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Best Hawaii Snorkeling: Oahu Hotspots

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Picking the best Hawaii snorkeling spots is a tough job – you’ll find no shortage of options on the beautiful island of Oahu. From privately guided catamaran tours to do-it-yourself adventures, there’s something for every taste. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best snorkeling options to be found.

Starting at Waikiki, you’ll find several underwater adventure options, ranging from snorkeling by the beach to full scale passenger cruises which take you out away from the crowds for a day of boat-play.   Snorkeling, kayaking and rafting tours are all included, topped off by a BBQ lunch.

Moving clockwise around the island will bring you to Kahe Point Beach Park, just north of the Ko Olina Resorts. Nicknamed Electric Beach due to its proximity to an electric plant, this area offers some incredible snorkeling for moderate to advanced swimmers thanks to the heat put out by the plant’s underwater pipes. Not only can you spot green sea turtles and a plethora of fish, but Kahe Beach is also one of Oahu’s key resting areas for spinner dolphins.

Not far north of Kahe, you’ll come across the world famous Shark’s Cove. This area is only good for snorkeling during the summer months, but it boasts an impressive amount of sea life to explore.  Also, don’t forget the Pupukea tide pools on the south side of the Cove – they are a great place to take the family for a day at the beach.
A wonderful place for beginning snorkelers on the North Shore is a little cove about 15 minutes north of Pupukea known as Kuilima. This gem is found on the eastern edge of Turtle Bay and is protected by a natural rock barrier making it an almost aquarium-like experience for snorkeling – plus, the water is only about neck deep, so it is safe for kids and beginners alike.

The North Shore also offers several catamaran cruises out into the ocean blue. Many of these tours only run from May to September, and allow a maximum of 16 passengers; book early!

Swinging down along the windward side of the island brings you to Kaneohe Bay, a 7,500 acre inlet comprising the largest body of sheltered water in the Hawaiian Islands and the only bay in the state with a barrier reef. Captain Bob’s catamaran will take you out to the sandbar for a day of BBQs and clear-water snorkeling, or you simply hang out in the inlet and explore the 56 shallow coral reefs along the bay.
Last, but certainly not the last on this list of sites to explore on Oahu, is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This area is home to over 450 species of the tamest fish you’ll find on the island and offers a variety of underwater adventure options for all skill levels ranging from small group, private snorkeling tours to an adventurous ride on the “DUCK” – an amphibious vehicle that takes you from the Koko Marina to Diamond Head and back.

When it comes to best Hawaii snorkeling, you can’t go wrong booking adventures on Oahu. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to find the Hawaii snorkeling adventure of your dreams!
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