Located in the Hawaiian Islands, the snorkeling in Oahu offers over twenty awesome snorkel dive spots. The best Oahu snorkeling based on popularity are considered to be Kuilima Cove, Hanauma Bay, Ko Olina Lagoons, Kewalo Basin, and Lanikai Beach. For a detailed dive site description and printable snorkel dive map, just select a Oahu snorkeling dive below.
East of Honolulu and southeast of Kuapa Pond on Oahu, the snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Beach Park in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park is known for its horseshoe bay filled with reefs to explore. The bay is a old volcanic crater and contains flat algae-covered reefs. When snorkeling off Hanauma Beach, you can expect to see millet-seed fish, raccoon fish, thread fin, butterfly fish, reef trigger fish, wrasse, convict tang, unicorn fish, squid, white-tipped reef sharks and occasional sea turtles. The Hanauma Bay snorkeling is protected from the large ocean waves for a gentle snorkel experience.
North of Honolulu and Waimea at Pupukea Beach Park, the snorkeling at Sharks Cove is rated as one of the best snorkel dive sites in the world. Sharks Cove is a small rocky bay with abundant marine life that is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District. The coral heads and boulders form small caves sheltering all the fish. You can expect to see parrot fish, butterfly fish, needle fish, surgeon fish, goatfish, triggerfish, unicorn fish, eels, wrasse and sea turtles. Most of the bay is about 7 to 15 feet deep in the center.
North of Honolulu and Waimea on Oahu, the snorkeling at Three Tables is known for its flat coral formations extending out from the sandy beach. While snorkeling Three Tables, you may encounter cornet fish, eels, damselfish, moorish idols, goat fish, and tangs. It is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District.
East of Honolulu, the snorkeling at Ko Olina Lagoons is known for its range of marine life including barracuda, butterflyfish, goatfish, moorish idols, surgeon fish and wrasse. The four manmade Ko Olina Lagoons are interconnected by a 1.5 mile path. The water depths range from 4 to 5 feet deep.
North of Honolulu and Waimea on Oahu, the snorkeling at Turtle Bay is popular dive site, but it is not known for quantities of green sea turtles. In the past, this bay was a turtle nesting ground. The waters can be pretty rough throughout the winter months. If the surf is knee high or less, you can at least enter the water at low tide, but it's a rough ride. If the surf is too rough for snorkeling at Turtle Bay, you can check out the other local dive site about 1,000 feet away to the north in Kuilima Cove which has a protective reef.
Northeast of Honolulu and southeast of Kailua, the snorkeling at Halona Beach Cove is located inside this protected beach. It is a small snorkeling area that is best when the winds are not coming from the east. There are not big reef formations, but the rocks on the side are very interesting.
Northwest of Honolulu on Oahu, the Kaena Point State Park is popular for snorkeling. The isolated, mile-long Kaena Point State Park beach is on the western tip of Oahu. During Kaena snorkeling, you may encounter sea turtles, trigger fish, parrot fish, surgeon, moorish idol and butterfly fish. While it is not really known for abundant marine life, the water visibility is excellent especially further out where the water runs about 12 feet deep over the sand and flat coral.
Northwest of Honolulu on Oahu, the snorkeling at Makaha Beach Park is the second most popular on Oahu, especially during the summer months. The best snorkeling is during the summer months and can be found on either end of the beach. Snorkelers at Makaha Beach Park will find diverse marine life including eels, sea turtles, manta rays and octopuses. There are caverns, tunnels and arches.
Southeast of Honolulu and Diamond Head, the snorkeling at Kaalawai Beach is known as the best snorkeling dive site close to Waikiki. The water clarity is much better than the beaches right at Waikiki. For the best snorkeling at Kaalawai Beach, try for a windless day with low surf and no rain on the days prior.
North of Honolulu in Waimea on Oahu, the snorkeling at Waimea Bay Beach Park is popular with local snorkelers during the calm summer months. It is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District. While it is known for huge waves in the winter, the summer brings low surf ideal for snorkeling.