Hawaii is one of our favorite places in the world, and one of the birthplaces of surfing and ocean sports. With its beautiful landscape and crystal clear waters, Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to stand up paddle board. The islands mountainous coastlines provide the perfect backdrop for paddleboard Hawaii adventures.
It's difficult to name only 5 places to paddleboard Hawaii but, here's our top 5:
#1 Waikiki Beach
Situated on the south shore of Honolulu is arguably the most famous beach in Hawaii, Waikiki Beach. Waikiki is home to millions of tourists a year, and the beach is packed during summer months, making for a lively ecstatic environment.
What makes this beach so great for paddle boarding is its calm waters and close proximity to the many tourist attractions and shops in Honolulu. There are countless paddle board rental companies in the inlet, so finding a board is no problem. The waves break very far off shore at Waikiki making it easy for beginners to get their paddleboard into the water and find their balance and stride. Hotel skyscrapers cover the inlet right next to the beach making for a spectacular sight from the water. Due to the sheer size and light that these hotels emit, you can even paddleboard at night at Waikiki, or even better during a full moon.
#2 Wailua River
I know what you’re thinking, a river in Hawaii made the list? A bit of an unorthodox location for paddle boarding, but definitely one the prettiest paddleboarding routes in Hawaii is Wailua River. This 20 mile long river on the island of Kauai is the islands largest river and home to abundant wildlife. Starting from the East entrance of the river and paddling West you will be introduced to many attractions on your paddle. The Fern Grotto is an awesome cave that was formed from lava rock & covered in ferns and is easily accessible by paddle board.
Continuing west, and if the water levels permit, the river will lead you to the famous Wailua Falls. This waterfall is one of Kauai’s biggest tourist attractions, and paddleboarding right up to the falls is the best way to experience it. If you paddleboard Hawaii, this is a must. Kailua River is also home to many other various “secret” spots along the way, you’ll have to go and find them during your next trip.
#3 Lanikai Beach
Some of Hawaii’s calmest and bluest waters can be seen at Lanikai Beach. This spot is practically made for stand up paddle boarding, with its exceptional views and crystal clear water. While out paddle boarding here you will definitely be able to see all sorts of fish swimming underneath your board. If you’re brave enough, there are two islands off the coast of Lanikai that are within paddle boarding distance.
Finish the day relaxing on the beach and enjoying the beautiful sunsets that Lanikai Beach can provide. We highly recommend watching the sunset here, even if you’re no longer out on the water.
#4 Makena Beach State Park
Also known as “Big Beach” due to its ¾ mile length, this beach is one of Maui’s longest stretch of undeveloped beach land. What makes this a top 5 paddleboard Hawaii spot is its prehistoric and untouched nature. This state park looks exactly the same as it most likely did hundreds of years ago, which is quite extraordinary.
Visitors to this paddle boarding spot are always surprised by the beaches beautiful white sand. Known for having incredibly soft and fine sand, Makena Beach is the perfect spot to relax after paddling and exploring the area by sea.
# 5 Lanai
Last but certainly not least is the island of Lanai, specifically Hulopoe Beach. Lanai is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is only 8 miles off the coast of Maui. This island is perfect for a multi-day Hawaii paddleboard adventure. The island is only 140 miles in area, but offers beautiful coastlines for paddle boarding. We highly recommend spending a few days paddleboarding around this island and checking out its various uninhabited spots. Hulopoe Beach is one of the signatures of the island and offers a perfect calm bay for paddleboarders with any skillset.
When paddleboarding hawaii, its important to take the time to look at the wildlife and ecosystem right underneath your feet, but especially so in Lanai. This island has an extremely diverse marine ecosystem, and it's worth even jumping off your board and going for a dive/snorkel to check out.