The 9 Best Places to Snorkel in Oahu, Hawaii!!

One of the most spectacularly beautiful places on planet Earth! Known as the “Gathering Place,” and feels like an out-of-this-world kind of place.

The Island of Oahu is Hawaii’s most populous and developed island where you can spend your summer vacation with your family with lots of fun activities to do. If you are an admirer of the ocean and want to sneak peek under the ocean to capture some breathtaking views of sea animals and explore the nature inside the seas, then there is one activity that you can try out during your stay in Oahu and that is snorkeling.

Snorkeling is an adventurous activity enjoyed by many and Hawaii is a great place to snorkel. Did you know that there are over 400 species of reef and inshore fish that are here in Hawaii? You will even get the chance to circle with Hawaii’s famous state fish.

But there is more to snorkeling than just throwing on a mask and some fins and heading out there, so this article is going to help you get started, will help get to know some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii for beginners if you’re a newbie then even for you we have highlighted some of the popular and most unique spots of snorkel on each of the Hawaiian islands.

Nine TOP Snorkeling Spots in Oahu

Tons of people are always curious about snorkeling and ask lots of safety questions, about where they should go to get the best experience. So, we have listed some of the best places to snorkel in Oahu which are:

  1. Electric Beach
  2. Hanauma Bay
  3. Ko Olina Lagoons
  4. Lanikai Beach
  5. Shark’s Cove
  6. Snorkel Gear Rentals
  7. Snorkeling Essentials
  8. Turtle Canyon
  9. Waimea Bay

1. Electric Beach

Electric Beach or Kahe Point Beach Park is located on the southwest coast of Oahu. It has a long beach filled with white sand which is perfect for going on walks, taking a nap by the sea, or sunbathing and getting those perfect tan lines.

Best Places to Snorkel in Oahu - Electric Beach

The Kahe Point Beach Park is a small beach located south of Electric Beach and has ample parking space along with general amenities. Electric Beach provides visitors with good diving, snorkeling, and surfing experiences.

The beach gets its rather unique name due to its proximity to a power plant. Also, it makes this place unique with respect to snorkeling as warm water is discharged through a pipe from the power plant.

This warm water is then in turn responsible for the abundant wildlife in the area, especially the sea turtles. If you are lucky enough, you might even be able to catch some sea turtles playing near the pipe by trying to ride its current.

2. Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is solely dedicated to providing snorkeling experiences to visitors. The authorities make visitors watch a safety video to convey the importance of the local ecosystem and how they can ensure its safety.

Hanauma Bay

Similar to Electric Beach, Hanauma Bay is a beautiful beach full of white sand. Although the location has a variety of amenities, there isn’t much shade on the beach which is why visitors are recommended to pack well in advance.

Hanauma Bay is an excellent choice for people who have almost close to no experience with snorkeling as the waters remain pretty still and calm most of the time. Also, since fishing is banned by the authorities, Hanauma bay is home to several species of fish that can be seen here and there.

The beach also provides services of renting snorkeling gear, but it is rather expensive and also time-consuming as there are long queues.

3. Ko Olina Lagoons

The Ko Olina Lagoons are located on the western leeward side of the island. The main attractions are the four beach coves that are man-made but still provide a mesmerizing experience.

Ko Olina Lagoons

Also, it is home to The Four Seasons Hotel which provides excellent services to tourists in the form of spas, tennis clubs, and open-air restaurants. It also provides wedding services in its beautiful wedding chapel for those looking to tie the knot in a memorable place.

All four of the lagoons are located very close to each other with rocks placed around them that act as sea walls and keep the more fierce currents out of the calm waters inside.

These man-made lagoons provide a very safe experience for people with little experience and for children that just want to enjoy the calm waters. Also, they are accessible any time of the year but the downside is that it does not have much to provide in the way of reefs or coral.

4. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is probably the finest snorkeling destination in terms of beauty on this list. The Beach is just south of the Kailua Beach Parks although they are not connected and have no point of access between them.

Lanikai Beach

As stated, Lanikai Beach provides some of the best sights in the country out of all the beaches with its white sand and clear blue water. It provides a truly memorable experience, especially for families due to its calm waters.

The Mokulua Islands can be seen from the beach and are quite the prize for the locals. The beach is a good location for various activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Although it isn’t known for its snorkeling, there are still some corals along with calm water which is best for beginners and children. Since there are no snorkel rentals, it is best to bring your gear.

5. Sharks Cove

Sharks Cove is a renowned shore-diving destination in the world. It is located on the north shore of Oahu and is a part of Pupukea Beach Park. The whole area has a rich variety of marine life.

best places to snorkel in oahu - sharks cove

Coral heads forming small caves, crystal clear water, and calm waters courtesy of the surrounding cliffs ensure that the area is always busy with surface fish. The summer months are the best time to snorkel here as the rest of the year is surfing season and mostly there are large swells.

Sharks Cove is also not a sandy beach, so it is best to take care while entering the water due to the rocks also it is not recommended for beginners or children due to the depth of the water. Although, anyone can enjoy the tide pools there.

6. Snorkel Gear Rentals

Coming to Oahu and leaving without snorkeling would probably be a bad decision as it has some of the best places in the world that provide memorable snorkeling experiences. The abundance of marine life especially sea turtles, reefs, and corals is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone.

Snorkel Gear Rentals

Engaging in such outdoor activities also requires specialized gear that can be the difference between a good and bad overall experience. The quality of the gear can greatly affect the snorkeling experience, especially from a security point of view as good quality gear can mean the difference between life and death too.

Since it isn’t possible for tourists to carry snorkeling gear with them everywhere, shops all over the island provide rental services at affordable prices. Some of the best snorkel rentals are Snorkel Bob’s, ABC stores, Active Oahu Tours, and many more.

7. Snorkeling Essentials

Although a good location makes a big difference in the experience you have while snorkeling, there is one thing that most people tend to ignore when they decide to plan a trip to Oahu and engage in some fun snorkeling.

Snorkeling Essentials

They forget the most basic rule of being well prepared and packing whatever they may require during their trip.  Some of the things that are essential when planning a trip to go snorkeling are bathing suits, extra clothes, towels, swim shoes, sunscreen/rash guard, waterproof camera, and snorkel gear which includes a mask and fins.

One of the most important things to take care of while planning is to ensure that the sunscreen you have picked is reef safe as normal sunscreens have a significant impact on the coral reefs and in turn on the marine life which is bad for the planet and for us.

8. Turtle Canyon

If you really want to see turtles and swim along with one of them then in the lovely kewalo Basin of the heart of Honolulu Waikiki the spot turtle canyon is found. To reach there you can go out on a turtle sail. It is a guarantee that you would definitely see turtles in this spot.

Turtle Canyon

Turtle Canyon is where turtles go to get cleaned, basically, it’s a cleaning station where aquatic life is cleaned by smaller creatures. You will get a golden experience with the marine life and would have a wonderful time.

So you just have to plunge into the warm, sparkling ocean and snorkel with the majestic green sea turtle in Oahu and enjoy your time with friends and family.

9. Waimea Bay

Located about an hour from Waikiki and Honolulu the north shore is one of the most special places on the island. Just four and a half miles past the old town of Haleiwa sits a beautiful bay that is full of history and tradition.

Waimea Bay - best places to snorkel in oahu

If you ever find yourself on the island of Oahu take a trip up to the north shore and spend a day at one of the island’s most famous beaches known as Waimea Bay.

In summer time this beach transforms into a completely beautiful place the ocean at Waimea Bay is flat and clear making it ideal for swimming, free diving, and especially snorkeling. It gets about 20 to 30 feet deep only a few hundred feet offshore. The middle of the bay is mostly sand but if you go to either side there is decent snorkeling also a good chance you will encounter some turtles, and can also swim through some caves and jump off the famous Waimea Rock.


Snorkeling is essentially a safe fun activity, but it can result in a terrible incident if proper steps aren’t taken. So before you head out to explore all the wonderful marine wildlife we would like to share a few simple safety guidelines.

  • Before you leave your room make sure to remove all of your jewelry and watches as shiny things may attract certain fishes like the Barracuda.
  • Leave as many personal belongings behind as they can be lost.
  • Resist the urge to apply sunscreen before the activity we know it might sound odd but part of the sunscreen will wash off your skin in the water.
  • When you arrive at the snorkeling shack remove your shoes and place all of your personal belongings in the cubby and head to the counter to sign in and pick up the equipment.
  • Also, remember to pick up the lifejacket as these are mandatory you need to wear them at all times even if you are a good swimmer.
  • Wear your mask and also remember the safety signs like I’m okay and I need help.

Once you have learned all the safety signs, you’re ready to go snorkeling.

Best Places to Snorkel in Oahu – FAQs

Which side of Oahu has the best snorkeling?
Kuilima Cove has the best snorkeling as this ideal spot has calm and blueish clean water where you can explore some beautiful views and find a bunch of other ocean creatures.
What time is best for snorkeling in Oahu?
For snorkeling in Hawaii Oahu, morning time is the best and most favorable time as the ocean is at morning is serene and there is no wind in the sea.
Can you snorkel for free in Oahu?
Yes, you can snorkel free of cost in Oahu as it is one of the free things to do on Oahu you just need to have equipment on you, and you are ready to enjoy the experience.



If you want to spend your summer vacation with your family with lots of fun activities to do, then The Island of Oahu Hawaii is the most populous and developed.

If you are an admirer of the ocean and want to sneak peek under the ocean to capture some breathtaking views of sea animals and explore the nature inside the seas, then there is one activity that you can try out during your stay in Oahu and that is snorkeling. You can spend your time swimming around the beautiful spots of Oahu looking for perfect views, and turtles and can also find a bunch of other ocean friends.

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