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The Best Oahu Snorkeling Spots

The best Oahu snorkeling spots give you access to some of this island’s most fascinating underwater sights.

And you don’t have to be an experienced scuba diver to see the wealth of creatures and fish that live in and around the island. You can strap on a mask, flippers, and mask, then hit the water.

There are a number of beaches on the beautiful island of Oahu that are perfect for underwater sightseeing and creature-spotting.

Here are our top five spots:

  1. Hanauma Bay

While this location can be a little crowded in the high season – with tourists trying to get a peek at different species of fish and turtles – there is a reason Hanauma Bay is so popular.

It has clear, calm waters and it’s a great Oahu snorkeling spot for beginners. Also, it has easy access and a passage through the reef, which is perfect for more experienced snorkelers.

  1. Three Tables

Three Tables is a small and sandy beach that has access to some of the best coral on Oahu.

Best explored during the summer, when the water is calmer, the exposed area can be a little dangerous for inexperienced snorkelers and it’s best to use caution when swimming here. Make sure you follow lifeguard instructions and come back to shore if the waves begin to get too strong.

You’ll be certain to see a number of native sea creatures, fish and stunning coral here.

  1. Kuilima Cove

One of the calmest and most serene beaches on the island, Kuilima Cove, is also one of the best places to snorkel – especially for beginners and young children.

Found on Oahu’s famous north shore, the beach is less well-known and is often a little quieter than other beaches in the area. The shallow water is full of coral and various species of fish, including a number of the Hawaii State Fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa fish.

  1. Makaha Beach Park

The clear, blue waters at Makaha Beach Park are what attracts visitors back to this Oahu snorkeling spot every summer.

Expect to see everything from taape, octopuses and eels to dolphins, green sea turtles and manta rays.

For the more adventurous snorkeler there are caverns, arches and tunnels that are up to 40-feet-deep and offer some great underwater views of the island’s sea life.

  1. Kapiolani Park Beach

Head to the center of the park at Kapiolani Park Beach to find the best snorkeling spot, also known as Queen’s Beach or Queen’s Surf Beach.

The waters are usually calm here and while the spot is known mostly for its bodyboarding surf, there is a spot in front of the Waikiki Aquarium that has some gorgeous reef for snorkeling. As with a lot of the beaches in Oahu, be aware of the currents and changes in the waves, and stay safe.


You can also try one of the most famous spots Shark’s Cove if you are an experienced snorkeler or want to scuba dive, or the beautiful Kahe Point Beach Park.


If you prefer to see the island with a guided snorkeling tour then let Hawaii Turtle Tours help you. We offer you a snorkeling adventure in the hands of our experienced guides, as well as insight into Oahu culture and landscape.

Tours are very popular so please book your spot well in advance.

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