Oahu is a great snorkeling destination for those who would like to be surrounded by gorgeous beaches while getting up close and personal with an abundance of exotic marine life. This Hawaiian island provides some fantastic snorkeling with access right from shore!
Best Oahu Snorkeling Spots
The great thing about Oahu is that there is great snorkeling all around the island. You can find snorkeling spots along the North, South, East and West shores and each offers its own unique views into the beautiful, exhilarating underwater world.
Kahe Point is a prime snorkeling and dive spot, located along the southwestern shore of Oahu just north of the Ko Olina Resorts. Here you will experience excellent water visibility and you can enter the water right from shore by the small sandy beach located just right of a large pavilion. From there you can swim out to locate two giant pipes where warm water flows into the ocean, where the fish love to hang out! Snorkel around the pipes, being sure not to go directly in front of the water stream, and you can see parrotfish, wrasse, squirrelfish, cornet fish, and even some green sea turtles!
If you’re looking for the best coral along the north shore, then you definitely won’t want to miss Three Tables while partaking in some Oahu Snorkeling. This spot is best to snorkel in the summer when the water is calmer, but note that even then, it is not very well protected from wave surges and there can be stronger currents. Enter the water from the sandy beach and slip your fins on when you notice the rocks approaching. Three Tables is named for the three flat, table-like coral formations that can be found in front of the beach, and that is where you will find the best Oahu snorkeling. While you’ll see the usual tropical fish, you might even catch a glimpse of some squid!
Sharks Cove is another great snorkeling and destination in Oahu, located along the north shore. Once at the beach, you will enter the water right from shore, but note that it is extremely rocky so please use caution. Once it’s deep enough, swim straight out through the shallow, rocky area and you can really snorkel anywhere in the large cove. Chances are that you will see some sea urchins, turtles and a wide variety of diverse marine life, such as flagtails, boxfish, butterfly fish, rudderfish and even some octopus.
If you don’t mind battling a bit of a crowd to partake in some snorkeling, then hit up Hanauma Bay. This is the most visited snorkeling destination in the entire world, so you will be in good company! It is definitely worth checking out considering how up close and personal you can get with an abundance of diverse fish. You will need to pay for parking and an additional entry fee if you would like to snorkel, but you can rent equipment right on the beach, which is convenient. Enter the water where the reef starts farther from the beach and enjoy snorkeling along the entire length of the beach!
Getting to Oahu
Hawaii’s major airport is the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu. This is where most international visitors will enter the islands. From the airport, you can get around by renting a car, taking a shuttle, taxi or the public transportation system in Oahu. The bus is a great method to use while exploring the island, or if you are more adventurous and less patient, you can rent a moped, motorcycle or car. Note that Oahu is a very popular destination so you will want to rent a car from the Honolulu International Airport ahead of time to ensure that one is reserved for you upon arrival.
When to Visit for Oahu Snorkeling
You can visit Oahu anytime, as temperatures generally hover around 24-29C (75-85F). However, due to the trade winds that the north and south sections of the island face, snorkeling tends to be more seasonal. If the sole purpose of your visit is Oahu snorkeling, then consider coming during the summer months between May and November, where the water will be warmer, the weather drier and the snorkeling conditions, much safer.
If you’re looking for a great place to explore the underwater world while in Hawaii, you definitely won’t want to miss these fantastic Oahu snorkeling destinations!