Best Snorkeling Spots in O‘ahu
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced snorkeler, don a mask and fins and dive into O‘ahu’s water wonderland. There are plenty of places to enjoy incredible marine encounters. Plus, it’s easy to social distance while snorkeling! From sharing the ocean with sea turtles in Turtle Canyon to spying schools of butterflyfish in Lanikai Beach, here are the best snorkeling spots in O‘ahu.
Due to COVID-19, beach and water activity may be suspended at any time. We recommend checking City and County of Honolulu or State of Hawai‘i mandates and facility websites for operating hours, updates, and social distancing measures. Be sure to lather up with reef-friendly sunscreen before heading out on the water!
From Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, head straight to the beaches of Waikiki. For the best snorkeling in the area, visit Queens Beach near the Waikiki Aquarium’s sea wall. The snorkeling hotspot is a designated Marine Life Conservation District and consists of a large, flat reef teeming with tropical fish. Explore below the surface near the channel wall before swimming to the outer reef edge, where the depth drops to 15 - 20 feet. (Note: Never touch natural or artificial reefs or sea life! Corals are fragile animals and disturbing them in any way may damage or kill them).
Located in the community of Lanikai in Kailua on O‘ahu’s windward side, Lanikai Beach has consistently been ranked as one of the best beaches in the world! Soft white sand, turquoise waters, and picturesque offshore islands form a stunning backdrop for the half-mile long beach. Lanikai Beach’s underwater topography gets far more interesting. Enter the beach via Mokulua Drive and look for patch reef areas from the beach. Grab a pair of goggles and explore beneath the surface close to shore for a chance to see colorful healthy corals like blue rice, thick finger, and mound. You may even see small tropical fish like butterflyfish, parrotfish, and wrasse.
Hop aboard the Manu Kai Catamaran for a trip to Turtle Canyon. The signature blue and yellow striped Manu Kai Catamaran leaves directly from Waikiki Beach’s shore before arriving at the natural reef. The canyon is a green sea turtle’s paradise, with plenty of areas for the turtles to feed and rest. (Note: Don’t get too close to these endangered animals! Touching sea turtles in Hawai‘i is illegal and may result in federal and state fines. Observers are advised to stay 30 feet away). You don’t have to be a certified diver to come face-to-face with some of Hawai‘i’s most fascinating creatures. The water depth at the canyon is about 30 feet deep and you’re likely to spot an assortment of coral, native fish, eels, octopus, and sea urchins. Manu Kai Catamaran departs the beach three times a day and snorkel gear is included.
The lava-rock beach on the North Shore has been rated by Scuba Diving Magazine as one of the Top Twelve Shore Dives in the World. As part of Pupukea Beach Park, Shark’s Cove has plenty of places to witness enchanting underwater life. The cove’s bottom is made up of large boulders and coral heads which form small caves and ledges, while the surrounding cliff walls attract all sorts of marine life. Once you experience the beauty of the coral reefs, visit the Pupukea tide pools on the south side of Shark’s Cove for all sorts of intriguing creatures thriving beneath the surface.
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel is located just steps away from Kuhio Beach in Waikiki. In addition to a host of amenities, we offer free use of a GoPro Camera to take on your snorkeling adventure, subject to availability. Read more about the amazing amenities at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and start booking your travel plans with us in Waikiki.
Stay longer and enjoy extended discounts with our Escape to Hawai‘i offer and save up to 30% off our standard rates. Read more about the exclusive offers only available on our website and start booking your travel plans with us in Waikiki.