Kailua-Kona Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Kailua-Kona Outdoor activities

Big Island, Hawaii: Night Manta Ray Snorkel Experience

1. Big Island, Hawaii: Night Manta Ray Snorkel Experience

Snorkeling with manta rays is a must-do while in Hawaii! Enjoy this amazing opportunity to see manta rays up close. Feed and interact with other ocean creatures on this cruise trip. After a safety briefing, gear up with the snorkeling equipment and wet suits provided. Relax and enjoy the cruise with drinks and snacks on board. Bring your underwater camera for photos and capture memories that will last a lifetime.

Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

2. Big Island: Kona 2-Hour Small Group Surf Lesson

There is a saying in Hawaii that "you never forget your first wave," and this surf lesson in Kahaluu Bay brings that saying to life, providing quality surf instruction to people of all ages and skill levels. The 2-hour surf lessons are designed to teach people how to surf safely and effectively from the best surfing and snorkeling beach in Kona, Hawaii. Upon arrival at the surf shop, you will be outfitted with reef booties and rashguards. Then, before entering the water, learn how to paddle and pop up on land, as well as important surfing etiquette and how to wipe out properly. Once you are comfortable, it’s off to the water to practice your skills on the long rolling waves of Kahaluu Bay. Your surf instructor will help you catch the waves, letting you know where you need to be, when to paddle, and when to pop up. They will even give you a little push to ensure that you catch every wave you paddle for. For more advanced surfers, instructors offer advice on how to turn and catch larger waves. Instructors work in small groups, with no more that 3 participants per teacher to ensure maximum attention and a highly personalized experience.

Big Island: Night Swim with Manta Ray with Hot Chocolate

3. Big Island: Night Swim with Manta Ray with Hot Chocolate

Experience a nighttime snorkeling expedition on a cruise from Big Island. Get up close and personal with stunning manta rays as they gracefully soar through the water. Your underwater adventure will take place in clear warm waters near protected reefs abundant with marine life. After the sun sets, head off into the nighttime waters to see a fascinating "manta ray ballet" along the Kona coast near the mouth of Keauhou Bay. This point of departure is one of the island’s most successful and consistent manta ray viewing locations. Your snorkeling guide will outfit you with all the necessary gear needed to embark on your experience including snorkel gear, wetsuits, and flotation devices. After a quick safety briefing, plunge into the dark waters and be captivated by these graceful creatures as they feast on plankton. Grip onto the flotation swim ring with high-illumination blue water lights that attract the plankton on which the mantas feed. Soon afterward, rays will glide through the water almost at arm's length opening their enormous mouths to feast. After your remarkable underwater adventure, return to your boat and warm up with a nighttime snack of hot chocolate and cookies

Mauna Kea: Summit Sunset & Stargazing Trip with Photo

4. Mauna Kea: Summit Sunset & Stargazing Trip with Photo

Get your photos taken by the stars during this sunset and stargazing adventure on the summit of Mauna Kea. Learn about the area from your guide as you sip on hot chocolate and eat snacks. Choose from pickup and drop-off options at several locations.  Delight in the awe-inspiring sunset at the top of Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Pacific. Get cozy with a parka, gloves, and hot drink as you learn historic accounts of Hawaii, the Big Island, from your guide. Stand amidst the world’s largest collection of research telescopes and see two of the eight telescopes which took the first photo of a black hole. Enjoy your very own private star show with a Celestron telescope. Capture your experience forever with photos taken by your guide on a DSLR camera. Get emailed these photos after your experience. After your unforgettable evening with the stars, depart back to your pickup location for drop-off.

Kona: Dolphin Watch and Double Snorkel Boat Tour with BBQ

5. Kona: Dolphin Watch and Double Snorkel Boat Tour with BBQ

Discover the beautiful coastline aboard the Kibou zodiac vessel. Search for playful dolphins in the gorgeous blue Hawaiian waters, snorkel with exotic underwater species, and enjoy a hearty Hawaiian-style BBQ lunch. After meeting your crew and boarding the boat, begin by searching for majestic dolphins in the shimmering ocean surrounding Kona. Learn a bit about marine biology, Hawaiian history, and local traditions. Stop in a spectacular bay with a vibrant reef and enjoy plenty of time for snorkeling. Swim with wild turtles and exotic tropical fish as you explore the underwater world. After snorkeling, the crew will bring out the barbecue and cook up a delectable meal. Once finished snorkeling and with lunch, travel to a second snorkel spot to try and see more wildlife and potentially some manta rays, before heading back to the meeting point.

Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

6. Big Island: South Kona Snorkeling and Coastline Exploration

Prepare for a thrilling day exploring 3 unique snorkeling locations in South Kona with time to take a break from swimming for lunch with breathtaking views. Begin your snorkeling adventure by heading to the turquoise waters and vibrant reef of the 315-acre marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay, with your crew members highlighting interesting sights along the way. Once there, experience a vibrant reef filled with coral and schools of tropical fish. On occasion, even catch glimpses of spinner dolphins swimming nearby. After snorkeling, savor a gourmet deli lunch in the shade of the canopy with the monument to Captain Cook as a backdrop and the cliffs of the bay soaring above you. Next, jet off to a new location with visually spectacular snorkeling opportunities and cultural significance, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, the “Place of Refuge.” Beautiful Honaunau Bay is fronted by large, smooth, and lava rock flats and fascinating gardens of coral.  For your third snorkeling stop, let your expert captain transport you a location that even island locals have yet to see. At this remote location, snorkel at a remote black sand beach, marvel at a stone arch, or maybe admire a spectacular lava rock formation created thousands of years ago. Explore sea caves and lava tubes in a safe, exciting, and maneuverable vessel designed to get you up close and personal with the coast. Rest assured that the local operator is proudly part of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association and seeks to create a culture protecting and promoting healthy oceans through many sustainability efforts.

From Hawaii: Historical Dinner Cruise Tour to Kealakekua Bay

7. From Hawaii: Historical Dinner Cruise Tour to Kealakekua Bay

Step aboard and step back in time. Hop aboard a sunset dinner cruise in Kona for an enchanting Hawaiian history lesson from the experts. This family adventure departs from the Kailua Pier and is narrated by a local historian tour guide, who will reveal secrets, tell stories, and share legends related to the numerous landmarks along the 12 miles of magnificent Kona coastline. Unwind while you admire Captain Cook’s Monument at Historical Kealakekua Bay (only accessible by boat or hiking) with a complimentary cocktail from a fully stocked, premium bar. Begin your delicious dinner starting with an appetizer of Mauna Loa Big Island Macadamia Nuts (Vegan/GF). Then, enjoy a salad starter of Kealaola Farm mixed salad greens, Waimea grape tomatoes, Japanese cucumber, and red onion (Vegan/GF), served with house-made Maui Onion vinaigrette dressing (Vegan/GF). For your main course, choose the Thai coconut curry with Hamakua sweet potatoes, Hawaiian breadfruit, carrots, and bell peppers (Vegan/GF). Or, opt for steamed jasmine rice (Vegan/GF) with Kiawe mango barbecue pork short ribs served with papaya salsa (GF) and island-baked coconut dinner rolls served with butter (Vegetarian). Your dessert is a cheesecake with a local Lilikoi glaze (Vegetarian). Keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and seasonal humpback whales throughout the evening. Enjoy live music from some of the Big Island's best entertainers performing slack-key Hawaiian Style music. Catch the sunset on the water and make sure to look for the famous Green Flash, a fleeting glimmer of intense emerald light that appears on the horizon just after sunset. Other highlights include the Ahu’ena Heiau, the Holua Slide, and the famous Kuamo’o Battlefield, just to name a few.

From Keauhou Bay: Snorkel Cruise to Captain Cook's Monument

8. From Keauhou Bay: Snorkel Cruise to Captain Cook's Monument

Embark on an unforgettable day at sea from Keauhou Bay to Captain Cook's Monument on a guided Yacht trip. Enjoy scenic views of the Kona coast as you sail and indulge in tasty light snacks and tropical fruit juice. Meet your guide at the Keauhou Bay Pier. Hop aboard, relax and enjoy the ride. Cruise past rock formations, stop at beautiful coves, and soak in the views. Set sail along the beautiful Kona coast on a trip from Keauhou Bay, marvel at the ancient Kealakekua Bay, and see the Captain Cook Monument. Splash into the clear waters to swim, snorkel, or sunbathe onboard. Spot the colorful fish underneath the water, and take photos with your marine camera of the dolphins and other marine life. Enjoy site briefings and snorkeling tips from the crew members. Life jackets, floatation noodles, viewfinder boards, masks, fins, and snorkels are provided. Energize yourself with fruits and tropical juice. The crew will help you enter and exit the water if needed and will provide fish identification cards. They will even take you on a guided snorkeling tour.

From Kona: Big Island Underwater Submarine Adventure

9. From Kona: Big Island Underwater Submarine Adventure

Take the ride of a lifetime beneath the waves in this adventure aboard a comfortable submarine. Explore a 25-acre magical world of marine life and colorful coral reefs. Get up close and personal with some of Hawaii's most exotic inhabitants. Descend more than 100 feet and see the sights from a fish-eye view. Board the famous submarine via a special ladder and get ready for a journey to the center of Hawaiian sea life. Marvel at the flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Enjoy free public parking in downtown Kona or at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel for a discounted rate for 4 hours. The excursion is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, weather permitting. Actual underwater time is 45 minutes.

Kailua-Kona: Whale Watching Cruise

10. Kailua-Kona: Whale Watching Cruise

Hawaii is the only state in the United States where humpback whales mate, calve and nurse their young. Humpbacks may find Hawaii suitable because of the warm waters, the underwater visibility, the variety of ocean depths and the lack of natural predators. Mothers can be seen breaching alongside their calves and males can be seen competing with one another for females in fierce head-to-head battles. Join a 2.5-hour cruise as you follow these magnificent sea creatures and listen to their singing using the underwater hydrophones. Snacks and beverages will be available during your cruise providing a unique and memorable experience for the whole family.

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What people are saying about Kailua-Kona

Simon and his crew were amazing! Was kind of scared to do this, but they were helpful, funny, kind & amazing! They made all my nerves chill & helped me have a blast! 100/100 would recommend! The manta rays were so cool & huge! One touched me on its way under the light! For anyone who thinks they might not like this or are iffy about doing it, do NOT hesitate! This is so far by far, the most amazing activity on our trip! Wish we could do it again during this trip!

We had an amazing time on this trip. Every part of it was really cool. Our guide, Rob, was the best. We learned so much about the island’s history, culture, current issues, and interesting facts. The whole trip was very comfortable with just the right amount of bathroom stops, snacks, water, yummy food. We never felt rushed. And we saw the most epic views of Kīlauea’s bubbling lava with millions of stars and the Milky Way. It was remarkable.

Amazing!!! This was a fabulous experience! The MantaRays were so amazing! They swam right by us, touching us a few times. It really was an incredible experience. Everyone was so professional, kind, knowledgeable and helpful! Wonderful crew!

The staff is over the top Friendly!!!!! They were not only fun but quick to be attentive to anything we needed. A+ rating for me and my husband.

Loved this relaxing dinner cruise! Just a fun way to hear a little island history.