a perfect beach
for you to enjoy
Whether you’re a beginner snorkeler that’s getting comfortable in the ocean or a mermaid that dives deep for shells, there’s a perfect beach for you to enjoy snorkeling in Hawaii! With our valuable local knowledge, we’ve come up with a shortlist of Pride of Maui’s Top 20 Places To Snorkel in Hawaii.
No matter which island you choose to visit in Hawaii, you’ll surely have an excellent time.
On each of Hawaii’s main islands (Maui, Big Island, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai & Molokai), all guests will have many chances to see gorgeous marine life. Depending on the time of the year, you may see the North Pacific humpback whales, Hawaiian green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, or playful spinner dolphins. Throughout Hawaii’s Pacific Ocean, guests can easily see a myriad of colorful tropical marine life while snorkeling; yellow tang, butterflyfish, parrotfish varieties, octopus, manta rays, sea cucumbers, Hawaiian spiny lobsters, Moray eel, and so much more.
Visit Hawaii for a relaxing vacation, enjoy the sun and surf! Make sure to book a Hawaii snorkel tour, or go beach hopping for an awesome Hawaii snorkeling adventure!
Located just 2.5 miles off of Maui’s south shore, the Molokini Crater is an incredible and rare underwater volcano islet. Listed as a Marine Life Conservation District Seabird Sanctuary, this partially submerged crescent-shaped volcanic crater is like no other snorkeling location in the world.
Justly named, Turtle Town is the best place to go snorkeling on Maui if your goal is to see the Hawaiian green sea turtles in action! Thanks to current government protection and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), this stretch is home to a particularly dense population of the Hawaiian green sea turtle.
Coral Gardens is located adjacent to Olowalu Reef, and just South of Historic Lahaina Town. This in-the-know Hawaii snorkel spot is only reached by boat on a Maui snorkeling tour. Originally, the Coral Gardens reef was created by a lava flow from the West Maui Mountains aka Pu’u Kukui. The lava created ‘fingers,’ flowing into the sea, which is now decorated by coral reef shelves that are full of a myriad of marine life.
Honolua Bay, also known as ‘The Bay,’ is located on Maui’s northwestern coast. During the winter, Honolua is one of the most popular places for experienced surfers, as well as internationally renowned surf contests. During late Spring, Summer, and early Fall, Honolua Bay is one of the top places to snorkel in West Maui.
Kapalua Bay is one of the most remarkable beaches on Maui, a perfect West Maui locale to explore while on vacation in Hawaii. Kapalua translates to kapa and lua in the ancient Hawaiian language, meaning “two borders.” Kapalua Bay is perfectly positioned in between Oneloa Bay and Honokahua Bay, which explains its centrally located namesake.
Located in South Lana’i right next to Manele Bay, all guests will most definitely adore this Hawaii beach. Hulopoe Bay is the best beach on Lana’i for snorkeling; other spots on the island are near rugged coastlines, and much better suited for scuba diving than a calm afternoon of snorkeling. When snorkeling at Hulopoe Bay on Lana’i, expect sloping depths between 6-24 feet.
Located on the East side of Molokai is one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, Kumimi Beach. Sometimes referred to as Murphy’s Beach, this is definitely one of the best places to snorkel on the island of Molokai. Unlike most Hawaii snorkel spots, Murphy’s is best visited at the mid-high tide, because the water is super shallow at this location. But, no matter when you visit this beach, you will be stoked!
Kuilima Cove is another great Oahu snorkeling spot on the North Shore. This Oahu snorkel locale is definitely best when visited during the hot, calm Summer months. That said, it’s also a place that you can count on during the Winter because of the reef line sheltering the cove from the larger waves that arrive from Oahu’s Winter swells.
Hanauma Bay is located just south of Koko Head Crater on Oahu’s South Shore. Easily known as the most popular, and most frequented snorkel spot in Oahu, this location has now transitioned into the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. After years of use, and millions of snorkelers, the site has become a conservation zone, and it’s closed every Tuesday so that the marine life can feed, and rest.
Located south off of Waikiki Beach, Turtle Canyons is one of the top places to scuba and snorkel in Oahu. The location is only reached by boat, so be sure to book an Oahu snorkel cruise to this location ahead of time. All snorkel tours to Turtle Canyons embark from Waikiki Beach.
Snorkeling at Manta Ray Village on the Big Island is perhaps one of the most adventurous and amazing Hawaii snorkel trips that anyone could ever experience.
Please note: This snorkel site is for experienced snorkelers only. Guests must be confident and comfortable swimming in the open ocean during the evening hours.
Located near the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Waimea, Mauna Kea Beach aka Kauna’oa Beach is one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island. This spot is perfect for kids, beginners, and experienced snorkelers. The best thing about this Big Island snorkel spot is that the water is almost always calm, and the ocean clarity is insane in the mornings. You’ll definitely see lots of action here!
In the ancient Hawaiian language, Kealakekua translates to ‘pathway of the gods.’ Hawaii’s Kealakekua Bay is an underwater State Park, a marine life sanctuary, and the location of the historic Captain Cook Monument. For the best snorkel experience at Kealakekua Bay, visitors should definitely book a Big Island snorkel tour.
There are so many unique snorkel sites to visit in the South Kona area of the Big Island. Locations include Pu’u Ohau aka Red Hill (Coral Gardens, Driftwoods, Nudibranch, Ridges), and Pali Kaholo (Rob’s Reef & Turtle Rock). Visitors that would like to snorkel in South Kona must book a South Kona Snorkel Tour.
The Island of Kauai has some incredible snorkeling spots, but finding the perfect place to snorkel on Kauai can be challenging to do on your own because of rougher ocean conditions and seasonal inconsistencies. When snorkeling on Kauai, take an extended effort to ask ocean information from lifeguards, and follow ocean safety rules on beach signage. If you’re beach hopping on Kauai and looking for the best place to snorkeling for beginners, definitely head to Poipu Beach.
Ke’e Beach is located at the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore and near the entrance to the Napali Coast’s Kalalau Trail. During the late Spring and Summer months, it’s a calm beach cove; perfect for beginner snorkelers, and families traveling with small children. The beach has a lifeguard, picnic tables, restrooms, and freshwater showers.
Lawai Beach is also known as ‘Beach House Beach’ because it’s adjacent to a restaurant that overlooks the bay. During the late Spring and Summer months, Lawai Beach is an ideal place for beginner snorkelers and families looking for some fun in the sun. Snorkeling at Lawai Beach is easy and convenient.
Last, but not least, all who love to snorkel in Hawaii should make sure to book a Na Pali Coast snorkel tour in Kauai. The Na Pali Coast is located on the most northern point of Kauai’s North Shore, and Kauai is the top of the Hawaiian Islands chain. Here is where you’ll find an underwater rainforest of Hawaii marine life.