The Best Snorkeling In Hawaii Guide For 2023

Looking for the best snorkeling spot in Hawaii? Here are all the places you can snorkel in Hawaii and explore the underwater world!

There is no doubt that Hawaii is one of the best places on earth to go snorkeling.

With 8 main islands and a total sum of 19 islands, there’s an unlimited supply of adventure to be had. The waters are crystal clear, with lavish emerald tones that look iridescent in the sunshine.

There’s no place like Hawaii, from mouthwatering seafood, to luxury accommodation, and the endless array of beaches, it’s one of the best states the USA has to offer.

Underneath the beautiful sea, exists vast and wonderful sea life. Full of tropic wonders, you’ll see some of the most beautiful sea life in the world.

From exotic fish to turtles, manta rays, and even dolphins. Whatever island you choose to snorkel in, you’re going to have a grand adventure.

With that said, I’m going to show you the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, and I’ll even give you a heads-up of some sea life you might encounter while there.

Snorkeling is an incredible experience, that I recommend to almost everyone.

You do have to be a secure, strong swimmer and have some diving experience, but it’s pretty accessible other than that. Even then, your instructor will make sure that you are safe enough to go exploring.

With that said, let’s explore the best places in Hawaii for snorkeling.

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The Best Snorkeling Spot In Hawaii

Turtle Town – Maui

Fringing Reef – Molokai

The first location I am going to recommend is Turtle Town, Maui.

If you happen to be in Maui, then you should head down to Maluaka Beach. Here you can snorkel in Turtle Town.

While the name might tickle you, it really is true — this is the place to snorkel if you’d like to see some gorgeous, green-shelled turtles. The reason it’s such a dense population is that the turtles are protected by the government, as they are an endangered species.

While you can marvel at the turtles, avoid touching them. While you’re here, you might also see some moray eels, octopus, and angelfish.

An added bonus of Turtle Town is that it is beginner-friendly so it tops the list of the best snorkeling spot in Hawaii!

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Fringing Reef – Molokai

The second location I am going to recommend is Fringing Reef, Molokai.

So, the Fringing Reef can be found on the south coast of Molokai. To get there, you’ll either have to travel by boat or adventure out on a kayak.

It’s an outstanding reef, in fact, it’s the longest fringing reef in all of Hawaii. You’ll see a tun of different sea life here. You can spot eagle rays and even hawksbill turtles.

If you like whales, then you need to visit from December to March. This is when dozens of whales will migrate to the area, and you will hear their beautiful songs and can marvel at their wonder.

An added bonus of Fringing Reef is that it is beginner-friendly.

Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park – Big Island

The next location I am going to recommend is Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park – Big Island.

So, you’ll find this snorkeling spot on the Big Island. While the Big Island is home to lots of great snorkeling spots, this is one of the best places to snorkel.

While you will be snorkeling in the protected shoreline of Ka’awaloa, to get there, you can either kayak or take a boat.

Either way, you’re going to want to take some time in the waters of Kealakekua Bay. That’s because you may encounter some Hawaiian spinner dolphins. They’re absolutely magnificent, so try to take some time out to spot them.

When you eventually get to Ka’awaloa, you’ll be amazed at the sea life. You’ll encounter turtles, rays, eels, and possibly even some reef sharks.

Ideally, you should kayak with a professional. If you have enough experience to go out and kayak alone, then you’re not allowed to dock on the shore.

An added bonus of Fringing Reef is that it is suitable for all levels.

Tunnels (Makua) Beach – Kauai

Tunnels (Makua) Beach – Kauai

The next location I am going to recommend is Tunnels (Makua) Beach – Kauai.

If you are looking for a unique snorkeling experience, then you should head to Tunnels (Makua) Beach. You’ll be amazed at the rock formations, each different from the next — you should inspect the rocks alone for hours.

However, that’s not why you’re there, so go and head to the sea! There, you might discover hogfish, trumpet fish, wrasse, and goatfish. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might get to see some green sea turtles here too.

Only advanced snorkelers can snorkel in the outer reef. However, the inner reef is suitable for beginners.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – Oahu

The next location I am going to recommend is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu.

This is a highly popular snorkeling spot, so if you feel more comfortable snorkeling in a tourist spot, this is great for you. However, if you’re more experienced and more adventurous, you may not enjoy this popular spot.

Although, it should not be knocked just because of its popularity — it’s actually a great place to snorkel. It’s a volcanic creator, located on the east side of Oahu.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, as you can imagine, is a marine life conversation area. You’ll see interesting species, such as squirrel fish, porcupine fish, and damsel fish.

An added bonus of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is that it is suitable for all levels.

North Shore – Oahu

The next location I am going to recommend is North Shore, Oahu.

Honestly, this is definitely one of the best places to snorkel on the list.

It’s not for the lighthearted, however. If you want to snorkel here, you’ll need to contact One Ocean Diving.

It’s run by the infamous Ocean Ramsey’s research team, and it’s an insane experience. You’ll be snorkeling with true professionals, and you’ll explore some of the best sea life in Hawaii.

If sharks make you nauseous, prepare for an upset stomach. You might encounter sandbar sharks, hammerheads, Galápagos sharks, and even tiger sharks. While safety is a concern, the sharks aren’t really alarmed by humans.

An added bonus of the North Shore is that it is suitable for all levels.

Honolua Bay – Maui

The next location I am going to recommend is Honolua Bay – Maui.

Honolua Bay is located on the northwest shore of Maui. It’s a marine life conservation area, so it’s one of the best places to explore if you want to see an extensive amount of sea life. You might encounter some butterfly fish, puffer fish, and even unicorn fish.

While it is a windy area, the surrounding cliffs help to keep the wind at bay. After you’re done surfing, go check out the surfers.

They’ll be at the boat ramp, on the right. These are just ordinary surfers, usually, some of the best surfers in Hawaii come here, due to the epic surf breaks.

An added bonus of the Honolua Bay is that it is suitable for all levels, so its one of the best snorkeling spot in Hawaii.

Hulopoe Bay – Lanai

Hulopoe Bay – Lanai

The next location I am going to recommend is Hulopoe Bay – Lanai.

Hulopoe Bay can be located on the south shore. It’s a gorgeous crescent-shaped bay, full of amazing sea critters. You’ll see shallow tide pools, so when you’re not in the ocean, you can explore the sea life in the pools.

This is especially good for children, who aren’t able to go snorkeling. When it comes to the sea critters here, you might see some lovely little hermit crabs, sea stars, and tiny fish. Be careful though, it could be mossy, so tread likely!

Now, when it comes to the actual snorkeling, you are going to be amazed.

Not only will you come across beautiful sea turtles, but you might just spot some spinner dolphins! You’ll also see some bandit angelfish and green sea turtles.

If you snorkel in the wintertime, you might just be able to see some humpbacks!

An added bonus of the Honolua Bay is that it is suitable for all levels.

Kahalu‘u Beach Park, The Island Of Hawai’i

The next location I am going to recommend is Kahalu‘u Beach Park, Island Of Hawai’i.

If you’re already on The Big Island, then pop on down to Kahalu‘u Beach Park. I recommend this snorkeling site to beginners and families. While it’s popular with both visitors and locals, you can get some great gear rentals.

If you visit Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center, you can get educated on the local marine life, and the type of etiquette you should exhibit. This is especially great for children, who might need a little extra education before they can explore the shores.

While you’ll certainly enjoy the snorkeling experience, you can enjoy much more, as a family, at this beach. Some locations on this list aren’t suitable for children, but this is definitely an inclusive location.

An added bonus of the Kahalu‘u Beach Park is that it is suitable for all levels.


That’s the end of my article on the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. I hope that you’ve found it informative, and you get some great ideas for adventures.

Whether you plan on snorkeling with your friends, or with your family, you can find a location perfect for you. Sealife is amazing, and everyone, if they can, should experience the joy of snorkeling.

Well, there you have it, the best snorkeling spot in Hawaii. Hopefully that helped, but if you want more info, we found you a video below!

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