5 star rating: Highly Recommended 206 Reviews

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  • Address: Kaawaloa Road, Kealakekua Bay 96750, USA
  • Admission: Free
The marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay ranks among Hawaii’s most scenic spots for snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. The beautiful bay, home to spinner dolphins and backed by green mountain slopes, was the site where Captain James Cook landed—and was later killed—on the Big Island in 1779, forever altering the history and culture of the archipelago.

The Basics
Kealakekua Bay is one of the most popular day trips from Kailua-Kona. Most visitors arrive by tour for snorkeling, kayaking, dolphin watching, or learning about the site’s historical significance over a Hawaiian-style meal. The protected waters are often ideal for swimming, often alongside dolphins, tropical fish, and a range of other marine life. Don’t overlook the Captain Cook Monument, a white obelisk commemorating Captain James Cook, who was killed in a skirmish with Native Hawaiians in February 1779.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Kealakekua Bay is a must-visit for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
  • A small park near the beach offers a picnic pavilion, restrooms, and a water fountain.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
  • No lifeguards are on duty in the bay, so swim at your own risk.
  • Most snorkeling tours include all necessary snorkel gear.

How to Get There
Kealakekua Bay sits on the Big Island’s western Kona Coast, within the protected Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. If you don’t have a rental car to drive there yourself, the easiest way to visit is through an organized tour from Kailua-Kona.

When to Get There
Since much of the appeal of Kealakekua Bay lies in its turquoise waters, plan to visit on a warm, sunny day. For the best chance to spot spinner dolphins near the shore, opt for an evening cruise along the Kona Coast.

Kayaking to Kealakekua Bay
Due to the growing popularity of Kealakekua Bay (and the risk that popularity poses to the underwater ecosystem), kayakers wishing to land boats along the shoreline have to get a permit ahead of time. Most guided kayak tours and kayak rentals already include the necessary permits, but it’s a good idea to check.

Tours & Tickets

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COMBO: Kealakekua Bay and Wild Dolphin Snorkel with Lunch, Big Island of Hawaii, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

COMBO: Kealakekua Bay and Wild Dolphin Snorkel with Lunch

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 27 Reviews

Cruise coastline and explore sea caves and other historical areas where ancient Hawaiians made history and created legends that are still being told to ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $80.00
Kealakekua Bay Deluxe Snorkel Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Kealakekua Bay Deluxe Snorkel Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 35 Reviews

Cruise the Kona Coast and enjoy a morning frolicking in the warm Hawaiian waters. Snorkel equipment is available for use and expert instruction makes the ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $159.74
Snorkel, Kayak and Dolphin Experience in the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay, Big Island of Hawaii, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Snorkel, Kayak and Dolphin Experience in the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay

4.5 star rating: Recommended 51 Reviews

Surround yourself with beautiful scenery, dolphins and the occasional humpback whale as you paddle a kayak in picturesque Kealakekua Bay! This narrated Big ...  Read more

Location: Honalo, Hawaii
Duration: Flexible

From USD $99.79
Historical Dinner or Lunch Cruise to Kealakekua Bay, Big Island of Hawaii, Kayaking & Canoeing
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Historical Dinner or Lunch Cruise to Kealakekua Bay

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 38 Reviews

Set sail for a 3-hour cruise to Captain Cook’s Monument for dinner, as a local historian shares stories and legends of the sites you will see along the way. ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $137.63
Dolphin Encounter and Kealakekua Bay Reef Snorkel, Big Island of Hawaii, Lunch Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Dolphin Encounter and Kealakekua Bay Reef Snorkel

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

COMBO TRIP: Swim with wild Dolphins and snorkel at Kealakekua Bay!    On this four hour excursion, you will travel to a beautiful marine sanctuary, ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.66
Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Zodiac Raft and Snorkel Adventure

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 48 Reviews

Skim across the waves on an exciting Big Island Zodiac tour to Kealakekua Bay, site of the Captain Cook monument and Hawaii's finest marine sanctuary. Snorkel ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: Flexible

From USD $120.00
Hawaii Combo: Wild Dolphin Swim and Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling, Big Island of Hawaii, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Hawaii Combo: Wild Dolphin Swim and Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 13 Reviews

Pods of potentially hundreds of Hawaiian spinner dolphins can be found off of the Kona Coast regularly. They live up to their name by jumping on every side of ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $158.61
Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Cruise, Big Island of Hawaii, Swim with Dolphins
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 17 Reviews

Experience the beauty of the Kona Coast at picturesque Kealakekua Bay on an afternoon snorkel cruise. With equipment onboard and expert instruction available, ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $98.05
Wild Dolphins and Reef Snorkel Kealakekua Bay, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Wild Dolphins and Reef Snorkel Kealakekua Bay

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Snorkel and observe sea turtles and spinner dolphins at Kealakekua Bay during this half-day boat excursion from Kailua-Kona. A professional captain and crew ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $129.00
Kealakekua Bay Snorkel and Wild Dolphin Swim, Big Island of Hawaii, Snorkeling
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Kealakekua Bay Snorkel and Wild Dolphin Swim

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

This dolphin swim excursion takes you to sea in a super safe Willard Navy Seals boats to swim in areas known for wild spinner dolphins, to experience their ...  Read more

Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $170.00

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