The 5 Best Snorkeling Spots In Hawaii 

24th May 2023

Hawaii is a true paradise for nature lovers, with its pristine beaches, lush forests, and crystal-clear waters. 

In fact, did you know that one of the best ways to experience the magic of Hawaii’s underwater world is through snorkeling? With a diverse range of marine life and breathtaking corals, its’ said that Hawaii’s snorkeling spots are some of the best in the world. But with so many options, how do you know where to go for the ultimate snorkeling experience? 

If you’re about to take on a journey to explore the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii, look no further. This list is here to help you out. Read on. 

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your snorkel gear and get ready to discover some of Hawaii’s most breathtaking snorkeling spots. 

1 – Molokini Crater, Maui 

Located three miles off the coast of Maui, the Molokini Crater is a must-visit destination for snorkelers. It’s a crescent-shaped volcanic crater that rises from the ocean floor, providing a unique and unforgettable snorkeling experience. The clear waters at the crater are renowned for their visibility of up to 150 feet, offering you the chance to explore the vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish species that inhabit the area. 

One way to ensure a memorable experience at Molokini Crater is to book one of the many Maui snorkeling tours available. These tours typically include transportation, snorkeling gear, and a knowledgeable guide who can point out all the different types of marine life you’ll encounter. Plus, with a tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history and geology of the crater, making it a more enriching experience. 

And don’t forget to bring your underwater camera, as you’ll be able to capture incredible photos of the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, Hawaii’s state fish, and other marine life. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a few dolphins or whales on your way to the crater. Keep in mind that Molokini Crater is a protected marine sanctuary, so make sure to respect the environment by not touching or removing any of the marine life. 

2 – Hanauma Bay, Oahu 

Hanauma Bay boasts a vibrant underwater world filled with various tropical fish, colorful coral reefs, and clear turquoise waters. As a protected marine life conservation area, the bay offers a unique opportunity to explore Hawaii’s rich marine biodiversity up close. 

When snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, keep an eye out for the Hawaiian green sea turtle, a gentle creature frequently swimming in the bay’s calm waters. It’s important to remember that turtles are protected under state and federal law, so it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and avoid getting in contact with them or disturbing them. 

3 – Kealakekua Bay, Big Island 

Kealakekua Bay is a hidden gem on the west coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, offering some of the best snorkeling experiences in the state. This marine life conservation district is a protected cove, meaning the waters here are pristine and filled with diverse marine life. You’ll find colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a manta ray or sea turtle. 

The best way to explore Kealakekua Bay is by taking a guided snorkeling tour. Not only will you have a knowledgeable guide to show you the best spots, but you’ll also get to learn about the area’s history and culture. This bay is also home to the Captain Cook Monument, a historical site marking the spot where Captain Cook first made contact with the Hawaiian people. So not only will you get to experience the beauty of the underwater world, but you’ll also get a taste of Hawaii’s rich history if you’re going to visit Kealakekua Bay.

4 – Puako Coral Gardens, Big Island 

Big Island’s Puako Coral Gardens is an underwater paradise that offers a vibrant and diverse ecosystem, with over 150 species of tropical fish and a wide variety of coral formations. The azure waters here are perfect for snorkeling, allowing for excellent visibility and an up-close experience with its marine life.  

If you plan to snorkel on your own, check the weather and water conditions before heading out. Strong winds and rough waters can make snorkeling difficult and even dangerous. It’s also recommended to wear a rash guard or wetsuit to protect your skin from the sun and any potential jellyfish stings. 

5 – Tunnels Beach, Kauai 

If you’re looking for a more adventurous snorkeling experience, head to the outer reef of Tunnels Beach. The waters here are deeper, and you’ll have the chance to see larger marine life, such as sea turtles, octopuses, and even reef sharks. It’s important to note that the outer reef can be a bit more challenging to navigate, so ensure you’re comfortable with your snorkeling skills before venturing out. 

For those who want to make the most of their day at Tunnels Beach, arrive early to avoid the crowds and secure a parking spot. You’ll also want to bring snacks and plenty of water, as no facilities are nearby. And don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen, as Hawaii has strict regulations on protecting its fragile coral reefs. 

Wrapping Up 

Snorkeling in Hawaii is a magical experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned snorkeler, there’s something for everybody to enjoy in the majestic waters surrounding the beautiful Hawaii islands.  

Remember to always be respectful of marine life and their habitat, and practice responsible snorkeling to ensure that these incredible natural wonders remain preserved for generations to come. So, grab your snorkel gear, dive in, and ready yourself to explore the underwater wonders of Hawaii.