Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
The Big Island
Every day 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Considered one of the best spot in the South Kona district for snorkeling and kayaking, Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park is a highly frequented attraction for tourists. Driving to the Bay takes visitors down windy, scenic Napoopoo road past coffee farms and stores, local fruit stands and with an incredible view of the Bay. Reaching the bottom of the road, a right hand turn leads past a handful of oceanfront rental and to the scenic lookout and Napoopoo beach of the State Park. The spectacular scene displays the cliff side of Kaawaloa and a view of the Captain Cook monument. The site is dedicated to the first western sailor to discover Hawaii, British Captain James Cook, on the location where he landed in 1778. The monument is accessible by kayak or tour and is an important archeological site with a fragile and brilliant reef. Napoopoo beach is a very rocky beach and is a popular place to spot for local body boarders. It can have strong, dangerous currents during stormy conditions, but with calm waters is great for snorkeling.
The Hikiau heiau (sacred temple) sits slightly uphill from the beach and is sacred to the Hawaiian people and should be treated with respect. The State Park is part of the Kealakekua Bay Marine Life Conservation District and is home to a variety of sea life. Naia or Spinner Dolphins rest in the bay and it used as a nursery for mothers and calves. As part of the general rules the Conservation District asks that swimmers give the dolphins space, at least 50 yards, and do not touch, approach, swim or chase them as it could be harmful to their health and interfere with their ability to catch prey, nurse and care for their young. Aside for dolphins, another peak under water will show a colorful landscape of coral, urchins and vibrant fish. Some creatures snorkels can expect to see include Sea Cucumbers, Goatfish, Yellow Acorn worms, Red Slate pencil urchins, corral turrets; as well as Butterfly fish, Yellow Longnose Butterfly fish, Yellow Tang and Whitemouth Moray eels.
The park is equipped with a parking area, public restrooms, informational signage, picnic tables and a drinking fountain. There is a pavilion on site where classes are held and many local families hold parties and receptions. On some days and in classic Hawaiian style, local ladies can be found selling aloha wear, puka shell necklaces, beads, bags, snacks and water out of an old wooden shack. However, they are on Hawaiian time, which means they have no schedule and may not be there. Heading straight off of Napoopoo road leads into Napoopoo Landing and the loading docks for kayakers. Marine Life Conservation signs are displayed to help remind kayakers of the delicate marine life they are about to explore. The area that surrounds the Landing is part of a subzone that restricts certain fishing practices, however fishing with a hook and line or throw net is allowed.
On any given day there is always a handful of locals sitting around and talking story at the picnic tables or at their cars and more than willing to answer questions about the beauty of their home at Kealakekua Bay.
Napoopoo Road or Puuhonoa Road off of Mamalahoa Highway
Bathrooms | Fishing | Parking | Paved Parking | Picnic Area | Picnic Tables | Shady Areas | Snorkeling | Swimming Areas | Kid Friendly | Restrooms | Walking Trails
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San Juan Islands