There are six islands to visit in Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii! Each has its own distinct opportunities for boating and water-lovers.
Kauai is known for its lush scenery on land. But the waters of Kauai offer many additional unique adventures from kayaking, boat cruises, sailing, scuba diving, and whale watching.
Kauai is the home of the only navigable rivers in Hawaii. The three rivers are the Hanalei River, Huleia River, and the tranquil Wailua River. Wailua River is the most popular for kayakers.
For the less adventurous, Kauai’s magnificent beaches offer plenty of activities from swimming, snorkeling and surfing lessons.
Schedule a tour or charter a boat to spot these magnificent creatures. Treat yourself to scenic ocean views as guides take you to the best spots to observe whales playfully surfacing, tail slapping, or blowing spouts in the air. On the East Side, the Kapaa Overlook between Kapaa Town and Kealia Beach is another notable viewing spot. Whales are attracted to Hawaii’s warm, shallow waters, so keep your eyes open on the sands of Kauai.
You can also spot whales from Kauai’s many beautiful beaches. These include Poipu Beach on the South Shore, and from scenic spots like Kilauea Lighthouse and the Napali Coast’s Kalalau Trail on the North Shore.
The Napali Coast spans 17 miles of Kauai’s North Shore and provides a visitor with extraordinary natural beauty. The coast features cliffs and ridges towering above the Ocean with pristine beaches and waterfalls from the cliffs above. Napali area is largely unspoiled due to the difficulty in reaching its shores. Other than hiking in along the coast the only way to access the beach is by boat. Boat tour operators are not permitted to let people disembark there.
Another way of reaching the shore is by paddling however this should only be tried during the summer months due to unpredictable sea conditions. When the conditions are right you can access hidden sea caves and remote beaches.
Personal or rented kayaks and guided kayak tours may land at two permitted areas, and motorized raft tours take passengers on shore at Nu’alolo Kai. These zodiac tours enjoy a scenic view of the coast, with snorkeling, lunch and guided tour through an archaeological complex.
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Oahu has plenty of boat tours available for a range of taste from whale watching to fishing excursions.
There are several catamaran options including luxury sailing vessels carrying 80 people to state of the art twin hulled designed specifically for Waikiki Beach. Take in the picturesque beauty of the island including Diamond Head, Honolulu cityscape and the beauty of the ocean itself.
There are a few eco-tours also available offering panaramic deck views. It also offers the opportunity to see dolphins in their natural habitat as well as whales between December and April. Swim alongside these amazing mammals throught clear waters with pods of 30 to 100 spinner dolphins!
Molokai is Hawaii’s fifth largest island and is 38 miles long and 10 miles across. It is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world, leading to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and also offers the longest fringing reef. The population of Molokai preserve a rural lifestyle living off the land. Papohaku Beach is one of Hawaii’s largest white-sand beaches and is definitely worth a visit!
Take a sunrise or sunset sail from Maui to Manele Harbor on the southern coast of Lanai with Trilogy Excursions. Spinning Dolphin Charters of Lanai offers private fishing and boating tours. Or book a boat dive to the Lanai Cathedrals through Lanai Ocean Sports.
You can also take day trips to and from Manele Harbor and Lahaina Harbor in Maui through the Expeditions Ferry service. There are multiple round-trips daily, and during the winter months (December through May), you could even spot a humpback whale during your crossing. Ferry trips take roughly an hour.
Maui is Hawaii’s second most popular island for visitors. Visit the beaches and enjoy the cobalt-blue waters and picturesque beaches. Take surfing lessons rent a personal watercraft, and try out scuba diving. Maui also offers excellent whale watching from the Lahaina Harbor or from a ferry or sailing trip to the island of Lanai.
Hawaii – The Big Island
The Big Island offers more miles of coastline than any other Hawaiian island and is a haven for marine life. The waters of Kona are calm as they are shielded from the winds by Maunaloa. This makes it a great places for snorkelling and diving where observers can find an abundance of green sea turtles and deep sea game fish. The underwater world around the island is fragile and visitors are encouraged not to touch the coral reef and other underwater life.
During the winter months you can spot kohola (whales) as well as sperm whales, pygmies and false killer whales which can be seen year round. You can see these 40 ton, 40 foot long giants break through the waters surface – an unforgettable experience. Book a tour to see these magestic animals from the best spots on the water. You can also observe from the coast including the Kohala coast, and the Puukohola (‘hill of the whale’) Heiau National Historic Site. Hilo Bay on the east side is another great spot to whale watching.
The island’s Kona Coast is a great place to join a fishing tour. Visitors can rent deep-sea charters from Honokohau Harbor and find marlin, mahimahi, ono, and ahi. You can also fish the piers, jetties, shores, and streams.