Snorkeling Oahu —
Oahu is one of eight main islands in the state of Hawaii. Like all the Hawaiian Islands, there are numerous magnificent beaches and great snorkeling opportunities on Oahu and its surrounding waters. But, you may be wondering, where is the best snorkeling on Oahu?
Hanauma Bay Hawaii
Probably the most famous snorkeling location on Oahu is Hanauma Bay. According to tropicalsnorkeling.com, Hanauma Bay “is definitely the most visited Oahu snorkeling spot and it may be the most visited snorkeling spot in the world, with over three thousand visitors a day, over a million a year!”
Is Hanauma Bay snorkeling worth the crowds? Most people would say yes, which is why it remains so popular. One plus is that the fish here are very used to people and will allow you to swim up quite close to them. Fish and marine life you’re likely to see at Hanauma Bay include:
- Green Sea Turtles
- Sea Urchins
- Triggerfish, known in Hawaii by its Hawaiian name, humuhumunukunukupua’a
- Butterfly Fish
North Shore Oahu
North Shore Oahu is better known for its monster winter waves and surfing culture than for snorkeling, but there is good snorkeling here in the summer when the surf is much calmer.
One such spot is Sharks Cove Oahu. Located on the North Shore, the bay is part of Pupukea Beach Park. Fish and marine life you’re likely to see at Sharks Cove include:
- Butterfly fish
- Big Eye
- Cornet fish
- Green Sea Turtles
Another top North Shore snorkeling spot is Turtle Beach Oahu. Turtle Beach is better known by its Hawaiian name, Laniakea Beach, because it’s often confused with Turtle Bay, which is also on Oahu’s North Shore. Turtle Bay is the location of the Turtle Bay Resort, the North Shore’s only full service resort hotel.
As you might expect, Laniakea (Turtle) Beach is most popular for the green sea turtles you’ll often find resting on the beach basking in the sun. They come here to eat the abundant seaweed that grows on the rocks along the beach, and since turtles are cold blooded, they like to warm themselves in the sun too. If there aren’t any turtles on the beach, or if you just want to, you can snorkel with them in the water.
Best Beaches in Hawaii
An interesting thing to note is that Oahu’s best snorkeling beaches aren’t considered Oahu’s best beaches. The reason for that is pretty simple. The best snorkeling is found around coral reefs and rocks, and the best beaches are usually ones that are soft and sandy with clear sandy bottoms. So if you want to know where to find the best beaches in Hawaii, in general, and/or on Oahu, in particular, you’ll have to look for other posts, including these already published ones:
Wailea Beach, Maui (my personal favorite beach)
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin