Waves lap against the sand at Poka‘i Bay in Wai‘anae, Oahu.

O‘ahu Leeward Surf Spots

Much of the surf on the leeward side breaks over sharp and shallow reef, making it best suited for expert surfers. Scaling rocks and reef to enter and exit the water can be a challenge for newcomers, and the locals are quite territorial when it comes to their surf breaks. Still, with the right attitude, there’s definitely a wave to be had on the leeward coast.

O‘ahu’s leeward coast is a snorkeler’s dream come true.

Leeward O‘ahu Snorkeling and Diving

When the surf is flat and the ocean is calm, O‘ahu’s leeward coast is a underwater dream come true: anywhere you can get into the water is a good snorkel spot, and divers enjoy countless reefs, wrecks, and rock formations to explore. Hit up a rental shop or outfitter and jump in!

The Kohala Coast from a stand-up paddleboard.

Water Sports in Kohala on the Big Island

Activity fees and rentals for water sports in Kohala tend to be higher when purchased through hotels; you’d be better off to go directly to the source to get a better price. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about locales and outfitters to plan a day in the water.

A paddleboarder sets off from Lahaina.

Stand-Up Paddling in West Maui

Stand-up paddling in West Maui ranges from perfectly laid-back to vastly more challenging, depending on the area. Either way, there’s plenty of opportunity to get in the water, and there are a decent number of rental shops for gear and a few schools for lessons and guided excursions.

For a great cardio workout and 360-degree views of the southeast shore, the Koko Crater Trail is a daunting 1,048 steps up the south side of Koko Crater.

Hiking and Biking on O‘ahu’s Windward Side

While hiking on O‘ahu’s windward side is limited, the few options available cover the range from a workout to a moderate hike to a simple stroll; you’ll find the scenery for each hike is fairly unique, too. Biking is equally limited, with cyclists confined mostly to roadways and a few trails, but since Kailua is a very bike-friendly town, that won’t be a problem for most.

Aerial view of Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

Snorkeling Charters from Ma‘alaea Bay

If you want to snorkel the amazing underwater world of Molokini Crater, you’ll need to charter a boat from Ma‘alaea Bay. You’ll have plenty of choice in your experience, from low to high-priced trips, snorkeling or snuba, sailing or power catamarans, and excursions that incorporate other good snorkeling sites.

Bathed in the scent of eucalyptus and pine, the “topside” of central Moloka‘i is where you truly feel as if you’re in the mountains.

Moloka‘i’s Hiking Trails

Even for Maui locals, the hiking trails of Moloka‘i are shrouded in mystery. Often the trails require either four-wheel drive access or permission from private landowners, although there are still a number that are accessible to the public. You’re rewarded for your effort with sweeping views of the entire island.