Top 6 Places to Kayak on Oahu

three yellow and pink kayak

Oahu is a great place for a number of different water sports. There are many locations around the island which are perfect for kayaking. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced kayaker, Oahu has a lot to offer—from stream kayaking, to shallow reefs, to ocean kayaking, Oahu has so many options. Below is a brief roundup of favorite kayaking spots around the island. Some you can explore on your own, others you might prefer a guided paddle. Grab a dry bag, rent some kayaks, and set off on some fun adventures!

The Mokes

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Magazine

Kayaking out to the Mokes is a favorite among both tourists and locals. Launch from Lanikai Beach to ocean kayak out to the larger of the islands, Moku Nui. Permits are required for landing on Moku Nui, and are often included in kayak rentals and guided tours. Depending on the tide, the water might be shallow at the beginning of the trip, so make sure to watch out for coral. On your way out, keep an eye out for sea turtles and Hawaiian Monk Seals. Landing on Moku Nui can be a bit difficult depending on the tide. When we kayaked out in 2017, we watched for a while as other kayaker’s attempted to land in rough surf. If you are on a guided tour, make sure to listen to your tour guide concerning landing. If you are on a self-guided tour, ask the kayak rental company for any tricks or tips on your route to the island.

Once on the island, you might see some Monk Seals sunning on the sand. Head over the Queen’s Bath, hike around the island and enjoy the view. Note that you cannot kayak out to Moku Nui on Sundays. This trip takes about 4-5 hours round trip, depending on how much time you want to spend on the island and whether you launch from Lanikai Beach of Kailua Beach.

Kailua Beach

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If you are looking for a leisure kayak adventure, consider kayaking around Kailua Beach. The clear water at Kailua Beach is prefect for viewing sea life and coral. You might get lucky and see some sea turtles in the waters off the beach. This is a fun activity if you just want to spend an hour or two kayaking. There are many kayak rental companies in the area that deliver your kayaks to the beach for you.

Kaneohe Sandbar

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If you have been on Oahu for a while, chances are you have heard of the Kaneohe Sandbar. A frequent destination for pontoon boats, kayakers, and tour companies, this miles long sandbar in Kaneohe Bay is a fun way to spend the day at the beach. It takes about an hour to get to the sandbar from the shoreline. Make sure to bring a hat, water and sunscreen! This is a great place to hangout for the day, play in the water and snorkel.

Mokoli’I (Chinaman’s Hat)

Photo courtesy of Discover Hawaii Tours

Situated near Kualoa Ranch, Mokoli’I is commonly referred to as “Chinaman’s Hat”. This is a brief kayaking trip and Mokoli’I can be reached after about a half hour of kayaking. If you are adventurous, bring along some hiking shoes and hike up to the top of the Island. This is a step hike, so be careful before starting it! If you decide to hike, this trip takes about 2 to 4 hours roundtrip.

He’eia State Park Fishpond

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The fishpond at He’eia State Park was originally constructed 600-800 years ago. The fishpond is intact and is actively managed by Paepae o He’eia to remove invasive species and repair damaged area. You can kayak around this beautiful fishpond and go back in time to when the ancient Hawai’ians would use these ponds to fish sustainably.

Poka’I Bay Beach Park

Photo courtesy of Only In Hawaii

The protected breakwater at Poka’I Bay on the west side makes it a safe place to kayak. The waters in the bay remain calm year round. If you come early in the morning, you might be able to spot some spinner dolphins.

For more information on kayak rental companies, click here. These are just some of the many beautiful places to kayak around Oahu. Where have you explored? What is your favorite place to kayak?

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