Whether it's a romantic sunset cruise, catamaran island-hopping, or enjoying world-class scuba diving, Hawaii is an excellent destination for a boating vacation. Seeing the volcanic mountains covered in green palm trees from the water is a visual that you'll never forget. The Hawaiian Islands offer fun in the sun for couples on a romantic honeymoon getaway and is a favorite spot to visit for families on vacation. With many islands to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down where to go for the best boating and beaches in Hawaii, so we've created a guide to help you choose.
Top Boating Destinations in Hawaii
The Big Island
Heading to the Big Island for your Hawaii vacation? While many of the main attractions like Volcanoes National Park and hiking Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are land activities, there is still plenty to enjoy by sea. One of the best things to do once you're there is charter a yacht. Whether it's a private fishing charter leaving from Hilo or a boat charter for snorkeling or scuba diving, you'll find the perfect boating experience for your vacation. A special scuba diving encounter that is popular in Hawaii is a manta ray dive - swim with some giant manta rays under the waves in Hawaii for an unforgettable experience.
Want more while exploring the Hawaiian Islands? Try a dolphin-spotting tour or a sunset dinner cruise for an experience you'll never forget.
A popular choice to tour around the Big Island of Hawaii is a kayaking tour. You can choose from kayaking tours with a guide or rent kayaks on your own and go off and explore. Travelers with active lifestyles are drawn to Hawaii for the incredible nature and warm sunshine that bathes the islands year-round, so get out and enjoy the waves with a boat charter leaving from Kailua-Kona or Hilo.
The home to the capital city of Honolulu, Oahu island offers a plethora of fantastic boating and water experiences. Charter a catamaran for a cruise you'll never forget - sail underneath rainbows and sunshine from the Honolulu harbor, stop to snorkel where you'll see turtles and fish swimming about under the waves. Sailing charters are popular in Hawaii for groups and families traveling with children, and they are a relaxing way to see the sights from the water.
If you'd prefer a bit more power in your cruising, rent a motor yacht or powerboat in Oahu for some speed during your trip. Boat rentals and charters are easy to find in Hawaii, with many different styles to choose from. Honolulu is excellent for power catamarans, bowrider boats, and fishing boats for fishing charters. On your boat rental or charter, you can cruise to beloved spots like Waikiki Beach or try a must-do activity - kayaking, while exploring Oahu. Kayak to places like the tiny island known as "Chinamen's Hat" or book a kayak tour from Kailua Beach to the Mokes. Sunset cruises from Waikiki Beach are a must-do experience while on Oahu - see the sunset like you never have before from the deck of your private yacht.
Yogis and wellness travelers in Hawaii will be delighted to discover that they can take their mindfulness and meditation practice out on the water. Stand-up paddleboard yoga classes are a popular activity to try while visiting Honolulu. They are a fabulous way to enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii while taking care of the body and soul. You can also rent paddleboards to explore on your own, around the beautiful bays of Oahu.
The second biggest island of the Hawaiian Islands is Maui, and it's a beloved destination for visitors and has attracted many people to move there for longer.
While on Maui, you must make time for a boat charter to go snorkeling. The turtles and coral reefs of Maui are genuinely inspiring, and there are many boat tours to choose from. Explore turtle bays with your kids and learn about these amazing animals and the importance of their conservation. Book a sailing and snorkeling tour, or rent a powerboat for cruising around the reefs and bays of Maui.
Want to see more marine wildlife? Book a whale-watching tour in Hawaii to see humpbacks and dolphins swimming in the waves of Maui. Seeing whales in the wild is a favorite experience for travelers from around the world - many people report it as being a life-changing encounter. With sustainable eco-tour guides in Maui, you'll get to see amazing whales in the wild responsibly.
Check out our whale watching guide for more information on how to enjoy these tours!
Want to learn how to surf? The Hawaiian Islands have been a magnet for surfers from all over the world for decades. Book a surfing lesson during your stay on Maui to ride some waves like the pros. Surf charters are a popular choice of travelers of many ages and can be a fun activity for a family traveling to Hawaii. The wave breaks are fabulous here, and you'll want to get out on a board for a few hours. Rent surfboards or take lessons from pros who can teach you the tricks. You can also try windsurfing or kitesurfing on Maui.
No matter what part of Hawaii you're going to, you're sure to find a tropical paradise with incredible boating experiences.
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