Are you looking for the perfect tropical stand up paddle board getaway? Cast your mind and daydreams to Kona, Hawaii! This beautiful destination, also known as the Big Island of Hawaii, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, outdoor adventure, relaxation, and of course amazing paddle boarding spots.
With its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and laid-back atmosphere, Kona is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy all Hawaii offers by paddle board. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what makes Kona such a great destination and outline some of the best spots to paddle board in Kona. It is no surprise that this is one of the best places to paddle board in Hawaii!
From its beautiful beaches and cultural attractions to its delicious food and drink and wide range of outdoor activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, you are bound to fall in love with the island life Kona lives by. So pack your bags – and your paddle – and prepare for a Hawaiian adventure you'll never forget!
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Paddle boarding at Keauhou Bay Beach Park in Kona, Hawaii is a one-of-a-kind experience. The park is just out of Kailua Bay and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastline. The waters of Keauhou Bay Beach Park are calm and clear, making it an ideal spot for chilled paddle boarding, even for beginners to learn how to paddle board.
As you paddle along the bay, you will have the opportunity to see a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and tropical fish. The coastline is dotted with ancient Hawaiian fishponds and historic sites, adding culture to your paddle boarding trip.
If you are feeling adventurous, paddle further out, deeper into the bay. You will be gliding over a beautiful coral reef and have the chance to see loads more colorful marine life or maybe even majestic humpback whales passing by in winter months. The bay is also known for its nighttime manta ray snorkeling tours, where you can witness these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat, a totally unforgettable experience.
Exploring Kailua Bay by hard or inflatable paddle board is an exciting and memorable experience. The bay offers clear, calm waters and breathtaking views of the coastline, making it one of the most popular spots for paddle boarding in Kona.
Take in the stunning views of the Kona coastline, including the historic Kailua Pier and the lush green hillsides. The waters are often dotted with marine life, including sea turtles, tropical fish, and occasionally dolphins or even whales. So be prepared for an exciting sighting!
For more experienced paddle boarders, Kailua Bay also offers the opportunity to catch some waves and ride them back to shore. And for those looking for a more relaxing experience, you can simply float along the calm waters and soak up the sun. If you are up for a challenge though, take the long paddle out to the nearby Mokuaikaua Church, which is the oldest Christian church in Hawaii and a popular landmark in Kailua Bay.
Kamakahonu Beach is a peaceful and scenic place to paddle board. The beach is at the northern end of Kailua Bay and gives you super calm and clear waters. It is great for beginners and families, so be sure to grab one of the best kid's paddle boards and enjoy your day out.
Again, this beach has diverse marine life and beautiful coral reefs, all of which you can explore while paddle boarding. Maybe take your snorkel and mask on board with you so you can take a look underwater mid-paddle!
Kamakahonu Beach is also well known for its rich cultural history. The beach was once the site of King Kamehameha I's residence, and today you can see a replica of his royal palace on the beach. There are also several other historic sites nearby, including the Ahuena Heiau temple and the Hulihee Palace museum.
Kahalu'u Beach Park can be found on the western coast of the Big Island and is loved for its crystal-clear waters and abundance of marine life. Take out a touring paddle board and be in awe of the reef beneath you!
This is a popular sandy beach for paddle boarding, particularly for those who are new to the sport. The calm waters and gentle waves make it an ideal spot to learn how to paddle board. There are also several paddle board rental shops nearby, making it easy to get set up with the right equipment.
Overall, paddleboarding at Kahalu'u Beach Park is a fun and exhilarating experience, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro. The wonderfully sheltered beach is great for a relaxing paddle and glide over gorgeous reefs and crystal clear waters.
Honaunau Bay is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving spots on the island, as well as some epic opportunities for stand up paddle boarding. There are a few different options for you and your trusted board, depending on your paddling experience:
Our top tip when paddling Honaunau Bay – pack your cameras! If you come across a pod of dolphins or are greeted by sea turtles alongside your board then you will want to capture the moment and share it with others for sure!
Kealakekua Bay is a truly spectacular place. As well as the wide range of marine life, one of the main attractions of paddling in Kealakekua Bay is the opportunity to visit the famous Captain Cook Monument, which is only accessible by boat or paddle board. The monument marks the spot where Captain James Cook, the famous explorer, first landed in Hawaii in 1778.
As you paddle the coastline, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views of the lush green mountains and crystal-clear waters. The bay is also home to several underwater caves and coral formations, which you can explore from your all-around paddle boards.
The best time to paddle Kealakekua Bay is in the early morning when the waters are calm and the marine life is most active. Often the afternoons bring winds across the bay which can make for challenging conditions.
Kukio Beach is one of the most serene and peaceful places to paddle board in Kona. The beach is known for its calm, clear waters and unspoiled natural beauty, making it an ideal spot for taking your yoga paddle boards for a practice.
You will be surrounded by stunning views of the lush green mountains and the turquoise-blue waters while finding your zen and balance. One of the more unique features of Kukio Beach is the presence of a natural lava tube, which you can explore while paddle boarding. The lava tube is a natural rock formation that extends out into the ocean and provides a unique view of Kukio Beach.
The waters are typically calm, providing a smooth and easy paddle experience. There are some rental shops are available near the beach to provide you with the necessary equipment if you have not got your own board yet.
Anaeho'omalu Beach, also known as "A-Bay", is a fun and exciting spot to paddle board Kona. The beach is super popular for watersports and snorkeling. From your paddle board, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views of the turquoise blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the stunning Mauna Kea mountain in the distance. The beach is also home to several offshore reefs and lava formations, which you can explore while paddle boarding.
The waters are typically calm and shallow, providing a smooth and easy paddle experience. There are also several nearby snorkeling spots, which you can easily enjoy from your paddle board. So make sure you take a snorkel and mask with you!
Mauna Kea Beach is another place to get a serene and tranquil paddling session in. It is also one of the quieter places on the island, adding to the serenity. This beach is also known and loved for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, making it an idyllic spot for paddle boarding.
Of course, here you will be surrounded by stunning views of the towering Mauna Kea mountain in the distance. The beach is also home to several offshore reefs and coral formations, which you can explore while paddleboarding. One of the unique features of Mauna Kea Beach is the presence of a natural underwater rock wall. The rock wall is home to an abundance of marine life, including colorful tropical fish and sea turtles.
Overall, paddleboarding at Mauna Kea Beach is a serene and peaceful way to experience Hawaii's natural beauty and marine life. Whether you're a seasoned paddleboarder or a beginner, you definitely won’t want to miss this spot during your visit to Kona.
Puako Bay is a unique spot to paddle board in Kona. The beach is known for its natural beauty and rich marine life, offering rugged lava coastlines and turquoise waters to explore. There are also several offshore reefs that you can explore with your stand up paddle board.
This is the best spot for anyone looking for a unique and adventurous place to paddle board. The waters can be slightly choppy at times, providing a more challenging paddle experience. So it is recommended you have some basic skills up your sleeve before heading here. There are some rental shops are available near the beach to provide you with the necessary equipment.
While you paddle Puako Bay, you can explore the fascinating natural rock formations, meet the local marine life, and get a unique view of the bay. Due to the rocky coastline and often challenging conditions, this spot is best left for intermediate or experienced paddle boarders.
Hilo Bay is on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is known for its lush greenery, diverse marine life, and beautiful waters, making it an ideal spot for paddle boarding. As you explore the coastline, you will be treated to stunning views of the towering mountains and the calm waters of the bay.
This spot is perfect for those who are looking for a peaceful and scenic paddle experience. The waters are typically calm and serene, providing a smooth and easy paddle. One of the unique features of Hilo Bay is the presence of a natural estuary, which you can explore by paddle board. There are some rental shops are available near the bay to provide you with the necessary equipment.
Kona is a great place to get out the paddle board and glide over the Pacific Ocean. There are countless places for you to explore by paddle board on Hawaii’s Big Island, all of which offer crystal clear water and an abundance of marine life to discover. Most of the bays are sheltered and are great for gentle and restoring paddle boarding, however, you can also find some waves to enjoy if you wanted a hit of adrenaline!
Whether you are an experienced paddle boarder or completely new to the sport, you will be able to find somewhere to suit you! Kona offers fantastic flatwater paddle boarding for beginners to find their balance and learn the basics. So no experience is required, especially if you plan to join one of the surf schools for a paddle board lesson!
As you can imagine, Kona is a warm paddle boarding destination, so you need to dress accordingly. Appropriate clothing needs to keep you comfortable and protected during your session. We recommend swimwear, board shorts, rash guards, a brimmed hat, and water shoes to protect you from the reef.
You also need to wear reef-friendly sunscreen to protect yourself from UV exposure. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30) to any exposed skin, especially to the face, neck, and shoulders. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Some of the most popular places to paddle board in Kona are Keauhou Bay, Kailua Bay, and Honaunau Bay. However, there are so many more places to explore with your paddle board! Branch out and go off the beaten path to discover some remote and serene beauty on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Yes! There are plenty of paddle board rental outlets across Kona. You will find stores near many of the more popular beaches and bays providing good equipment and even SUP lessons.
Kona has many safe places to paddle board. There are sheltered bays all across the island that provide calm conditions that are great for beginners, families, and even dogs to get out on the water!
Kona is great for flat water paddle boarding. There are also some places for surfing to test your balance and maneuvering skills out on the water. Hawaii’s Big Island is perfect for touring paddle boards to head out for epic excursions around the coastline.
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