Ocean Safaris: Daily 3.5 hour morning tours of the sea caves. Includes snorkeling, snacks, and opportunities for cliff jumping or exploring tide pools. Accommodates kids aged 5 and up. For more details and current rates, visit Ocean Safaris’ website.
Kealakekua Bay – South of Kona
One of the most popular places to visit by kayak is the beautiful, historically important, and biologically diverse Kealakekua Bay. This bay is home to the Captain Cook monument, commemorating his death in Kealakekua Bay in 1779. The bay is also renowned for its abundant marine life, with lots of Hawaiian spinner dolphins and beautiful coral reefs. On some of the kayak tours here, you are able to kayak to beautiful reefs before getting out and snorkeling.
Access to the Captain Cook monument by kayak is restricted, but there are three tour operators with permits to land here on guided tours for sightseeing and snorkeling:
- Adventures in Paradise: Offer kayak & snorkel tours twice a day. Tours include snorkeling, snacks, and drinks. Suitable for all levels. Great for families (accommodate kids over 5). Details on their tours can be found here.
- Aloha Kayak Co.: Offer daily 3.5 hour afternoon kayak & snorkel guided tours. Longer 5-hour tours are available in the morning 4 days a week. All ages and experience levels welcome. Follow this link for more information on their tours.
- Kona Boys: Offer two daily kayak & snorkel tours – a 5-hour tour in the morning and a 3-hour tour in the afternoon. Tours include snorkeling, snacks, and drinks. Follow this link for more information on their tours.
Due to the popularity of this site and the limited access, you will need to book your tour well in advance, especially during high season, but also means that this special place will be stewarded for years to come. Most of these companies also offer kayak rentals to explore Kealakekua Bay on your own, but you will not be allowed to land at the Captain Cook monument unless you are part of a guided tour. For more information, please see the State Department of Lands and Natural Resources website.
We recommend contacting organisations directly to get the most up to date information about their operations.