Volume 5 No.2 Summer 2009 800.574.1909 

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Best Snorkel Spots in Hawaii

If you’ve ever marveled at the sites and colors in a salt water aquarium then snorkeling is for you. There’s nothing quite like drifting along in the ocean peering magnificent sea life below you. You’ll see colors you never knew existed as hundreds of tropical fish swim by. If this sounds like fun, then you’ve come to the right place as Hawaii has some of the best snorkeling in the world. But which beaches are best to see all the ocean has to offer? Read on to find some of our favorite snorkel spots in Hawaii.

Maui - Black Rock

Skill Level- Easy-to-Intermediate
This legendary snorkel spot fronting the Sheraton Maui is one of the best known snorkeling locations on Maui, and for good reason. There are hundreds of fish and some pretty neat coral formations. The snorkeling is actually worse by the beach in front of the Sheraton, so you’ll want to make your way around the rock where fish and, at times turtles, are abundant. Be careful of strong ocean surges by the tip of the rock, though.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Sheraton Waikiki

Maui - Honokeana Cove

Skill Level- Easy
This hidden gem in Napili is home to quite a few turtles and a calm, reef-protected pool of ocean water.  While you won’t find a sandy beach here there is easy access from the rocks views a few steps which will take you directly into the ocean. Most people know about the beautiful Napili Bay on the other side of the point, but if snorkeling is your game then you won’t want to miss Honokeana Cove.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Honokeana Cove

Kauai - Lydgate State Park

Skill Level- Easy
What makes this spot in Wailua so great for beginners is the area where a ring of boulders protects you from the strong ocean, leaving a calm, pool-like surface for you to enjoy. As an added bonus you’ll find showers, restrooms and two playgrounds. It’s a great place to spend the day- or at least an afternoon.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa

Kauai - Tunnels Beach

Skill Level- Intermediate
This north shore beach is one of the best dive and snorkel spots on the island. Here you’ll find a reef so large it’s visible from space. Though the beach is also popular among surfers and windsurfers, the lack of street parking keeps the area from getting crowded. There are lots of lava tubes and caves to explore and plenty of turtles to be found. Highly recommended.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation

The Big Island - Kahalu'u Beach Park

Skill Level- Easy-to-Intermediate
This is one of the most popular snorkel spots on the Big Island and, once you check it out, you’ll know why.  The water is teaming with fish and you have a better chance to see turtles here rather than anywhere else on the Big Island. You’ll be able to spot the occasional lobster and octopus, too. When you first jump in the water you may wonder what all the fuss is about. That’s because you need to go about 100’ off shore to see where things are really hopping. The entire area is reef protected, though, so you don’t need to worry about being carried out to sea while you’re admiring the underwater sites.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Outrigger Kanaloa at Kona

The Big Island - Kealakekua Bay by the Captain Cook Monument

Skill Level- Easy
If Kahalu’u Beach Park is the best spot on the island for snorkeling, then Kealakekua Bay by the Captain Cook Monument is a close second. The water is calm and the access is easy, so even beginners will have a great experience. A large number of spinner dolphins call this area home, so you have a great chance of spending some quality time with them while you’re there. There are some companies that offer snorkel trips to this area as well. If you choose one go with a morning tour as that’s when the water is calmer and the water at its clearest.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Royal Kona Resort

Oahu - Hanauma Bay

 

Skill Level- Easy
Hanauma Bay is legendary for its thousands of fish so friendly they’ll swim right up and check you out. The water can be a bit cloudy, but you won’t find this number of fish anywhere else in the state. Plus, as an added bonus, on the second Saturday of each month the park stays open past it’s normal closing time of 7pm until 10pm, allowing for some unique night snorkeling. Bring along a water-proof flashlight and you’re in for quite a treat.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Turtle Bay Resort

Oahu - Turtle Beach

Skill Level- Easy
If you’re itching to see some turtles on your trip, then look no further than Turtle Beach. Here you’ll find the most, and friendliest, turtles in the entire state. The water can be a bit cloudy at times, but the turtles are so plentiful, and so friendly, that they more than make up for the occasional murkiness.

Recommended Property with Excellent Accommodations: Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

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