Oahu Snorkeling

Snorkeling Oahu Hawaii is akin to snorkeling in a fully stocked aquarium minus the glass. The better, and more colorful, side of Oahu lies underneath the blue ocean water. Snorkeling Oahu Hawaii means swimming with green sea turtles languidly careening through gentle currents, brightly hued schools of parrotfish gliding through watery neighborhoods and butterfly fish dining on long expanses of coral reef. If you're lucky, you'll hear dolphins' harmonizing in the backdrop and possibly a resonating whale song or two.

Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular Oahu snorkeling sites on the island. Declared an underwater park and marine life conservation area in 1967, Hanauma Bay has an extremely long and curving stretch of beach south of Honolulu. Oahu snorkeling and diving in the area is rewarded by a large and flourishing coral reef barrier and an incredibly diverse array of marine life. More experienced snorkelers can head out to the deeps and follow this Oahu snorkeling beaches reef extending into the cove. The sandy floor of the bay is the site of an ancient, collapsed volcano where the sea rushed in and flooded the entire point.

Oahu snorkeling beaches include Makaha Beach Park near the Mahaka Golf Resort. Makaha Beach Park is the second most sought after of beaches for snorkeling trips in Oahu. The water is clear aqua blue in color and enjoys a gentle current in the summer months. Oahu snorkeling at Makaha is exciting, offering tunnels up to forty feet in depth, plenty of arches and many underwater caverns. Oahu snorkeling groups will see the likes of eagle and manta rays, passing dolphins, green sea turtles, octopuses, several different kinds of eels and more. Makaha is almost 40 miles northwest of Honolulu and can be reached by car, bus or any Oahu tours going out for the day.

Visitors planning a trip to the North Shore will love Oahu snorkeling at Shark's Cove. Visitors can access the reef from March through October when the sea is most calm. In the winter months the activity of choice turns from snorkeling to Oahu surfing as the swells become more treacherous. The reef is home to some white tipped reef sharks which are not aggressive but are best left alone. Snorkeling Oahu Hawaii at Shark's Cove also presents the opportunity to see green sea turtles languishing near the shoreline, scads of butterfly and parrot fish and trigger, goat and wrasse fish also frequent the area as do tang, needle fish, eels, invertebrates and crustaceans.

Aim for an early arrival to Shark's Cove for a place to park. Across the street from the excellent Oahu snorkeling spot visitors will find a smattering of small shops where cold drinks and food can be purchased. Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center makes a great afternoon adventure. Just east of Shark's Cove, visitors can experience an authentic Oahu luau along with traditional food and many exciting performances.

Another of the best Oahu snorkeling beaches includes Kapiolani Park Beach in Waikiki near the Diamond Head crater. Head to the middle of the park to Queen's Beach near the Waikiki Aquarium. Calm waters and a sweeping coral beach make snorkeling Oahu Hawaii here a delight. Excursions to the area can be paired with a visit to the aquarium and the zoo or a trip to Sea Life Park to learn more about Hawaii's underwater life. There are plenty of areas for Oahu snorkeling, but some much more frequented then others. To avoid crowds begin all snorkeling trips early. The morning hours are a great time to explore reefs as many creatures feed at this time providing glimpses at a huge variety of deep sea denizens.

Honolulu Chinatown

Honolulu Chinatown

An authentic taste of Asia lies in the downtown Honolulu Chinatown, where gre...

Haleiwa Hawaii


When the winter swells hit the North Shore of Oahu, surfers from around the w...

Waianae Hawaii


Many Oahu visitors never make it over to the island's west coast, where commu...

Latest Topics

Waikiki Beach Hotels

It's cold and the dead of winter on the mainland. What better time than to visit the Hawaiia...

More Forum Posts »