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DLNR, Division of State Parks
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, HI 96809

Americas State Parks


Special use permits are required for certain activities including, but not limited to: group use, use of pavilions, meetings, weddings, shows, community events, scientific research, and gathering of forest products. Each special use permit shall be considered on its own merit and must be compatible with the functions and purposes of each individual area.

Special use permit requests must be submitted at least 45 days before the requested date of use. For more information, contact the district office on where the park is located.

Permits can be obtained at any district office of the Division of State Parks with the following exceptions:

Permits are required for groups of 26 or more picnickers or other day users. Permits may be issued for hours between 7:00am and midnight of the same day except for park areas that are normally closed before midnight.

Minors below the age of 18 who stay beyond 7:00pm must have adult supervision of 1 responsible adult for every 10 or fewer minors.

Regardless of group size, permits are required for use of the pavilions at the following park areas:

  • Wailoa River State Recreation Area, Hawai'i
  • Koke'e State Park, Kaua'i
  • Polihale State Park, Kaua'i


In order to access the land at or visit Ka’awaloa Flat (the location of the Captain Cook Monument), visitors have only two options:

1)    Hike from the uplands via the historic Ka’awaloa Trail.
2)    Take a guided kayak tour through one of the three permitted commercial vendors.

Transiting the bay by individuals is allowed so long as the vessel has a valid permit (both private and commercial rental vessels). Permitted vessels are prohibited from landing at Ka’awaloa flat, or launching from Napo’opo’o wharf.  Visitors do NOT need to acquire their own permits when renting a kayak, but must confirm from the vessel owner that the vessel they rent possesses a valid permit for transiting the bay.

In January of 2013, DLNR initiated management activity to improve the quality and sustainability of this heavily visited and significant cultural and natural resource by regulating the use of a variety of vessels in the water and on land at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.

A primary issue for the change in management strategy has been the proliferation and use of unpermitted kayak rentals being conducted at the historic Napo’opo’o wharf and  the subsequent impacts to the adjacent community and the user’s experience and safety, and impacts to cultural resources and subsequent reduction in quality of the resources at Ka’awaloa Flats.

There are currently 3 authorized kayak tour companies that may launch from  the Napo'opo'o wharf and land at Ka'awaloa -  with strict requirements that include site stewardship and the management, containment and subsequent removal of any human waste while at Ka’awaloa Flat.

In the meantime, the Division of State Parks will continue to engage in planning and identify strategies to better manage this significant cultural resource.


Permits are issued Monday through Friday, except State holidays. Permits can be obtained by persons18 years or older. To inquire about permit availability, you may call one of the district offices, M-F, 8am 3:30pm, HST (2-3 hours earlier than the West Coast).

Applications must include the following information:

  1. Name, address, and phone number of applicant. If applicant represents an organization, include the name of the organization and business phone number.
  2. Number of persons in the party.
  3. Type of permit being requested (i.e. group use, scientific research, etc.).
  4. Date, time (for group use and pavilion permits), duration, and place of the proposed event.

Permit applications may be submitted no earlier than 1 year in advance. Applications may be submitted to the Division of State Parks in writing, or at the counter of any district office. A permit will be issued to you at the district office. In the case of mail-in applicants, the permit can be either mailed to you or held at the appropriate district office for pick up. If you would like the permit mailed to you, please include a self addressed, stamped envelope.

The permit and acceptable identification must be brought to the park and shall upon request, be shown to law enforcement officers and other authorized personnel.

The district office must be notified of cancellations prior to the date of the proposed event and the permit must be returned to the district office. Permits are not transferable.



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