Up to 19 passengers sit comfortably on North Shore Catamaran Charters' 40-foot sailing vessel, the Ho’O Nanea, which Captain Don Germain steers along Oahu’s scenic shores. The catamaran’s name means “to pass the time in ease and comfort,” an apt phrase, as guests will find the day quickly and serenely passes when they’re onboard. North Shore can charter the boat for snorkeling adventures in Waimea Bay or for romantic BYOB sunset sails.
Hawaii’s lush beauty is too abundant to be experienced solely on foot, which is why Botanical World offers up-close-and-personal views of the Big Island's meticulously kept botanical gardens with services including ziplines and Segway tours. Segway riders speed past swaths of exotic plants, trees, and scenic waterfalls as they explore the garden's meandering pathways during self-guided or guide-guided tours. Elevated zipline trips, meanwhile, send guests soaring over the Hanapueo Streams falls, showing off trees’ receding hairlines as well as stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Mauna Kea volcano.
Elsewhere in the garden, guests can explore the arboretum, which houses a sampling of Hawaii's vast array of trees, whereas the paved quarter-mile Rainbow Walk contains a cactus garden, perennial plants, and a wall of orchids. Adventurous young ones can attempt to navigate the world's second-largest permanently-planted maze, covering a space as large as a football field.
The staff at Sea & Board Sports Hawaii honors its island ancestry by using only Hawaiian-designed boards, which they can customize for those desiring a one-of-a-kind deck pad. Handy board mechanics tend to tarnished planks as sea-faring adventurers browse the store’s voluminous selection of accessories, which ranges from paddles and leashes to athletic-grade peg legs. Proud locals bring their love and knowledge of Oahu’s shorelines to Sea & Board’s lessons, during which students learn balance and paddling techniques as spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and whales lazily drift beneath the ocean’s crystalline waves.
From the pristine beaches of Waikiki, Diamond Head, or North Shore, instructors with CPR and lifeguard certification lead students into Go Nuts Hawaii's open-water surf lessons. Privately or in groups, students find their sea legs atop long boards that can be rented or bought onsite; alternatively, they can skim the water buoyed by the shop’s standup paddleboards. Waterproof accessories add a technological edge to voyages and range from cameras for aquatic action shots to waterproof headphones for drowning out mermaids loudly counting their pirate gold. The company's helpful staffers—including one Japanese-speaking member—put customers and surf students at ease.
Like the sea turtles she swims with daily, Vanessa Floyd feels as comfortable in the ocean as she does on land. For nearly a decade, she has taught people how to surf the waves of the Pacific beside the chilly California coast and the warm sands of Hawaiian shores at her pair of Jetty Betty Surf School locations. She focuses on helping beginners overcome their fear of the water and enjoy the rush of riding the surf beneath the open sun. She and her fellow instructors begin their group and private lessons by meeting students at the beach, where they familiarize them with the equipment and the basics of safe surfing. Afterwards, students take to the waves, which instructors monitor to make sure they are suitably small for novice surfers—if not, they’ll either postpone the lesson or unplug Mother Nature's wave machine.
Natural bamboo and wood fences surround the miniature fairways of Jungle River Mini Golf, whose aptly named course pits putters against a slew of jungle-themed obstacles. Like rainforest explorers, groups of golfers hack through the wild landscape, forgoing machetes for colorful putters or spring-loaded spatulas sized to accommodate guests of all ages. Monkeypod trees, palms, crotons, and banana plants drape over the course, framing many attractions including sculptures of friendly gorillas and dinosaurs emerging from tar pits. The course also features large bridges and waterfalls that meander throughout to create sharp turns and contoured greens.