Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The 10 Best Snorkeling Tours On Oahu, Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Willette Bowers



Ah, the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii! With its crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, it’s no wonder that Oahu is a haven for snorkeling enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Oahu offers a variety of snorkeling tours that will take you on an unforgettable underwater adventure.


In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 best snorkeling tours on Oahu, guaranteeing you an extraordinary and immersive experience. From popular tourist destinations to hidden gems, Oahu has something for everyone.


But before we dive into the list, let’s briefly discuss the importance of responsible snorkeling. As adventurers, we have a duty to protect and preserve the delicate marine ecosystems. It’s vital to practice sustainable snorkeling by not touching or damaging the coral reefs, avoiding the use of sunscreen that contains harmful chemicals, and always following the instructions of your tour guides.


Now, grab your snorkel gear and let’s dive in!


Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is undoubtedly one of the most popular snorkeling destinations on Oahu. Located on the southeastern coast of the island, this picturesque bay is a nature preserve and a marine life conservation area. Its calm, clear waters and abundance of marine life make it the perfect spot for snorkelers of all skill levels.


The bay is home to over 450 species of fish, vibrant coral reefs, and even the occasional sea turtle. As you snorkel in Hanauma Bay, you’ll be surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors and mesmerizing underwater landscapes. Keep your eyes peeled for Hawaii’s state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.


To ensure the preservation of the bay’s fragile ecosystem, visitors are required to watch a short educational video before entering the park. The video provides essential information about the marine life and the measures visitors should take to minimize their impact on the environment.


Snorkeling equipment is available for rental at the entrance, making it convenient for visitors who don’t have their own gear. There are also lifeguards on duty, ensuring the safety of all snorkelers.


It’s important to note that Hanauma Bay operates on a limited capacity system, encouraging visitors to arrive early to secure their spot. This measure helps control the number of tourists in the bay and minimizes the impact on the marine life.


Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner looking to explore the underwater world, Hanauma Bay is a must-visit destination on Oahu. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty as you snorkel through the bay’s pristine waters and marvel at the incredible marine biodiversity.


Shark’s Cove

Contrary to its name, Shark’s Cove in Oahu is not actually known for its shark sightings. Instead, it is celebrated for its incredible marine life and unique rock formations, making it a popular snorkeling spot for adventurers seeking a thrilling experience.


Located on the iconic North Shore of Oahu, Shark’s Cove is a protected marine reserve that offers a diverse underwater ecosystem. The cove is teeming with an abundance of colorful fish, sea turtles, and various coral formations.


Snorkeling in Shark’s Cove feels like entering an underwater maze with its intricate rock formations and lava tubes, creating a kaleidoscope of blue and green hues. The water is usually calm, making it suitable for both beginner and experienced snorkelers.


Before you plunge into the water, make sure to bring your own snorkeling gear, as rentals are not available nearby. It’s also advisable to check the current weather and surf conditions, as the North Shore is known for its powerful waves during the winter months.


For the more adventurous snorkelers, exploring the outer rim of Shark’s Cove is highly recommended. Here, you might encounter larger marine species like white-tipped reef sharks (hence the name “Shark’s Cove”), octopuses hiding in the crevices, and even the occasional eagle ray gracefully swimming by.


If you’re not in the mood for snorkeling, you can still enjoy the natural beauty of Shark’s Cove from above. Take a stroll along the rocky shoreline and marvel at the stunning coastal scenery or have a picnic while soaking in the breathtaking views.


Remember to respect the coral and marine life by avoiding standing or stepping on the reefs. Let’s ensure that future adventurers can continue to enjoy Shark’s Cove’s natural wonders for years to come.


So, if you’re ready to embark on an underwater adventure filled with awe-inspiring marine life and captivating rock formations, don’t miss the chance to snorkel at Shark’s Cove in Oahu.


Kahe Point Beach Park (Electric Beach)

Kahe Point Beach Park, also known as Electric Beach, is a hidden gem nestled on the western coast of Oahu. It has gained its nickname due to the proximity of the neighboring power plant, which pumps warm water into the ocean, attracting a plethora of marine life.


Snorkeling at Electric Beach is a unique experience, as the warm water creates an ideal environment for tropical fish and sea turtles. The abundance of nutrients from the plant’s outflow supports the growth of vibrant coral reefs, making it a haven for snorkelers and marine enthusiasts.


As you enter the crystal-clear waters, you’ll be greeted by schools of colorful fish darting amongst the coral. Keep an eye out for the majestic Hawaiian green sea turtles gliding through the water gracefully, sometimes coming up for a breath of air right beside you.


One of the highlights of snorkeling at Electric Beach is the opportunity to witness the incredible biodiversity found in the underwater ecosystems. From unique coral formations to a variety of fish species, there is always something new to discover.


It’s important to note that snorkeling at Electric Beach can be challenging at times due to strong currents, especially during high surf conditions. It’s advisable to check the weather and surf reports before heading to the beach. Additionally, you should exercise caution and be mindful of your swimming abilities.


To access the beach, there’s a short walk from the parking area, and there are restrooms and showers available for your convenience. You might also notice the remnants of an old pier nearby, adding a touch of history and charm to the beach.


Remember to bring your own snorkeling gear, as rentals are not readily available in the area. And most importantly, practice responsible snorkeling by respecting the marine life and coral reefs.


If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path snorkeling experience that offers a unique opportunity to witness the incredible marine diversity that thrives near a power plant, then Electric Beach in Kahe Point Beach Park is the perfect destination for you.


Three Tables Beach

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Three Tables Beach is a picturesque destination that offers exceptional snorkeling opportunities. The name “Three Tables” refers to the three large flat rock formations found just offshore, resembling tables.


Snorkeling at Three Tables Beach is like entering an underwater wonderland. The water is remarkably clear, providing excellent visibility to observe the vibrant marine life below. Colorful fish, sea turtles, and even small reef sharks can be spotted as you explore the coral reefs.


One of the unique features of Three Tables Beach is the tidal pools created by the rock formations. These pools are perfect for children or beginner snorkelers as they offer a calm and shallow environment to observe smaller marine organisms up close.


If you venture a bit further from the shore, you’ll encounter a variety of coral formations and larger fish species. The diversity of the underwater ecosystem at Three Tables Beach never fails to impress, making it a favorite spot for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.


When planning a visit to Three Tables Beach, it’s essential to check the surf conditions beforehand. During the winter months, the North Shore can experience powerful waves, which can make snorkeling unsafe. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and choose calm days for your snorkeling adventure.


There are no rental facilities at Three Tables Beach, so be sure to bring your own snorkeling gear. Additionally, it’s recommended to bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin and the delicate marine environment.


After a rewarding snorkeling session, take a moment to relax on the sandy beach and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The lush green mountains in the background and the sound of crashing waves create a tranquil and soothing atmosphere.


Remember, as with any snorkeling experience, it’s important to be respectful of the marine life and coral reefs. Avoid touching or standing on the reefs to preserve their fragile ecosystem.


If you’re searching for a snorkeling paradise on the North Shore of Oahu, look no further than Three Tables Beach. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater world and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Makaha Beach Park

If you’re looking for a snorkeling spot on the western coast of Oahu, Makaha Beach Park is a must-visit destination. Situated in the vibrant town of Makaha, this beach park offers pristine waters, stunning scenery, and excellent snorkeling opportunities.


Makaha Beach Park is known for its calm and clear waters, making it an ideal location for snorkeling. The reef system just offshore is teeming with marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even occasional sightings of spinner dolphins.


As you snorkel in Makaha Beach Park, you’ll encounter a variety of coral formations, creating a diverse underwater landscape. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns of the coral, combined with the abundance of fish species, make each snorkeling session a truly immersive experience.


While snorkeling in Makaha Beach Park, keep an eye out for the iconic yellow tangs, butterflyfish, and the elusive Hawaiian monk seal. The marine biodiversity here is truly remarkable, and it offers a glimpse into the underwater wonders of the Hawaiian Islands.


It’s important to note that the water conditions at Makaha Beach Park can vary throughout the year. During the summer months, the water is generally calm and inviting for snorkeling. However, during the winter months, the surf can become quite powerful, creating challenging conditions for snorkelers. It’s crucial to check the surf reports and exercise caution before entering the water.


As with any snorkeling excursion, bringing your own snorkeling gear is recommended since rentals may not be readily available. Additionally, be sure to apply reef-safe sunscreen to protect both your skin and the delicate marine ecosystem.


After a fantastic snorkeling adventure, take the time to relax on the sandy beach and soak up the sun. Makaha Beach Park offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, creating a serene and picturesque backdrop.


Remember to be mindful of the marine environment and practice responsible snorkeling. Avoid touching or stepping on the coral reefs, as they are delicate and easily damaged. By taking care of these precious ecosystems, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of Makaha Beach Park.


If you’re seeking a snorkeling experience on the western coast of Oahu, make your way to Makaha Beach Park. Immerse yourself in the underwater paradise and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Ko Olina Lagoons

Located on the southwestern coast of Oahu, the Ko Olina Lagoons offer a unique snorkeling experience in a tranquil and picturesque setting. This upscale resort area boasts four man-made lagoons that provide calm waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.


The Ko Olina Lagoons are ideal for snorkelers of all skill levels, including beginners and families with children. The protected lagoons offer a safe and peaceful environment to explore the underwater world without worrying about strong currents or large waves.


As you snorkel in the lagoons, you’ll be amazed by the clarity of the water and the abundance of marine life. The turquoise blue water allows for excellent visibility, giving you the opportunity to observe colorful fish, vibrant coral reefs, and maybe even spot a graceful sea turtle gliding by.


Each lagoon at Ko Olina has its own unique characteristics and marine ecosystem. Lagoon Two, in particular, is known for its vibrant coral formations, attracting a diverse range of fish species. Lagoon Four is home to a wide variety of marine life, making it a favorite spot among snorkelers.


To make your snorkeling experience more enjoyable, it’s recommended to bring your own snorkeling gear, as rentals may not be available directly at the lagoons. Additionally, apply reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin and the delicate coral reef ecosystem.


When you’re not snorkeling, take the time to relax on the soft sandy beaches surrounding the lagoons. The pristine white sand, swaying palm trees, and stunning sunsets create a postcard-perfect setting for unwinding.


Within the Ko Olina resort area, you’ll find various amenities such as restaurants, shops, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable and convenient experience for your snorkeling adventure.


While Ko Olina Lagoons offer a more controlled snorkeling experience compared to natural beach settings, it’s still important to be respectful of the marine life and coral reefs. Avoid standing or stepping on the coral, as it is fragile and easily damaged.


Whether you’re planning a family snorkeling excursion or seeking a peaceful getaway, the Ko Olina Lagoons provide an idyllic setting for underwater exploration and relaxation.


So, grab your snorkel gear and embark on a memorable journey through the Ko Olina Lagoons, where serenity and marine beauty await.


Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise

If you’re looking for a unique snorkeling experience combined with a memorable boat ride, the Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise is the perfect choice. This guided snorkeling tour takes you on a thrilling adventure along the beautiful coastline of Waikiki, providing an opportunity to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles.


The cruise departs from Waikiki Beach, where you’ll board a comfortable catamaran with experienced crew members who will guide you throughout the excursion. As you sail along the stunning coastline, take in the panoramic views of the iconic Diamond Head crater and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean.


Once you reach Turtle Canyon, located off the coast of Waikiki, you’ll have the chance to snorkel in crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. While the main highlight is the chance to encounter the mesmerizing Hawaiian green sea turtles, you’ll also come across various species of tropical fish and vibrant coral reefs.


The crew will provide you with snorkeling equipment, including masks, fins, and flotation devices, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for snorkelers of all levels. They will also provide informative commentary about the marine life and the importance of preserving these valuable ecosystems.


Swimming alongside the graceful sea turtles is an extraordinary experience that few forget. These gentle creatures can often be seen gliding through the water or resting on the ocean floor, allowing you to appreciate their beauty up close.


While snorkeling with sea turtles is the highlight of the tour, the Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise offers more than just underwater exploration. On the return journey, you can relax on the catamaran’s spacious deck, sunbathe, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views of the Waikiki coastline.


The crew will also provide light refreshments such as snacks and beverages, allowing you to reenergize after your snorkeling adventure.


It’s important to note that since this snorkel cruise takes place in deeper waters, it may not be suitable for inexperienced or non-swimmers. However, the attentive crew members are always available to assist and ensure your safety throughout the excursion.


Overall, the Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise offers a well-rounded experience of snorkeling, marine wildlife encounters, and a scenic boat ride. It’s the perfect tour for those seeking a unique and memorable snorkeling adventure during their visit to Waikiki.


Waimea Bay

Waimea Bay, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is not only renowned for its impressive surf breaks but also for its exceptional snorkeling opportunities. This iconic beach offers a diverse underwater ecosystem, making it a must-visit spot for snorkelers of all levels.


During the summer months, when the water is calmer, Waimea Bay transforms into a snorkeler’s paradise. The bay’s clear turquoise waters provide excellent visibility, allowing you to observe the vibrant marine life beneath the surface.


As you snorkel in Waimea Bay, you’ll be greeted by an abundance of tropical fish species, including parrotfish, yellow tangs, and butterflyfish. The coral formations are also a sight to behold, with their intricate textures and vibrant colors creating a mesmerizing underwater landscape.


One of the unique features of Waimea Bay is the rock ledge known as “Jump Rock.” Those feeling adventurous can take a leap from the rock into the deep blue water below, adding an extra thrill to their snorkeling experience.


Waimea Bay has lifeguards on duty, ensuring the safety of all beachgoers. It’s important to be mindful of and adhere to any safety instructions provided, especially during periods of higher surf or strong currents.


While snorkeling gear is not available for rent directly at Waimea Bay, there are nearby rental shops where you can acquire the necessary equipment. It’s also advisable to bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect both your skin and the delicate marine environment.


Aside from snorkeling, Waimea Bay offers breathtaking coastal scenery and other beach activities. Take a relaxing stroll along the sandy shore or lounge under the shade of the palm trees. Picnic areas and facilities, including restrooms and showers, are available for your convenience.


Before leaving the bay, make sure to explore the picturesque Waimea Valley, located just behind the beach. This lush tropical garden showcases a variety of native plants and provides a glimpse into Hawaiian cultural and natural history.


Snorkeling in Waimea Bay provides a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the North Shore’s underwater world. Be sure to take advantage of this stunning beach and all it has to offer during your visit to Oahu.


Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach, located on the windward side of Oahu, is often referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With its pristine white sand, gently swaying palm trees, and turquoise waters, it’s no wonder that Lanikai is a snorkeler’s paradise.


The calm and clear waters of Lanikai Beach provide an excellent snorkeling experience for both beginners and experienced snorkelers. The incredibly clear visibility allows you to explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter a multitude of colorful fish species.


As you snorkel along the coastline, you’ll be mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of colors beneath the surface. Schools of tropical fish, including surgeonfish, parrotfish, and butterflyfish, can be seen darting in and out of the coral formations.


One of the highlights of snorkeling in Lanikai Beach is the Mokulua Islands, also known as the Mokes, located just offshore. These twin islets are a natural reserve and offer a unique snorkeling experience. Snorkeling around the Mokes provides the opportunity to spot sea turtles and other marine life in their natural habitat.


To access the Mokulua Islands, you can either take a kayak from Lanikai Beach or join a guided snorkel tour. Exploring these pristine islands and their surrounding waters is an unforgettable adventure that immerses you in the beauty of Hawaii’s marine ecosystem.


It’s important to note that Lanikai Beach does not have a lifeguard on duty, so exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings is vital. Be mindful of the current and surf conditions, and ensure you have the necessary swimming abilities to snorkel safely.


Snorkeling gear is not available for rent directly at Lanikai Beach, so it’s recommended to bring your own equipment. Additionally, remember to wear reef-safe sunscreen to protect both your skin and the delicate coral reefs.


When you’re not snorkeling, take the time to simply relax on the soft sands of Lanikai Beach or enjoy a leisurely walk along the shoreline. The tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking views make for a serene and picturesque experience.


As with any snorkeling adventure, it’s important to respect the marine environment. Avoid touching or standing on the coral reefs to protect their fragile ecosystems and ensure their preservation for future generations.


For an idyllic snorkeling getaway in a tropical paradise, Lanikai Beach is the perfect destination. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater world, explore the Mokulua Islands, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Sharks Galore Snorkel Adventure

For the adventurous souls seeking an exhilarating snorkeling experience, the Sharks Galore Snorkel Adventure is an extraordinary opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most misunderstood creatures – sharks. Located off the coast of Oahu, this thrilling excursion offers a unique chance to snorkel alongside various shark species in their natural habitat.


The tour begins with a boat ride out to the shark-filled waters, guided by experienced professionals who are knowledgeable about shark behavior and safety protocols. Once at the designated snorkeling area, you’ll be fitted with snorkeling gear and given a thorough briefing on how to interact with the sharks responsibly.


As you enter the water, your heart may race with anticipation as you come face to face with these majestic creatures. From the safety of a specially designed shark cage, you’ll witness the beauty and grace of sharks, including the awe-inspiring Galapagos and Sandbar sharks.


The encounter offers a unique perspective on these incredible creatures, allowing you to observe their natural behavior from a close but safe distance. It’s an opportunity to challenge common misconceptions and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for these fascinating predators.


Even though you’ll be in a shark cage, the experience is incredibly immersive. The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, giving you a clear view of the sharks as they swim gracefully around you. The tour guides will share insightful information about the sharks’ biology, natural history, and conservation efforts to further enrich your experience.


It’s important to note that the Sharks Galore Snorkel Adventure is suitable for confident swimmers who are comfortable snorkeling in open water. While the tour provides a controlled environment, it’s still essential to follow the instructions of the guides and abide by safety precautions.


Throughout the tour, you’ll be able to capture incredible memories with underwater photos or videos, so bringing an underwater camera or GoPro is highly recommended.


It’s worth mentioning that this unique snorkeling experience is conducted with the utmost respect for the well-being of the sharks and their natural environment. The tour operators adhere to strict guidelines to ensure that the encounter is safe, educational, and supports shark conservation efforts.


Participating in the Sharks Galore Snorkel Adventure offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break free from traditional snorkeling experiences and gain a deeper appreciation for sharks. It’s a chance to overcome fears, challenge perceptions, and witness firsthand the beauty and importance of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.