The 10 Best Boat Tours in Hawaii!

All aboard for a specialty boat tour taking you to see Hawaii’s natural marine wonders. Many of these excellent tours are guided by naturalists, marine scientists, and Hawaiian locals to ensure that you’ll have an authentic, educational, and fun experience. Snorkel and get up close to marine wildlife or enjoy some of the most breathtaking sightseeing in the world. Either way, you’ll be impressed by the 10 best boat tours in Hawaii.  

1. Lava Ocean Tours, Hilo, HI

Take advantage of two different boat tour options with Lava Ocean tours: the Lava Boat Tour and the Hawaii Waterfall & Dolphin Tour. Both tours offer incredible Hawaiian experiences but are completely different. The Lava Boat Tour brings you to see lava touching the ocean, and the Hawaii Waterfront & Dolphin tour takes you to see waterfalls, whales, flying fish, dolphins, and more.

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2. Kona Bay Charter Co., Kailua Kona, HI

All aboard the Marian, the small ship with a glass bottom allowing you to see aquatic animals swimming above the reef. Tours include descriptions and information provided by a naturalist, so you’ll know exactly what organisms you’re looking at. This safe, family-friendly adventure is eco-friendly, educational, and reasonably priced.

3. Captain Zodiac Raft Expeditions, Kailua Kona, HI

These high-adrenalin tours are led by naturalists and marine scientists, so while you’re cruising along Hawaii’s coastline, you’ll learn about awesome marine organisms such as whales, sea turtles, dolphins, and coral reefs. You’ll also learn about and see special ecosystems and geological formations such as sea caves, lava flows, rock archways, blow holes, and more.

4. Atlantis Adventures, Honolulu, HI

Dive beneath the surface of the ocean in a high-tech recreational submarine meant solely for observing marine life. This incredible, once in a lifetime experience offers a comfortable way for anyone to see fish, coral, and crustaceans by descending safely to 100 feet underwater and cruising along Hawaii’s shores. Note that one of the tours also offers one live tour per day in Japanese and all tours offer audio headsets in your choice of five languages.

5. Liquid Hawaii, Puako, HI

Enjoy a whale watching tour to see humpback whales during their migration from January to March. This whale watching tour runs for three hours and allows you to see humpback whales gracefully gliding through the water, with their tales occasionally coming above surface. Liquid Hawaii only takes a maximum of six guests, which allows for a more private experience and better photo ops than larger whale tours.

6. Kalarana Cultural Tours, Pahoa, HI

Kalarana Cultural Tours takes adventurers ages 10 to 65 on a U.S. Coast Guard approved passenger boat to see lava flowing into the ocean. Two tours are available daily—departures at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.—and focus on education about volcanoes, lava, and cultural information about the role of lava and volcanoes to Hawaiians. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Hawaiian lava goddess, including stories.

7. Hang Loose Boat Tours, Kailua Kona, HI

The four-hour tour run by Hang Loose Boat Tours takes you along the coast of the Big Island to see the beautiful scenery while learning about the history and legends of the area passing by. You might see sea caves, dolphins, and other wildlife during this tour, and you’ll even have the chance to snorkel in and around Kealakekua Bay. Finally, you’ll enjoy lunch at the harbor before the tour ends.

8. Adventure X Boat Tours, Puako, HI

Adventure X Boat Tours aims to protect the ocean ecosystem with lifestyle practices and education. Numerous boat and snorkeling tours are offered through Adventure X Boat Tours with the most popular being the Morning Dolphin Swim and Turtle Excursion. This tour allows you to see spinner dolphins and teaches you how to respectfully observe them.  This tour also includes snorkeling where you might see turtles, coral, and more. In addition, you’ll enjoy locally produced organic meals and snacks during and following the tour.

9. Holokai Catamaran, Honolulu, HI

Whether you depart in the morning, midday, or in the evening, you’ll have the chance to enjoy fabulous tours and snorkeling excursions with Holokai Catamaran. Boat tours vary depending on the time of year, but generally, in the summer you’ll be treated to sea turtle and dolphin sightings, and in the winter, you’ll spot whales. These family-friendly outings provide reef safe sunscreen, safety gear, snacks, and snorkeling gear.

10. Glass Bottom Boats, Honolulu, HI

See the diversity in the Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii without needing to snorkel or scuba dive with Glass Bottom Boats. On this boat tour, you’ll cruise on a 50-foot catamaran called the Haleiwa Queen, which has a glass bottom from which you can observe tropical fish swimming among the coral reefs, and you’ll even pass over a shipwreck. Glass Bottom Boats offers both afternoon and sunset cruises.

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