Best Paddle Boarding in Hawaii

Woman paddleboarding on stand up paddleboard in the Big Island, Hawaii
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In the realm of outdoor water activities, few experiences rival the thrill of paddle boarding in Hawaii. The islands’ azure waters and diverse coastal landscapes offer a playground for enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating aquatic adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned paddle boarder or a newcomer eager to dip your toes into this captivating sport, Hawaii’s abundant bays, rivers, and lagoons provide an array of options to satiate your craving for excitement. Join us as we delve into the top paddle boarding destinations across these picturesque islands, guiding you through each location’s unique appeal and the experiences that await.


In the heart of Honolulu, lies Waikiki, a world-renowned paradise that embodies the essence of Hawaii. This iconic beachfront stretches along Oahu’s southern shore, offering golden sands, turquoise waters, and a vibrant atmosphere. With Diamond Head as its backdrop, Waikiki beckons sun-seekers, surfers, and paddle boarders to indulge in its undeniable charm and aquatic wonders.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Waikiki:

  • Scenic Beauty: Experience the breathtaking fusion of urban and natural beauty as you paddle along the iconic coastline against the backdrop of Diamond Head.
  • Calm Waters: Waikiki’s protected waters offer an ideal environment for beginners and experts alike, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable paddle boarding experience.
  • Sunset Magic: Glide across the tranquil waters during sunset, painting the sky with vibrant hues, and witness the captivating transformation of the scenery.
  • Marine Encounters: Encounter Hawaii’s vibrant marine life up close as you paddle, with the possibility of spotting sea turtles, tropical fish, and perhaps even dolphins.
  • Iconic Views: Get a unique perspective of Waikiki’s landmarks, including the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the bustling Kalakaua Avenue, all from the serene waters.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Rash Guard, Sunscreen, SUP Shoes, Waterproof Bag

Kawela Bay

Nestled along the captivating North Shore of Oahu, Kawela Bay stands as a tranquil haven for those seeking an escape into Hawaii’s natural wonders. With its unspoiled beauty and azure waters, this bay invites adventurers to immerse themselves in a serene and pristine paddle boarding experience, far from the urban bustle.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Kawela Bay:

  • Secluded Beauty: Escape to a secluded paradise surrounded by lush greenery and crystal-clear waters, offering a serene backdrop for your paddle boarding journey.
  • Nature Connection: Immerse yourself in the unspoiled natural landscapes of the North Shore, where you can paddle amidst the beauty of Hawaii’s coastal flora and fauna.
  • Tranquil Waters: Enjoy calm and gentle waters that make Kawela Bay perfect for paddle boarding enthusiasts of all skill levels, including beginners.
  • Serenity at Sunset: Experience the magic of sunsets over the bay’s horizon as you paddle, creating a mesmerizing and tranquil ambiance.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Get up close with marine life like turtles and tropical fish, making every paddle stroke a chance to connect with Hawaii’s underwater world.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection, SUP Shoes, Rash Guard, Waterproof Bag

Kailua Bay

In the realm of aquatic wonders, Kailua Bay emerges as a breathtaking jewel on Oahu’s eastern shores. Its turquoise embrace and inviting coastline paint a vivid backdrop for an unparalleled paddle boarding adventure. With gentle waves, lush surroundings, and the promise of marine encounters, Kailua Bay beckons to those in search of an unforgettable water escapade.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Kailua Bay:

  • Tropical Paradise: Immerse yourself in Kailua Bay’s stunning beauty, surrounded by swaying palms and the allure of turquoise waters.
  • Versatile Waters: Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Kailua Bay offers a mix of calm areas and slightly more challenging sections, catering to all skill levels.
  • Coastal Exploration: Discover hidden coves, intricate coastlines, and potential encounters with marine life as you paddle along Kailua’s enchanting shores.
  • Majestic Views: Gaze upon the Mokulua Islands as you paddle, providing a breathtaking backdrop that amplifies the sense of adventure.
  • Relaxation and Rejuvenation: Experience the soothing rhythm of the ocean and the serenity of nature, making Kailua Bay a perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection, Waterproof Bag, Snorkeling Gear, Hydration Pack

Wailua River

Flowing through the heart of Kauai’s lush landscapes, Wailua River stands as a testament to nature’s captivating beauty. Its meandering waters lead adventurers on an enchanting paddle boarding journey, passing under lush canopies and by cascading waterfalls. With every stroke, a connection to Hawaii’s untouched wilderness is forged, promising an immersive and unforgettable exploration of the island’s soul.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at the Wailua River:

  • Natural Splendor: Immerse yourself in Kauai’s untouched beauty as you paddle through lush rainforest and witness cascading waterfalls.
  • Tranquil Waters: Enjoy serene and slow-moving waters, making Wailua River perfect for a peaceful paddle boarding experience.
  • Exploration: Navigate the river’s twists and turns, uncovering hidden pockets of natural wonder and marveling at the diverse ecosystems.
  • Cultural Richness: Paddle to the sacred Fern Grotto and connect with Kauai’s history and culture that has thrived along these shores for centuries.
  • Waterfall Reward: Venture upriver and be rewarded with the awe-inspiring sight of Uluwehi Falls, a majestic climax to your paddle boarding journey.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection, Waterproof Bag, Snacks/Water, Camera

Reeds Bay

Perched near Hilo, Reeds Bay invites paddle boarding enthusiasts to explore its coastal charm on the Big Island. With its gentle waves and serene ambiance, this hidden gem promises a tranquil paddle boarding experience. Against the backdrop of lush landscapes, adventurers can glide through calm waters, connecting with nature’s soothing rhythm in this idyllic haven.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Reeds Bay:

  • Secluded Serenity: Escape to a quiet retreat in Reeds Bay, away from the crowds for a peaceful paddle boarding session.
  • Coastal Exploration: Discover Hilo’s stunning coastline, paddle along lava rock formations, and appreciate the unique beauty of the area.
  • Calm Waters: Enjoy the bay’s calm waters, ideal for beginners and those looking for a relaxing paddle boarding experience.
  • Nature Connection: Immerse yourself in the bay’s natural beauty, surrounded by lush greenery and the gentle ebb and flow of the ocean.
  • Sunrise Bliss: Start your day with a paddle during sunrise, witnessing the sky painted in hues of orange and pink while surrounded by tranquility.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Leash, Sunscreen, SUP Shoes, Waterproof Phone Case, Snacks/Water, Paddle

Moku Nui Island

A rugged jewel set in the cerulean embrace of the Pacific, Moku Nui Island beckons adventurers seeking an extraordinary paddle boarding odyssey. This remote isle invites the intrepid to conquer the waves and explore its untamed beauty. Paddle around its shores, absorb its majestic cliffs, and uncover the allure of a pristine paradise that awaits the daring and the bold.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Moku Nui Island:

  • Thrilling Adventure: Embark on a daring journey to conquer the challenging waters and rugged coastline of this remote island.
  • Untouched Beauty: Immerse yourself in the unspoiled landscapes, surrounded by towering cliffs and the pristine allure of nature.
  • Unique Perspective: Paddle around the island to witness its grandeur from the water, offering a perspective unlike any other.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Conquer the challenge of reaching the island and paddle its shores, gaining an unmatched sense of achievement.
  • Secluded Escape: Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the solitude of Moku Nui Island, where adventure meets tranquility.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Wetsuit, Life Vest, Water/Snacks, Camera

Anahulu River

Flowing through Oahu’s picturesque landscapes, the Anahulu River offers an enchanting invitation to explore its serene waters. This river journey unveils a unique paddle boarding experience, guiding adventurers along the meandering path while surrounded by lush foliage. With every stroke, a connection to nature’s tranquility is forged, promising an unforgettable escape into the heart of the island.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at the Anahulu River:

  • Natural Oasis: Immerse yourself in Oahu’s untouched beauty as you paddle through the river’s lush surroundings and tranquil waters.
  • Close-to-Nature: Connect with the island’s rich ecosystems, spotting native wildlife and diverse plant life along the riverbanks.
  • Tranquil Exploration: Navigate the river’s twists and turns, uncovering hidden pockets of serene beauty and picturesque landscapes.
  • Cultural Journey: Paddle to iconic spots like Laniakea Beach and Haleiwa, immersing yourself in the area’s rich history and local charm.
  • Sunset Reflections: Experience the magic of sunset on the water, as the golden hues reflect on the river’s surface, creating an enchanting ambiance.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection (Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen), SUP Shoes, Dry Bag, Water/Snacks

Kahana Bay

Kahana Bay, a coastal gem on Oahu’s Windward side, awaits paddle boarding enthusiasts with its magnetic allure. This bay’s pristine expanse, framed by lush cliffs, offers an invitation to an unparalleled water adventure. Glide on its calm waters, embraced by nature’s beauty, as you embark on a paddle boarding journey that harmonizes tranquility and exploration.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Kahana Bay:

  • Idyllic Setting: Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Kahana Bay, surrounded by lush cliffs and inviting waters.
  • Calm Waters: Enjoy the bay’s calm and gentle waters, perfect for paddle boarders of all skill levels.
  • Coastal Exploration: Paddle along the shoreline to explore hidden coves, sea caves, and breathtaking views.
  • Marine Encounters: Encounter diverse marine life, including sea turtles and tropical fish, as you glide over clear waters.
  • Relaxing Ambiance: Revel in the tranquil atmosphere, connecting with nature’s serenity and embracing a leisurely paddle experience.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Snacks/Water, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection, SUP Shoes, Dry Bag

Puako Bay

Puako Bay, a pristine oasis along Hawaii’s coastline, invites paddle boarding enthusiasts to embrace its natural charm. With its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, this bay offers an unparalleled setting for an unforgettable paddle boarding experience. Glide over coral gardens and immerse yourself in the captivating underwater world, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at Puako Bay:

  • Underwater Paradise: Immerse yourself in Puako Bay’s vibrant marine life, paddle over coral reefs, and witness tropical fish in their natural habitat.
  • Crystal-Clear Waters: Experience unparalleled visibility in the bay’s transparent waters, making it a snorkeler’s and paddle boarder’s dream.
  • Serene Exploration: Enjoy calm waters that invite leisurely exploration, allowing you to savor every moment on your paddle board.
  • Scenic Views: Gaze at the bay’s captivating coastline, which seamlessly blends golden sands with lush greenery and rugged lava formations.
  • Marine Encounters: Encounter majestic sea turtles and perhaps playful dolphins, creating memorable interactions as you paddle through the bay.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Snorkeling Gear, Sunscreen, Rash Guard, Waterproof Camera, Towel

Hilton Lagoon

Hilton Lagoon, nestled in the heart of Waikiki, presents an enticing haven for paddle boarding enthusiasts. The lagoon’s tranquil waters and idyllic surroundings offer the perfect backdrop for an enjoyable paddle boarding experience. Set against the iconic Waikiki skyline, this oasis invites you to glide through its serene waters, connecting with the vibrant energy of the island.

Reasons to go Paddle Boarding at the Hilton Lagoon:

  • Urban Escape: Immerse yourself in an oasis of calm amidst the bustling energy of Waikiki, offering a unique blend of urban and natural beauty.
  • Gentle Waters: Enjoy the lagoon’s calm and sheltered waters, perfect for both beginners and those seeking a leisurely paddle.
  • Iconic Views: Paddle against the backdrop of Waikiki’s iconic skyline, capturing the essence of this vibrant destination.
  • Family-Friendly: Create lasting memories with family as children and adults alike can comfortably paddle in the lagoon’s safe environment.
  • Sunset Delight: Experience the magic of a Waikiki sunset from the water, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink.

Recommended Gear: Paddle Board, Paddle, Leash, Sun Protection, Snacks/Water, SUP Shoes, Waterproof Phone Case

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