Are you heading to the beautiful Island of Oahu Hawaii? Are you thinking about snorkeling in Oahu while you are there?
Well guess what?! We made it our mission on our last trip to check out all the most amazing snorkeling spots on the island! It was so much fun!
I love Hawaii so much! Snorkeling in Oahu was such a blast. If you need a beginners guide to snorkeling in Hawaii, this post is will help you know exactly where the best spots are.
I highly recommend checking out my list of the best places for snorkeling in Oahu. Let’s get started!
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Snorkeling At Shark's Cove
Shark Cove is part of Pupukea Beach Park, and is located on the Northshore of the island.
Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove is worth the trip! I couldn’t believe how many fish were in this area. Pupukea Beach Park is a marine life conservation area so there are so many fish to see!
Shark’s Cove is a calm area in the Summer but in the Winter months there are storms that come in hard and snorkeling may not be possible here.
Snorkel Gear Rental
Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove does not have an entrance fee. We purchased our own snorkeling gear, but if you need to rent snorkel equipment there is a store located across the street where you can.
Safety Tips for Shark’s Cove
This is a high theft area (so we have been told). We actually were really nervous, there was a man that was staring at me and it freaked me out. It was like he was on drugs and had a very evil eye.
My husband decided to stay on the shore while I went in to make sure he didn’t steal anything. We then switched places but it was getting late and we didn’t want to be the only ones in the area.
Despite the crazy guy, this makes the list for the best places for snorkeling in Oahu!
Shark’s cove is not like Hanauma Bay. (which is a paid snorkeling area) It is more like pulling over on the side of the road and hitting the ocean. Although, there are showers and restroom facilitates available at this site.
Turtle Bay Snorkeling (Kuilima Cove)
Snorkeling at Turtle Bay was amazing! Turtle Bay is a resort on the Northshore of Oahu. This enormous resort will not disappoint!
One thing some people do not know is that there is a public beach located right next to the property. This cove is named Kuilima Cove. Snorkeling at Kuilima Cove is a great place to learn because it is protected from incoming waves.
There are schools and more schools of fish. Most likely you will see a sea turtle or even an ell. We were able to see hundreds of fish. Summer months may be better as the north shore has more waves coming in the winter. The beach itself is small but it is very lovely.
We were able to go in the early morning and have the whole place to ourselves!
Renting Snorkeling Equipment at Turtle Bay
If you are staying on the resort snorkeling equipment is free. We bought our own gear at Sam’s Club before getting to Hawaii which we thought was well worth the investment. Not only did we snorkel at Turtle Bay but at many more locations in Oahu.
The closest place to rent snorkeling equipment may be at Shark’s Cove. Maybe you could hit two spots in one day if you decide to rent your snorkeling equipment!
How much time should I spend Snorkeling at Turtle Bay?
We spent about 1-2 hours here. I would allocate at least that amount of time to this area. If you are staying at Turtle Bay than you could spend a lot more time. Relaxing on the beach and snorkeling could consume your whole day if you wanted it to!
Parking at Turtle Bay
There are a very few free public parking spaces dedicated for Kuilima Cove. We went very early in the morning and were able to get a spot but by the time we left majority of the spots were full. I would arrive early to secure your spot.
Snorkeling in Oahu does have some challenges and parking is one of them. We found that if we went early in the morning or later in the afternoon we were able to easily get a spot.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is located in Oahu, Hawaii. It is about 10 miles from the famous Waikiki Beach.
Hanauma Bay is a volcanic crater that has been formed into a natural pool. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is one of the best spots on the very popular Hawaiian island of Ohau. The water really is as blue as the picture (no filter).
Over three thousand people each day get the opportunity to swim with the marine life in the bay. This area is a protected, and educates participants on preserving wildlife to all those that will enter Hanauma Bay.
Entry Fee at Hanauma Bay
Snorkel Gear and Gift Shop at Hanauma Bay
There is snorkel gear available to rent onsite. Also, you will find a gift shop that has souvenirs and items you may have forgotten (for example, sunscreen). After you enter and pay, you are guided to a room to watch a video on the history of Hanauma Bay and how to protect the coral and fishes that call it home.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
I highly recommend adding Hanauma Bay to your Hawaii itinerary. You will not regret it! We really loved it! This was one of our favorite places for snorkeling in Oahu! You may want to consider getting the Go Oahu Card as Hanauma Bay is included in the price.
Kahe Point (Beach Park) Snorkeling
Kahe Point is located on the west side of Oahu. It is also known as electric beach because it is near a powerplant. The power plant releases clean warm water into the ocean which attracts an immense amount of sea life.
Snorkeling at Kahe Point
Snorkeling at Kahe Point is a intermediate to advanced level. You will have to swim out pretty far to avoid the crashing of the waves. Once you are out you will not be disappointed. Head to the opening of the pipes and that is where your adventure begins.
If you are a beginner snorkeler don’t be discouraged there are snorkel tour groups for Kahe Point.
What to Expect When Snorkeling at Electric Beach
The water is going to be so clear that you can see everything. You will see lots of sea life around the pipes. Another thing that makes Kahe Point amazing is that spinner dolphins love the warmer temperatures from the power plant and spend their days feeding their young in this area.
There will be many charter boats near by looking at the dolphins. You will be able to see them and hear them up close and personal!
Parking at Kahe Point
There is a parking lot across the street. You should be able to find a parking spot so no need to stress! This is a free park with no admission fee.
Snorkeling at Kahe Point should be on your list no matter what your snorkeling ability.
Snorkeling at Kaena Point State Park
Kaena Point State Park is located on the western most tip of the island. A small hike (2.7 miles) is required to access the park. The park itself has many activities such as fishing, tide pool observing, hiking, and of course snorkeling.
Snorkeling at Kaena Point
Please check the park website before you set out on this adventure. Swimming in this area can be rough on certain days and the website will tell you if it is safe.
If you do have the chance to get to this area you will be surprised at the lack of people. There are miles of beautiful beaches with limited amounts of people. The main reason is because there are no roads that connect to this area.
The water is clear but you may not see as many fish in this area as some of the other Oahu snorkeling sites. Dolphins have been spotted around Kaena Point so be on the look out! Overall, the limited crowds make this spot worth checking out plus there are lots of other enjoyable activities to do as well.
Snorkeling in Oahu!
Snorkeling in Oahu made our vacation so amazing! Out of all of the spots we hit, my favorite was Turtle Bay. We were able to see the most fish and creatures in this area. It actually made me want to stay at Turtle Bay the next time we visit. Snorkeling should make your Oahu bucket list for sure!
I honestly think it is worth purchasing your own snorkel gear before you head to Hawaii. It may take up more room in your luggage but it will save you money and time if you are planning on snorkeling more than one time.
If you are looking for a more detailed One Week in Oahu Itinerary or are planning to island hop to Maui check out my amazing road of death adventure and my One Day in Maui Itinerary. If you are looking to do a little more research before you go, National Geographic has a great book about Hawaii.
Leave a Comment Below if You Know of Other Great Places for Snorkeling in Oahu!
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