Kawaihae is a historic seaside town on Hawai’i Big Island’s western coast. Visit Kawaihae to experience the town’s fine seafood, art galleries, fascinating history and exciting watersports. Embark on a charter boat adventure from Kawaihae Harbor and spot whales or drop a fishing line.
Wander along Kawaihae Harbor’s man-made break wall and watch the surf rolling in on its outer side. This surf beach, known as Pua Ka ‘Ilima ‘o Kawaihae Cultural Surf Park, is a popular spot for visitors and local surfers looking for unrestricted swell on the island’s western side. Walk across the harbor to find Kawaihae Canoe Club and a boat ramp. Rent a canoe and explore the calm waters of the reef-bottomed harbor.
Take a stroll through the town to find a fresh fish market and a selection of restaurants serving regional seafood. Try local poke, a raw seafood salad often made with yellow-fin tuna or octopus. Kawaihae village is filled with fascinating art galleries and local craft stores, where you can find handmade items crafted using traditional and contemporary techniques.
Explore south of the harbor to find Puʻukoholā Heiau, a national historic site where you can find the ruins of an ancient Hawai’ian temple. Public access to the sacred site is not allowed, but you can follow an interpretive trail from the national park visitor center to the border of the site. Kawaihae was the seat of the Kingdom of Hawai’i during the rule of King Alapaʻinuiakauaua. King Kamehameha I later built the temple during his rule in the late 18th century.
Head north along the coast to find Pua Mau Place, a lush botanical garden filled with tropical flowers. Visit the aviary and see beautifully plumed peacocks. Relax in the picnic area and take in gorgeous views of the Kohala coast.
Kawaihae is located approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Kailua-Kona on Hawai’i’s Big Island. Reach Kawaihae by car, charter tour or boat into the harbor.