Top 7 Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu

Hoping to do some snorkeling on Oahu? Keep reading for the 7 best places for Oahu snorkeling you’ll want to add to your Oahu itinerary!
This best snorkeling on Oahu post was originally published November 25, 2019 and was updated October 31, 2021 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Snorkeling on Oahu is one of those things that’s going to change the way you think about Hawaii.

Sure, you’ve seen some amazing things, but you’ve never seen anything like this! Some of the best places for snorkeling in Oahu include places you wouldn’t expect.

Snorkeling in Hawaii is such a perfect way to see marine life the way it was meant to be seen. If you’re never done it before, here’s your chance.

So, let’s dive in (get it?) with my top Oahu snorkeling spots!

And be sure to check out 101 things to do on Oahu with kids!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu.

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Oahu Snorkeling FAQs

Does Oahu have good snorkeling?

For sure! And there are beaches perfect for all snorkeling levels. Oahu also has some cool diving spots.

Where can I snorkel with turtles on Oahu?

You can visit Turtle Beach on your own for a good chance at seeing turtles in the wild. Or you can join a snorkeling tour from Waikiki or Honolulu to take you directly to Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

Where can you snorkel in winter on Oahu?

North Shore waves are really rough in the winter, making it nearly impossible to snorkel up there. Instead, head to Hanauma Bay or Shark’s Cove for calmer water.

Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

Top 7 Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu

Snorkeling on Oahu is a popular activity. It’s pretty amazing what lies just beneath the surface of the water surrounding this beautiful island.

You have a chance to see turtles, stingrays, tropical fish, and so much more. Snorkeling allows you to see marine life only a few feet away from you.

You’ll see so much more than you’d be able to on a boat. Most people want the full experience when they are visiting Oahu, and snorkeling is one way to do that.

1. Kahe Point Beach Park

This great snorkeling spot is located between Nanakuli and Ko Olina on the west coast of Oahu.

The most unique part of Kahe Point Beach Park is that you can dive and snorkel all in the same spot. If you have a desire to do both, great! If not, you can do one or the other.

While there are no lifeguards in this area, it’s worth the risk for a lot of people. Kahe Point Beach is considered some of the best snorkeling on Oahu because there’s sea life you won’t find anywhere else on the island!

2. Shark’s Cove

Although this sounds like the last place you would want to get into the water, Shark’s Cove is a very popular place to snorkel.

Sharks Cove is one of the best places to snorkel on Oahu. Image of a rocky reef with calm water.

This is one of the best places for snorkeling in Oahu because it’s located between Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore.

Because of this, Shark’s Cove enjoys surprisingly calm waters for a North Shore Beach!

The marine life located here is mesmerizing, and because of the amazing visibility in the water, you won’t miss a thing.

Shark’s Cove is a hidden gem of Oahu, and one of the best spots for snorkeling.

3. Kuilima Cove (Turtle Bay)

Another one of the best places for snorkeling in Oahu is Kuilima Cove. It’s an ideal location for people who are new to snorkeling.

Kuilima Cove is one of the best places to snorkel on Oahu North Shore. Image of a calm beach in Hawaii.

If you are staying at the Turtle Bay Resort and are looking for an Oahu snorkeling spot that is close to you, this is probably the place!

The local hotels maintain this area, but it’s open to anyone who wants to snorkel. And if you’re staying in this area, it’s super easy to access Kuilima Cove.

4. Three Tables

Three Tables is also located next to Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore. Snorkeling at Three Tables is best for those with more experience.

Another top Oahu snorkeling spot is Three Tables beach in North Shore Oahu. Image of a sandy beach and fairly calm water.

There are days when Three Tables experiences very heavy currents, and it’s not safe to get in the water then.

Also, this is a great location if you want to see tons of tropical fish and plant life!

5. Turtle Canyon

Are you looking for the best snorkeling on Oahu that most people don’t know about? Then check out Turtle Canyon.

It’s a reef off the coast of Waikiki, and you can only get to it by boat.

Turtles like to come here to eat and rest on the reef. And this makes for an awesome snorkeling experience for you!

You could rent kayaks in Waikiki and come out here, but I suggest booking a turtle snorkeling adventure. You can read about the best tours below.

6. Waimea Bay

For the best snorkeling on Oahu, visit Waimea Bay. It’s the perfect place for snorkelers of all skill levels. If you don’t go anywhere else, come here!

Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Waimea Bay is a great snorkeling spot on Oahu
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

During the summer, this place is pure heaven for snorkelers.

The waters are calm, and the dolphins hang out here in the early morning. You’ll get to see tropical fish, seals, turtles, and dolphins.

Keep in mind that Waimea Bay is on the North Shore. It can be dangerous in the winter months, with waves reaching almost 40 feet high.

7. Waianae Coast

Another popular place for snorkeling on Oahu is the Waianae Coast. This part of Hawaii is absolutely beautiful.

Even if you don’t go snorkeling here, it’s worth checking out by boat tour.

And if you have never been snorkeling before this is a good place to start. The waters are calm, and there are tons of fish and even whales!

You can also see stingrays and eels when you snorkel near the Waianae Coast.

Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: There are tons of great Oahu snorkeling spots like this one
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Best Snorkeling on Oahu: 5 Top Tours

Don’t want to jump into the waters of Hawaii without having someone help you? There are some awesome snorkeling tours available in Oahu.

Oahu Snorkel Tour

Swim within safe viewing distance to dolphins and green sea turtles on this popular Oahu snorkel cruise from Honolulu. Check out the latest prices and more details.

You’ll start with a traditional Hawaiian ceremony wishing you a safe journey. Then, you’ll sail into waters that are home to spinner dolphins and colorful fish.

Get discounted Oahu Snorkel Cruise tickets

Oahu Shark Dive

Set out from Oahu’s scenic North Shore to the depths of the Pacific. At your destination, you’ll have the chance to observe wild sharks from inside an underwater shark cage! Check out the latest prices and more details.

You can choose to get in the cage with sharks right in front of you or watching from up in the boat. Either way, Oahu shark diving is a Hawaii activity you’ll definitely never forget.

Get discounted Oahu Shark Dive tickets

Turtle Canyon Snorkel Tour

Board a catamaran and sail along the shore of Oahu with views of Waikiki. You’ll head to the island’s best place to spot resident turtles. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Here, turtle sightings are guaranteed! If a turtle is not sighted, you will be given a free 2nd cruise.

Get discounted Turtle Canyon Snorkel Tours

Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

Ride a personal, self-propelled, electric underwater scooter through Oahu’s underwater world. Check out the latest prices and more details.

During this unique 2-hour tour, you’ll cruise past Diamond Head Crater through Maunalua Bay on a catamaran.

Then you’ll dive under the surface on your scooter to see green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, and other native marine life.

Get discounted Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure tickets

Captain Bob’s Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Snorkel

The Kaneohe Bay Sandbar is one of Oahu’s best-kept secrets. This is a 4-hour tour where you’ll get a fun boat ride, a Hawaiian-style BBQ lunch, and snorkel in a pristine tropical reef.

You can also go swimming, play water volleyball, or float around on the water. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Get discounted Kaneohe Sandbar Snorkeling Tour tickets

Best Snorkeling on Oahu Wrap Up

Now you know where to find some of the best snorkeling in Oahu, Hawaii!

Snorkeling on Oahu is an excellent idea for an island adventure. There’s no shortage of spots to go snorkeling on Oah.

Plus, there are plenty of companies to take you on the adventure if you prefer.

I hope you found some best places to snorkel in Oahu with your family!

Love this Oahu snorkeling guide and want to know more fun things to do on Oahu? Check out our guides to the best Oahu luaus, best North Shore beaches, places to kayak on Oahu, and North Shore surfing guide!

2 thoughts on “Top 7 Places for the Best Snorkeling on Oahu”

  1. Took your advice and went on the Oahu Snorkeling tour with hubby and 2 keiki (ages 7 & 9). We love the water and snorkeling but NOT with 65 other people. Was impossible to see much without getting kicked in the face by those who are not as skilled with fins. Kids did enjoy water slide and staff was nice. We saw other boats with smaller groups that the dolphins seemed to prefer over the frantic scene feom our group.

    • Oh no! That is a lot of people for a tour. Some times of year are more crowded than others, so it might have been peak season. I’m glad your kids had fun on the water slide!

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