Are you looking for the best places to snorkel in Oahu? Thinking about an Oahu snorkeling adventure?
Well, guess what?! We made it our mission on our last trip to check out all the best snorkel spots on Oahu! It was so much fun!
I love Hawaii so much! Snorkeling on Oahu was such a blast. There are so many great snorkeling spots on Oahu to keep you busy for days!
In this post, we will be exploring the best snorkel spots on Oahu: where they are located, what to expect, and why they are the best places to go snorkeling in Oahu.
I will also share my opinion, of what I thought the best place to snorkel in Oahu was!
Let’s get started, and explore all the best places to snorkel in Oahu!
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What To Bring on Your Oahu Snorkel Adventure
Before you hit the best snorkel spots on Oahu make sure to pack a good beach bag. If you are wondering what to pack for a Hawaii snorkel adventure I have you covered. The following items are essential for snorkeling. You can easily click on the link below and get whatever you need for your trip.
Beginner Snorkeling Oahu Questions
Have you ever been snorkeling? No matter what level you are at beginner, intermediate, or advanced this post is right for you. Let’s answer some basic questions you might have about snorkeling in Oahu.
Are There Good Places to Snorkel on Oahu?
Yes, Hawaii is paradise and there are great locations full of coral and tropical fish. I can’t wait to tell you all about the best snorkel spots on Oahu!!
Can I Snorkel for Free on Oahu?
Yes, most of the snorkel spots on Oahu I am about to share with you are absolutely free. Hanauma Bay is the exception.
Is Snorkeling Hard?
Snorkeling takes a little practice. This beginner guide on snorkeling can help prepare you. Towards the end of this post, I will give you a few tips to make it easier so that you feel confident with snorkeling in Oahu.
Is Snorkeling a Good Activity For Kids?
Maybe. If you practice before your trip, your kids may be able to pick it up. It is really hard for little kids to master.
The Best Places to Snorkel in Oahu
Are you ready to explore the best places to snorkel in Oahu? The following snorkel spots on Oahu are all popular and no matter where you decide to go you are going to have so much fun!
Let’s get started!
1. Sharks Cove Snorkeling
Location: Pupukea Beach Park
Address: 59-711 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI
Shark’s Cove is part of Pupukea Beach Park and is located on the North Shore of the island.
What We Love About Shark Cove Snorkeling
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.
Shark’s Cove Snorkel 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 to snorkel in Oahu!
What to Expect at Shark’s Cove Snorkeling Site
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 facilities available at this site.
2.Turtle Bay Snorkeling (Kuilima Cove)
Location: Turtle Bay Resort
Address: 57-091 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731
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 for beginner snorkeling in Oahu because it is protected from incoming waves.
What We Love About Kuilima Cove
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 at the resort snorkeling equipment is free. We bought our own gear before getting to Hawaii which we thought was well worth the investment. Not only did we snorkel at Turtle Bay but many more snorkeling spots 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 then 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 few free public parking spaces dedicated to Kuilima Cove. We went very early in the morning and were able to get a spot but by the time we left the 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.
3. Hanauma Bay Snorkeling
Location: Near Honolulu and Waikiki
Address: 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is located in, Honolulu, Hawaii. It is about 10 miles from the famous Waikiki Beach. It is the best place for snorkeling in Honolulu Hawaii!
Hanauma Bay is a volcanic crater that has been formed into a natural pool. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is one of the best places to snorkel on Oahu. 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 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.
What We Love About 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! There are 400 species of fish in the bay. The water is so blue it is breathtaking!
You may want to consider getting the Go Oahu Card as Hanauma Bay is included in the price.
4. Kahe Point (Beach Park) Snorkeling
Location: Westside of Oahu
Address: 92-301 Farrington Hwy, Kapolei, HI 96707
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 an intermediate to advanced level location. 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 nearby 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 snorkel Oahu list no matter what your snorkeling ability.
5. Snorkeling at Kaena Point State Park
Location: Westside of Oahu
Address: 2.7-mile hike from the Kaena Point Trail
Kaena Point State Park is located on the westernmost tip of the island. A 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.
What to Expect While 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 that 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 snorkeling spots on Oahu. Dolphins have been spotted around Kaena Point so be on the lookout! Overall, the limited crowds make this one of the best places to snorkel. Plus, there are lots of other enjoyable activities to do as well.
Best Places to Snorkel in Oahu
Snorkeling in Oahu made our vacation so amazing! There are so many amazing snorkel spots on Oahu! One thing I love about snorkeling is that going to the best beaches in Oahu for snorkeling is a free activity that is fun.
The Best Place to Snorkel in Oahu (My Opinion)
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!
Snorkeling on Oahu Tips
I have a few snorkeling on Oahu tips to help your prepare for your Oahu snorkeling adventure.
Invest in Snorkel Gear
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 in Oahu more than one time.
North Shore Oahu Snorkel Tip
The summer is the best time to snorkel on the North Shore. The water is calm and clear. In the winter months, the waves get bigger as storms hit this side of the island.
South Shore Oahu Snorkel Tip
This area is a great place to snorkel in Oahu all year round.
Best Time of Day to Snorkel in Oahu
Morning is the best time of day to snorkel in Oahu. The waters are calmer and there is less wind.
Best Place to Find Sea Life
As you are snorkeling in Oahu and wondering where to swim, remember that fish love the coral. Where there is coral there will be fish!
Snorkeling Oahu Safety Tips
- Check Weather and Surf Conditions
- Snorkel with a friend (buddy system)
- Don’t touch the Coral
- Wear Reef Safe Sun-Screen
Oahu Snorkel Tours
The Oahu snorkel spots listed above are all spots that are accessible from the beach. If you want to go deep into the ocean a tour is your best bet.
Oahu Snorkeling Tours
Are you Ready for you Oahu Snorkel Adventure?
Hopefully, this post has helped you know where the best places to snorkel in Oahu are. I know you will have so much fun!
Plan for Hawaii
I highly recommend going to the North Shore. There are so many fun things including the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Polynesian Cultural Center, and the Jurassic Adventure tour. These are all great things to do on Oahu with kids.
Don’t forget to get your Hawaiian souvenirs!
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