Best Snorkeling in Oahu – Snorkeling Oahu Guide
The best snorkeling in Oahu varies depending on the snorkelers, time of year you are visiting Oahu and the current weather. If you are interested in a guided snorkeling trip by boat and love Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles as much as we do, then our Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion is an excellent option! If you just want to head to the beach and get in the water, read on about some of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu.
Best Snorkeling in Oahu – Locations and Tips
The time of year that you visit Oahu and the snorkeling experience that you are looking for should determine the snorkeling spot that you pick. Oahu’s South Shore is accessible year round. Turtle Canyons, located just off the Waikiki coast is known for its “Turtle Cleaning Station” where turtles can be viewed while they are having their shells cleaned by the tropical reef fish. Hanauma Bay is well known for some of the best snorkeling in Oahu (which means it can also be the most crowded beach on Oahu so we suggest to go first thing in the morning or in the afternoon). During the Summer months surf on the North Shore of Oahu is low making it one of the best spots in Oahu for snorkeling. In the winter Oahu’s North Shore is blessed with some of the biggest wave in the world which puts snorkeling the North Shore out of the question.
Snorkeling from our Waikiki boat tour is the best way to get the chance to swim with some Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. These amazing animals hover above the reef at Turtles Canyons just off the coast of Waikiki while being cleaned by reef fish. The only way to get to this site is by boat.
Turtle Canyons Snorkeling Excursion
- Guided snorkeling excursion by boat at Turtle Canyons
- All snorkeling equipment, lite snacks and drinks provided
- Guides in the water to guide you around and help you explore the beautiful marine life
Hanauma Bay is constantly some of the best snorkeling in Oahu for snorkelers of all ages and skill levels. The beautiful beach offers sand and grassy areas as well as some shade for relaxing. There are shallow areas on the inner reef as well as deeper areas further out with some of the best coral reefs on Oahu.
Hanauma Bay has restrooms, information desks, snorkel rentals and lockers available on the beach. “Hanauma Bay” means “curved bay” and it is well protected from wind and waves year round. Snorkeling Oahu ranks this some of the best snorkeling in Oahu on any given day.
- Discover Scuba Diving with no experience required at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
- You will get a safety lesson from an experienced scuba instructor before heading out to deeper water and explore Hanauma Bay’s beautiful reef and marine life
- Small groups of no more than 4 participants per group, maximum depth of 40ft (12 meters)
- Includes Hanauma Bay entrance fee
Electic Beach, also known as Kahe Point Beach Park, is located on the west side of Oahu near Ko’Olina. They entry to the site is from a sandy beach right next to the outflow from an electric power plant. The warm water that flows out from the pipe attracts an amazing amount of marine life. This site offers extremely clear water as long as the surf is not up.
During summer months this is one of the best snorkeling spots in Oahu due to the clear water and abundance of marine life. It is a fairly deep site with no lifeguards on the beach so it is only recommended for strong swimmers.
This is North Shore Snorkeling Site that is only accessible during Summer months. The underwater lava formations create beautiful scenery for snorkelers. The shallow inside of the bay is great for beginners and the deeper waters offer swim through lava tubes and larger fish for the advanced snorkelers.
This is another North Shore snorkeling spot and beautiful beach. There is only a small parking lot here so as long as you get there early and find parking the beach will never be crowded. Showers, restrooms and picnic tables are available on the beach.
Waimea Bay Big Wave Surfing
In the winter during a large swell this is the spot of some of the most famous big wave riding in the world. The world famous Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is held here only on years that the surf gets large enough to host the competition. The surf must be at least 20 feet Hawaiian size, meaning that the faces of the waves are 40 feet tall! Even if you cannot go snorkeling here it is definitely worth stopping by and checking out the big surf of Oahu in the winter.