Hawaii is a popular tourist destination for a variety of reasons, one of which is the gorgeous snorkeling locales. It’s easy to plan an entire holiday based around snorkeling, but if you have other sights to see, you’ll be able to easily locate one or two spots to hit.
1. Kealakekua Bay
At Kealakekua Bay, you’ll find the famous Captain Cook Monument and hundreds of dolphins and sea turtles. The bay is a sanctuary you can snorkel in. Since it’s somewhat secluded, the best way to access the bay is by taking a snorkeling boat tour out from the Big Island. If you only go on one snorkeling adventure in Hawaii, you’ll want it to be at Kealakekua Bay. You’ll be able to see tons of marine wildlife and enjoy the scenery of this serene paradise.
2. Shark’s Cove
Shark’s Cove, located in Oahu, is great for both beginner and expert scuba divers. Oahu is gorgeous and home to some of the best accommodations in Hawaii, so if you’re trying to plan your trip around snorkeling experiences, it’s worth setting up home base there. Though snorkeling is dangerous in the winter due to the massive waves, the summer is much calmer. The cove has two areas one extends out into the open ocean, and the other is surrounded by rocks that serve as a protective barrier. Both adults and children will have a great experience at Shark’s Cove.
3. Kahaluu Beach Park
This location is one of the most popular in all of Hawaii when it comes to snorkeling. Though the park gets crowded during busier tourist seasons, there’s still a positive side to snorkeling in a busy area: the more people around, the safer you are. If you’re interested in trying snorkeling for the first time or you’re looking to introduce someone else, Kahaluu Beach Park is one of the best places to do that. You won’t be sacrificing gorgeous views or the opportunity to witness marine animals.
4. Hulopoe Bay
This bay, located on the vastly underrated island of Lanai, is one of the best treasures in all of Hawaii. The beginning of the bay is mostly isolated, shallow areas. These are great for experimenting or warming up before you head out to the larger portion of the bay. The further into the bay you go, the more likely you are to encounter large families of dolphins. Being able to share company with all of these dolphins is awe inspiring, as long as you understand how to safely interact with them.
5. Molokini Crater
How many people can say that they’ve snorkeled in a volcanic crater? Not very many at all. Visiting Molokini Crater can help you add your name to that exclusive list. The crater itself is off of the Maui coast, so you’ll need to boat out there to snorkel. Once you arrive, you’ll be able to snorkel safely in clear water, sheltered from the elements by the walls of the crater.
6. Hanauma Bay
By and large, the best part of Hanauma Bay is the coral. There’s tons of coral to view and explore, and it’s the best place to see these formations in Hawaii. The bay is surrounded by the edges of the island, providing an isolated spot for sheltered snorkeling. Inexperienced snorkelers should avoid exiting the sheltered area of the bay, as the waters become choppier outside of the shelter and that increases the potential for accidents.
No matter where you decide to snorkel, you should always make sure you’re doing so safely. Before you leave, make sure people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If at all possible, take a trip with a snorkeling group that involves professionals to supervise your trip.
Mali Travel Guide Photo Gallery