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Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park


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Quick Facts

  • Name: Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
  • What: State Historic Park, Captain Cook Monument
  • Where: 19 kilometres south of Kailua-Kona


Located about 19 kilometres south of Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) in south Kona, Kealakekua Bay is a Marine Life Conservation District perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking. The bay's brilliant waters are filled with coral and schools of tropical fish. On occasion, you can even see spinner dolphins swimming in the bay. If you want to stay dry, there is a picnic area to relax and enjoy this historic spot. 

Kealakekua Bay is an important historic location because it marks the site where the first westerner, Captain James Cook, landed on Hawaii’s Big Island. Cook was the first British explorer to establish contact with the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 on Kauai. Only a year later, he was killed in a skirmish with native Hawaiians right here in Kealakekua Bay. A white obelisk on the shore of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park memorialises his death. On the east side of the bay there is also the Hikiau heiau (sacred temple) dedicated to the Hawaiian god, Lono.

Note: As of January 2, 2013, the State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has implemented an indefinite moratorium at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park limiting the type of water activity in the area while improvements are made to the management, quality, and sustainability of the popular natural and cultural resource.

Permitted snorkel/sail tour companies will continue to operate in the bay during this time, the moratorium will prohibit the use of, launching, transiting, beaching or landing of kayaks and other vessels from Napoopoo, within the waters of Kealakekua Bay, and at Kaawaloa Flats.

Click here to download a pdf of DLNR’s news release.