One of the best ways to see any of the Hawaiian islands is from the water. Getting that view from a kayak is easier than you might think, even for first-timers. It is possible to rent kayaks on the spur of the moment near many beaches. However, you may want to book in advance for three reasons.
First, the two major kayak companies in Kailua (Oahu) both offer packages and discounts for using their website or calling ahead. You may get a better price than waiting until you arrive, and you can discuss the various options. You may decide to spend an entire day or only part of one. Most packages include pick up at Waikiki hotels around 8 am and a return from 2-3 pm, and provide you with a lunch to eat on the beach. The prices range from $70 (self guided) to $125 (guided) for adults. Children as young as three may also participate.
The second reason to book ahead: arranging your schedule. The kayak companies encourage you to book the outing for early in your stay, so that if the weather is not good it can be re-scheduled. The temperatures in Hawaii are great for kayaking year-round and the water is never too cold to enjoy. However, some days are rainy or too windy. You may want to book a kayak day and then a flexible day later in the week. Also, if you do spend the day kayaking, you’ll probably be tired – don’t plan another event for that evening unless it’s a quiet dinner or a relaxing massage (one of the kayak packages comes with a massage following!)
And third: looking at what the tours provide can be a reminder of what you need to pack, or can safely leave behind. Hats, sunscreen, waterproof cameras, dry bags and so forth are available on site. If you already have these items (and space in your luggage), bring them along. If you’re going to buy them anyway, wait until you get here – you will know your purchase is suitable and you can use it for the rest of your stay. You will need comfortable swimwear and shoes or sandals appropriate for walking on rocks, which you’ll want to bring along.