If you love aquatic adventures, a cruise to Hawaii is your dream come true! Paddle out to catch legendary waves, dive beneath pristine seas, and zip across the deep blue surface on a jet ski, plus so much more. You can try the best water sports in Hawaii while your cruise ship is docked at the exotic ports of Honolulu, Maui, Hilo, Kona and Kauai.
Ready to take the plunge? Here are eight must-try watersports in Hawaii.
1. Discover Underwater Worlds: Scuba Diving
With year-round warm water, Hawaii is one of the world’s most popular destinations for diving. It’s not just the balmy temperatures that attract deep-sea enthusiasts though. The marine life in Hawaii is nothing short of dazzling, with spotted eagle rays, green sea turtles, and kaleidoscopic fish to discover.
The crescent-shaped island of Molokini is located just off the coast of Maui. It’s a designated Marine Life Conservation District and Bird Sanctuary, making it a mecca for scuba divers. For experienced divers, Kauai offers thrilling sites to explore lava tubes and mysterious caves. Kona is popular for dive sites too, especially to spot graceful, giant manta rays.
2. Meet Marine Life: Snorkeling
You don’t have to dive deep to enjoy Hawaii’s vibrant reef ecosystems, including those surrounding the popular Molokini Crater. Sheltered bays and calm, clear waters offer ideal snorkeling conditions for the whole family. When you embark on a Molokini & Turtle Town Zodiac Snorkel Adventure, you’ll discover the crater in a small group for a unique underwater view. Then, you’ll swim with an abundance of green sea turtles.
Along the coast of Kona, a Captain Zodiac Snorkel Adventure puts you in the heart of sparkling Kealakekua Bay. First, you’ll get up close to sea caves and lava tubes, from the comfort of a high-speed, 24-foot Zodiac raft. Next, you’ll plunge into the turquoise sea to snorkel in the marine sanctuary, which is home to spinner dolphins, parrotfish, yellow tangs and spectacular multicolored corals.
3. Paddle in Paradise: Kayaking
For Hawaii water activities above surface, paddling across the glittering water in a kayak is a fun choice. Use your arm power to get some exercise while you enjoy the sights, if you wish. Or, simply relax, float and admire jungle-clad coastlines and schools of tropical fish flitting beneath your kayak.
On a Hilo Bay Kayak & Waterfall Adventure, you’ll launch your kayak from a black sand beach that’s close to the cruise ship dock. After a short, relaxing paddle, you’ll reach the famed Wailuku River to glide under the Singing Bridge and visit a waterfall to cool off in the mist.
4. Set Your Speed: Jet Skiing
Do you feel the need for speed? Before or after your cruise, it’s a great idea to extend your vacation to explore more of Honolulu. Best of all, it’s a fantastic place to hop on a jet ski and zip around to your heart’s content!
Discover the waters of Maunalua Bay and Keehi Lagoon in a way that offers top thrills per minute. Or test your skills against your friends on an aquatic race course. For beginners, you’ll also find calm-water areas and lessons readily available.
5. Ride the Waves: Surfing & Skimboarding
Hawaiian watersports are defined by riding the waves, as Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. It’s no surprise then, that the region is also home to some of the best surfing competitions in the world, where you can watch the pros tackle huge swells. Have a go yourself at the top spots of North Shore on Oahu and Honolua Bay on Maui.
No matter which island you visit during your cruise to Hawaii, you’ll be able to learn the basics in order to paddle out and catch your own waves. Waikiki Beach is famous for longboard lessons to get you started. Or try skimboarding to glide across the shallow surface of Hawaii’s famous wave breaks.
6. Take to the Skies: Parasailing
Have you ever wanted to fly? Parasailing gives you the opportunity to feel what it’s like, over the azure waters of Hawaii. Ride tandem or solo and soar high in the sky for panoramic views over Waikiki and Honolulu’s stunning coastline.
Try floating in the air above the Pacific Ocean in Kauai and spot pods of spinner dolphins far below. Most hi-tech boats offer dry takeoffs and landings, however, you can choose to drop into the water during your journey, just to dip your toes in.
7. Skim the Surface: Water Skiing
Do you love to water ski? Perhaps you’d like to try it for the first time across the mirror-like surfaces of protected waters in Hawaii, with a professional instructor to guide you.
Either way, you’ll find plenty of options to pop your skis on, during your vacation. In Kauai, you can ski on the glassy, freshwater surface of the Wailua River. Before or after your cruise, head to Honolulu’s Koko Marina for water ski action.
8. Explore the Seas: Submarine & Catamaran
When you’d rather stay comfortable and dry, why not board a submarine? Atlantis Submarines in Honolulu descend 100 feet underwater, so you can see tropical fish, corals, and even turtles, from the comfort of a spacious, air-conditioned viewing room. If sailing is more your thing, take in island views on a Catamaran Coastal Sail from Maui complete with food, drinks, and the chance to see whales, from December to April.
Whether you’re a professional, a total beginner or a family with children, a cruise to Hawaii puts you right in the heart of premier watersports action. From diving with manta rays to surfing famous waves and kayaking through nature, your only problem will be choosing which excursion to try next!
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.