Must-Do Hawaii Water Adventures for Summer

Friday, May 27, 2011


There are a few perks that come with being one of the most remote destinations on the planet. Tradewinds bearing fresh air with the scent of plumeria, sure. Cultural distinctiveness, definitely. But undoubtedly one of the best is Hawaii's vast ocean and the bountiful water activities it provides.

When you visit, you no doubt will get your beach time in. But if you're looking to kick it up a notch out on the Pacific, here are our recommendations for water adventures you shouldn't miss — one for each of the main six Hawaiian Islands. Have fun!


Learn to Surf on Oahu

Learn how to surf at the birthplace of surfing. Summertime is ideal for learning on Oahu's near-shore breaks during the consistent south shore swells — just be ready to stay out of the water if a Tahitian storm sends double-overhead swells our way. (Trust us, you'll want to leave those waves to the experts.)

Surfing professional Hans Hedemann heads a Waikiki-based surf school that introduces students to the fundamentals of surfing and water safety, then nurtures those new skills out on the waves. They've taught as young as five and as old as 83, so just about anyone with a spirit of adventure can give it a shot.


Take a Sailing Trip to Lanai from Maui

The cluster of islands that surround the Auau Channel (Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe) create idyllic tropical landscapes even if you're just standing on the beach. Imagine sailing through it.

The family-owned Trilogy Excursions has been sailing its gorgeous catamarans in Maui's waters since 1973, and features one of the best day trips around: A voyage to Lanai. You'll munch on breakfast on the ride over, moor at spectacular Hulopoe Bay, where instructors can teach you to snorkel among hundreds of fish species, dolphins and turtles in the protected marine preserve, or you can hike and explore the privately owned island. Enjoy a sunset barbecue before sailing back.

Trilogy is also committed to ecotourism — you can participate in its clean-up campaign. Watch the video for more.




Snorkel with Mantas at Night in Kona

Elegant, otherworldly manta rays like to feed at night — this snorkel trip on the Big Island offers the best chance to view them in their natural habitat. The Hula Kai catamaran launches out of Keauhou Bay, walking distance from the Sheraton Keauhou Bay. Unlike their brother sting rays, mantas are not dangerous.




Explore Na Pali's Sea Caves on Kauai

No trip to Kauai is complete without a visit to the Na Pali cliffs on Kauai's north coast. It is an RGB feast: RED-clay mountains covered by thick GREEN jungle that plunge 3,000 feet into the BLUE Pacific. Ask anyone about what you have to see in Kauai. You'll get Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali cliffs — every time.

The Na Pali Snorkel Expedition takes large Zodiac rafts out to the coastline, exploring its interior caves and hitting prime snorkeling spots. You'll land at Nualolo Kai, a beach accessible only by boat, where you can hike and explore the remains of an ancent Hawaiian fishing village, or snorkel on the protected reef teeming with marine life.




Diving at Cathedrals on Lanai


Next to Lanai's pristine Hulopoe Bay Marine Preserve is a series of underwater lava tubes that generate majestic colors when hit with sunlight — like colors streaming through the stained glass of a church. Two formations there measure up to 100 feet long and two stories high. At roughly 60 feet deep, you will need diving gear.

The Four Seasons Resorts Lanai can assist you with getting to this remarkable spot. Photo: Cathedral 1, Lanai. Brian Wishan/Creative Commons.




Explore Hawaii's largest barrier reef on Molokai

At more than 30 miles long, the Palaau Reef on Molokai's southeastern shore offers sheltered water areas perfect for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and other water sports (Pictured: Kiteboarding off Puko'o Beach. Photo: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/Creative Commons.)

And bonus! You're on lovely, remote Molokai, which means you'll have hardly anyone around you as you frolic.





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