Snorkelling in Honolulu county can provide you with the best-in-the-world snorkelling experience as it houses unspoiled beaches and islands like Oahu with abundant marine life. Thus, Honolulu, the capital and largest city in the Hawaiian Islands remain plentiful for you to take the plunge as it hosts numerous diving spots on most of its beaches. By offering the snorkelling experience in crystal clear waters that remain best in the world, Honolulu remains significant to enjoy and engage with the rich coral reefs, kelp forests, sea turtles and other marine lives hosted by the Pacific.
Snorkelling in Honolulu- the ‘sheltered harbour’, enables the tourists to enjoy both the underwater thrill as well as the culturally fuelled city experience, courtesy of it being the main doorway, capital and hub for Hawaiian chain of islands. It serves well to those seeking adrenaline rush in the high tides of Pacific. While safest snorkelling schools well-established in Honolulu offer training, diving gear and guided tours into the ocean, the underwater exploration of the Pacific becomes once in a lifetime adventure. With a never-ending palate of options for snorkelling in Honolulu, don’t just stay on the land but dive into the gorgeous aquatic world. Check out this guide for amazing diving sites to enjoy an enriching and musical experience of snorkelling in Honolulu.
The 5 Amazing Diving Sites for Snorkelling in Honolulu
1. Hanauma Bay: The living Museum
The curved bay which serves as a jewel for the island of Oahu is located in the Hawaii Kai neighbourhood of East Honolulu. This state park and a protected marine life conservation area offer the best platform for visitors to begin with their venture of snorkelling. Rich in coral reefs, tropical fish and turtles, the bay enables you to enjoy the unique experience of snorkelling off the shore.You will be charged an admission fee for the state park and upon your admission, there is a mandatory screening of videos elaborating about reef safety. The diving spots at the beach are quite accessible as you can spot numerous marine creatures without swimming too far from the beach. The highlight of the snorkelling experience at Hanauma Bay is the possibility to spot the state bird of Hawaii called Humu humu nuku nuku apua'a.
The Pacific along the bay accommodates a wide range of aquatic lives like parrotfishes, sturgeons, eels and octopuses making it an engaging and enriching diving spot for snorkelling in Honolulu. You can find the diverse and most varieties of fishes to be ever found in all of Hawaii in this living museum of Honolulu which includes cardinal fish, squirrel fish, triggerfish and butterflyfish. The calm and shallow waters along this volcanic basin are lined with beautiful white sand and tropical plantation making it an aesthetic and soothing photograph as well.
Location: 100, Hanauma Bay Road, Honolulu, HI 96825-2005, United States
Admission charge: $ 7.50
2. Sans Souci Beach: Visit the Underwater “Without Care”
San Souci Beach also known as Kaimana Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand collapsing with crystal-like Pacific water. It is also the spot where the iconic diamond head meets the calm Pacific. The beach is protected by reefs and shallow waters near the shoreline making it quite accessible to snorkelers as well as surfers.
The shallow waters are inhabited by a diverse range of fishes and coral reefs especially along the rock wall on the left side of the Sans Souci Beach. San Souci means ‘without cares’ and has established itself as a laidback place offering its visitors the opportunity to take a calm sunbath along the Pacific with their favourite drinks and books. One of the quietest and less crowded beaches in Honolulu, Sans Souci Beach is a small stretch of white sand inhabiting quite a few marine creatures along its pristine shoreline.
Visit this easily accessible snorkelling option in Honolulu to spot the varieties of sea turtles, squirrelfish, colourful coral reefs, nudibranchs, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seals on a lucky day. Located near the Honolulu zoo and Waikiki aquarium, this small beach also houses some of the rental services for water sports along with good food trucks and shops. The lifeguard station adds to the safety for your snorkelling experience amidst large tides, sea horses, octopuses, stingrays and humpback whales. You can dive by making your way into the ocean as it’s sandy and reef covered shorelines gradually fall into the depth of about 3 feet promising algae and reefs.
Location: 2863 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, United States
3. Queen’s Beach: Coral reefs in Waikiki
Designated just in front of the Queen’s beach is Marine Life Conservation District dedicated for the protection of aquatic creatures. Queen’s beach is one of the two main beaches for snorkelling in Honolulu’s Waikiki area, the other being Sans Souci beach. With occasional high currents during the south swell, these two beaches must be explored with caution and are secured by lifeguard stations. Fishing at both of these snorkelling spots is prohibited in order to allow the fishes to stay flourishing and inhabiting the Hawaiian waters.
On the Queen’s beach, you can move into the water and keep making your way into the ocean to finally dive into the depth of almost 8 feet. If the waves are calm, you can also take a swim across the outer reef edge located 600 feet further. This point is quite good for advanced snorkelling as you can take a plunge into the depths of over 20 feet. The first spot promises you some of the very common fishes and reefs, but as you move forward, you can spot multiple eels, squirrel fishes, parrotfishes and triggerfishes in the Pacific. Head out to this beautiful stretch of white sand during summers as the waves are calmer promising you higher visibility underwater.
Located nearby to many other cultural attractions like the zoo and the aquarium, the place can be easily accommodated in your travel itinerary and can also enable you to enjoy a soothing experience of snorkelling in Honolulu.
Location: Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
4. Turtle Canyon: Hangout with turtles
Accessible by boat, the canyon is a dynasty to a wide array of turtles. The turtle’s favourite spot for relaxing amidst food is home to numerous types of fishes as well. You can take a boat from the Waikiki beach to reach this sandy and the shallow reef off the coastline. Take the ride and dive into the ocean to hang out with a bunch of green sea turtles.
The reefs at this spot offer the turtles with favourable conditions for them to feed, clean and rest. This dive of around 35 feet into the Pacific lets you witness some beautiful moments underwater with friendly turtles hiding and playing around the hollows of the reefs. You can also come across small and big fishes like triggerfishes, jellyfishes, Saddle Wrasse and butterflyfishes if you manage to see through the sandy waters. The visibility underwater once you jump from the boat decreases quite drastically as the reefs are quite shallow and filled with white sands.
There are few boat services provided at the beach for the visitors to both enjoy the experience of snorkelling in Honolulu amidst turtles and to capture the aesthetic essence of Honolulu from the sea. The beach also delivers seasonal Humpback whale sightings between December and April when they migrate to the warm waters of Hawaiian Islands.
Location: 1651 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
5. Baby Makapu'u: Pacific playground for turtles and surfers
Located just outside the limits of Honolulu, the Baby Makapu'u is mostly known for the surfing opportunities that it provides. But sited in the Makapu'u Beach Park on the Waimanalo side, the beach is a great place to engage with turtles while snorkelling in the Pacific Waters. It’s a haven for those who collect seashells and for those who adore the quirk of sea turtles. These green sea turtles call these waters as their home with varieties of coral reefs making the condition favourable for them to feed, clean and rest.
Much like the Turtle Canyon, this place must be visited by snorkelers to hang out with turtles underwater. The waves at this point favour the surfers and can be dangerous for people beginning their snorkelling journey. So, it is advised to not go into exploration alone and remain cautious and informed about the ocean currents and weather conditions. The water here at the Baby Makapu’u, unlike the Turtle Canyon, is clear and sparkling with the colour of sky getting beautifully reflected on the ocean surface making it a beautiful photography moment for the visitors. By hosting a multitude of water sports like surfing, snorkelling, swimming and sailing the pacific along the coast remains vibrant and therefore must be included in your travel itinerary.
Location: 41-95 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795, United States
The sky is not always the limit. Sometimes you need to take a dive into the blue waters to truly enjoy the limit of ‘beautiful’. The blue skies find a mirror in the crystal-clear waters of the ocean and call out the explorer in you to enjoy the unexplored and pristine depths. Snorkelling is one of the most fun ways to enjoy the underwater. The marine creatures in their mundane lives can provide you with a once in a lifetime moment. The pacific along the Hawaiian Islands has inhabited a multitude of marine lives and has provided them with conditions that help them to flourish. So, while you go out for your adventure remember to not harm the marine ecology and aquatic diversity. Honolulu, Hawaii’s hotspot is a favourite spot for beautiful and clear waters inhabiting colourful fish, reefs and diverse marine creatures. Snorkelling in Honolulu offers you some beautiful moments to be captured by your lens. Choose any of the mentioned sites as your spot for snorkelling in Honolulu and share with us your experiences!