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Napoopoo Beach Park

The shoreline is rocky with only a sliver of beach but don't let that deter you—this is a popular and historically significant park. Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii here in 1778 to refurbish his ships. When he returned a year later, he was killed in a skirmish with Hawaiians, now marked by a monument on the north end of Kealakekua Bay. The area is surrounded by high green cliffs, creating calm conditions for superb swimming, snorkeling, and diving. You'll see a variety of marine life here, including colorful reef fish, corals, and, most likely, dolphins. The trails behind the shore, leading to Hikiau Heiau, are rocky but walkable. Parking is limited. Be aware of the off-limits area (in case of rockfalls) marked by orange buoys. Amenities: parking (no fee); toilets. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.

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