Best Snorkeling in Hawaii – Our Favorite Places
Hawaii has many great locations to swim with beautiful marine life. Check out my list of places for the Best Snorkeling in Hawaii.
Hanauma Bay is Oahu’s most popular snorkeling destination. The crescent-shaped bay offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Hanauma Bay is home to over 200 species of fish, many found nowhere else in the world. You can drive to the Hanauma Bay in a Hawaii Rental Car or take a shuttle bus. If you want to drive to Hanauma Bay be sure to arrive early. When the parking lot becomes full, no more cars are admitted therefore many people prefer to take a Hanauma Bay Shuttle. The crystal blue water of Hanauma Bay is filled with fish, rays and turtles. The marine life of Hanauma Bay is not afraid of humans therefore you can get up close to the turtles, tropical fish, eels and other sea creatures. Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays for environmental conservation. Click here to read about my morning Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and why it is considered the Best Snorkeling in Hawaii.
Sharks Cove is located on the North Shore of Oahu. This is a great snorkeling spot for experienced snorkelers. The entry can be tough. Snorkeling Sharks Cove is only recommended in the summer when the water is calmer. There are sharp jagged rocks and cliffs that outline the outside of the cove. The bay is lined with coral and rocks that attract marine life. Inside the cove you will find calm waters in the summer. You can see completely down to the bottom along the cliffs. Sharks Cove was mentioned in “SCUBA Diving Magazine” as one of the “10 Best Destinations for Shore Diving.”
If you want to try a twist on snorkeling in Oahu try Swimming with Wild Dolphins.
Molokini is Maui’s prime snorkeling location. Molokini is a crescent moon-shaped islet that is actually an extinct volcanic crater. Molokini is located about 2.5 miles off Maui’s south shore. Molokini boasts 250 species of fish. The pristine waters have excellent viewing – up to 150 feet. It is also known as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Hawaii Discount offers a variety of Maui Snorkel Tours that go to Molokini.
Turtle Arches is located off Makena. Turtle Arches is known for its underwater lava arches and friendly green sea turtles.
Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua Beach, is one of the best Kauai Snorkel Locations. It has something for everyone. The shallow inner reef of Tunnels is great for beginner snorkelers. Advanced divers and snorkelers enjoy exploring the tunnels and caverns of the outer reef. The reef is so big it can be seen from space! Some say Tunnels Beach got its name from the tunnels and arches in the reef. Others say is got its name from the tunnel shaped waves.
Poipu Beach offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii for a variety of reasons. Poipu Beach has a variety of wildlife. You can snorkel with a variety of fish after a easy entry from the beach into the water. You will probably even see Green Sea Turtles in the surf. Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals are often seen taking a nap on Poipu Beach. Poipu Beach is a great beach for the entire family.
Kealakekua Bay – Captain Cook Monument
Kealakekua Bay is home to the famous Captain Cook Monument. This Big Island location is known for the best snorkeling in Hawaii. It is an underwater marine sanctuary filled with coral, tropical fish, dolphins and sea turtles. Kealakekua Bay is located about 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona. One of the best ways to experience Kealakekau Bay is with Big Island Snorkeling Tours. Read about my Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling Trip with Captain Zodiac.
Kahaluu Beach Park
Kahaluu Beach Park is a tiny sheltered cove in the town of Kailua Kona. It offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii because of its convenient location and its large tame fish population. Kahaluu Beach is also famous for sea turtles. Most days you will see several green sea turtles swimming or sunning at Kahaluu Beach.
Check out our video Best Snorkeling in Hawaii:
Where are your favorite places to snorkel in Hawaii?