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A Guide To Kayaking In Hawaii

Guide To Kayaking In Hawaii

Hawaii is a great place for those who enjoy kayaking, boasting crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and rugged landscapes. It’s a perfect combination of features that makes it a key destination for those who love nothing more than picking up a paddle.

It also has good weather almost all year around – this resource shows how temperatures in Hawaii show little variation throughout the year, ensuring you can get out on the water at almost any time.

However, before you embark on a kayaking trip to Hawaii, there are several important things to consider to ensure your safety and make the most of your trip.

Choose the Right Location

Choose the Right Location

Hawaii boasts a lot of great kayaking destinations, each with different features and attractions. If you’re interested in exploring sea caves, check out this article to understand how paddling along the Na Pali Coast in Kauai is a great choice.

If you fancy simply paddling through calm waters, Kealakekua Bay in the Big Island is a solid option, as are the calm waters of Kaneohe Bay, making it safe regardless of your age or experience.

Those who want to experience elegant coral reefs will find those around Maui, one of the most popular kayaking destinations on the islands. Honolua Bay, one hugely popular kayaking location, is located in the Mokulēʻia Marine Life Conservation District, which means lots of opportunities to see coral and marine life.

The type of experience you’re after will shape where you ought to be heading, and therefore ensuring you research and choose the location that suits your interests and skill level is paramount. With a rich reputation for kayaking and so many different challenges, you’ll surely find something for all skill levels.

Book a Car

Book a Car

As there are so many different spots offering various experiences, you may decide you want to visit several whilst on the islands. If this is the case, you should consider renting a car so you can travel between each with the necessary equipment.

You may be able to hire a kayak at locations, but it could be much simpler to transport the same one around the island, along with the rest of your safety gear. Not every vehicle will suit – so remember to pick something that is big enough to carry your stuff!

There are multiple options for hiring cars in Hawaii; for instance, those exploring Na Pali can visit this website to explore a Kauai car rental from Lihue airport. They have a range of vehicles, including vans and SUVs, which will accommodate your equipment and allow you to transfer a kayak between destinations with little fuss.

As you pick up and drop off at the airport, it will take the stress out of your land-based travel, making your water adventures much easier in the process.

Have the Right Safety Gear

Reference safety gear: it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you need before heading out on the water – some of which is standard kayaking gear, other bits that are a little more specific to the locale. For instance, wherever you are, you should always wear a properly fitted life jacket and consider bringing a waterproof communication device like a VHF radio or a cell phone in a waterproof case.

Specific to the area, the Hawaiian sun can be harsh, so be sure to have waterproof sunscreen for generous application; severe sunburn can quickly ruin your kayaking adventure, and it isn’t unusual during the Hawaiian summer.

Remember, you may only be able to use certain brands due to the new rules. The state banned sunscreens containing the chemical ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate in 2021, as studies suggest these chemicals are causing significant harm to the area’s marine environment and ecosystems, including coral reefs.

Also, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun away from your face. Also, sunglasses with good UV protection and polarized lenses to reduce the glare from the rivers and ocean are useful.

Indeed, the glare from the water can cause as much damage as the sun itself, so choose wisely when it comes to your shades. It might be worth ensuring you have a pair suitable for sports or a pair with a strap so they’re not as easy to lose in the sea.

Local Knowledge and Awareness

Local Knowledge and Awareness

Make sure wherever you choose to go, you arm yourself with local knowledge. For instance, some kayaking spots in Hawaii require permits, and there may be regulations in place to protect the delicate ecosystems. You should make sure to obtain any necessary permits and follow all rules and guidelines to minimize your impact on the environment.

It’s really important when selecting a destination that you understand the nuances around each of those locations.

For instance, this site explains how Hawaii has diverse marine life, with waters that may be teeming with sea turtles, dolphins, and colorful fish. While it’s tempting to get up close, remember to maintain a respectful distance to protect both yourself and the wildlife. Always avoid touching or disturbing any marine creatures.

Hawaii has a rich cultural heritage, and some kayaking locations may have cultural significance to the native people. Show respect for the land, water, and local customs by educating yourself about the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.

Always try to follow the Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of Hawaii’s landscape. Take away all your trash, avoid disturbing plant life, and respect the cultural significance of the areas you visit.


In conclusion, kayaking in Hawaii offers an incredible opportunity to explore the beauty of the islands from a unique perspective. However, one must carefully consider the factors listed above before embarking on your adventure.

If you do rent a car and look to travel to different spots, you’ll find value in our recent piece titled ‘How To Strap A Kayak To A Roof Rack – Safe And Secure Transportation‘.

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