Kealakekua Bay, home of the famed Captain Cook Monument, is a premier snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling spot in South Kona. It is the only underwater state park on Hawaii’s Big Island. Kealakekua bay is host to a huge variety of marine life including green sea turtles, manta rays, and Hawaiian spinner dolphins. The water is almost always clear here with visibility ranging up to 100ft!
The Captain Cook Monument, which marks where the explorer Captian James Cook died in 1779, is a popular destination for people visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. There are no paved roads to the monument, so most people kayak or stand up paddle across Kealakekua bay to get to this attraction. There are some very good snorkeling spots around the Captian Cook monument and even a small sandy beach to relax at. You must have a permit in order to beach kayaks here. Permits are free and you can obtain one by clicking this link.
Kayak or stand up paddleing at Kealakekua bay is best done in the early morning hours because the wind can make for a bumpy ride in the afternoon.
To get to Kealakekua Bay, take highway 11 south. There are signs that are clearly posted that will lead you right to the bay. Drive slow going down the winding roads, as this is all residential area. There is a small parking lot at the boat launch where you can put your kayak or stand up paddle board in at. On low tide, getting in and out can be a bit tricky. There are plenty of locals around that will help you with unloading and loading your gear. They are really helpful and appreciate tips.
Facilities at Kealakekua bay include showers, public restrooms, a shaded patio, picnic tables and grills.