Snorkeling is one of the best ways to enjoy your tropical vacation. It’s cheap, educational, and allows you to take a good look at the underwater world without having to get scuba certified. And if you’re looking for awesome places to snorkel with the whole family, then Hawaii ought to be at the top of your list.
This world-famous archipelagic destination in the United States boasts stunning beach views with different colors of sand, rugged landscapes of cliffs and waterfalls, warm water temperatures all year round, tropical foliage, and flourishing marine life. Fortunately, there are a couple of snorkeling spots that you can go to in the beautiful islands of Hawaii for an unforgettable underwater experience.
Five Best Places to Snorkel in Hawaii
There are a lot of shallow water areas where you can go snorkeling in Hawaii—and these destinations are bound to take your breath away with their spectacular displays of decorative coral reefs, fascinating underwater animals, as well as endangered sea creatures.
Turtle Town (Maui)
On the southern coastline of the popular island of Maui, historical eruptions of Hawaiian submarine volcanoes have left a series of lava formations where green sea turtles now live. Although you can swim near them, they can’t be touched as they’re considered endangered.
Aside from sea turtles, you’ll also find an abundance of angelfish, moray eels, and octopus. It’s a great spot for snorkelers of all levels and is accessible from Maluaka beach, south of Kihei near the (now closed) Makena Beach & Golf Resort.
Kealakekua Bay (Big Island)
Kealakekua Bay, also known as Captain Cook on the Big Island, is another popular snorkeling spot because of its abundance of marine life and easy accessibility. Start the trip by kayaking along its calm waters, where you’re likely to witness Hawaiian spinner dolphins showing off their acrobatic skills.
Once you’re past the protected shoreline of Ka’awaloa, you can jump out and snorkel alongside turtles, eels, rays, and even reef sharks. As long as you’re not on your own, you can dock on shore and take a nice picnic break near the popular Captain James Cook monument.
Poipu Beach Park (Kauai)
Located 25 minutes west of Lihue off the south coast of Kauai, Poipu Beach is popular among different kinds of water lovers. Snorkelers will find blue parrotfish, sea cucumbers, and even Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. The beach also offers a shallow-water lagoon, as well as a thriving wildlife sanctuary for families and kids to enjoy.
Don’t forget to look out for lounging monk seals on the shoreside, as well as humpbacks offshore during whale season between the months of November and March.
Fringing Reef (Molokai)
By boat or kayak, you can travel from the south coast of Molokai to the longest and richest barrier reef in Hawaii. Prepare to be wowed by hawksbill turtles, spotted eagle rays, over a hundred species of reef fish, miles and miles of beautiful corals, as well as thousands of whales who are willing to serenade each other and their visitors.
For the best experience, get a tour guide at Molokai and visit during the whale-watching season between December and March.
Molokini Crater (Maui)
Last but not the least on this shortlist of the best snorkeling in Hawaii is this distinctive volcanic crater just off the coast of Maui. Molokini Crater’s crescent shape protects an area of water from waves, currents, and wind, so visitors can enjoy calm and crystal clear waters when snorkeling.
As you can imagine, it’s not only swimmers who love the serenity of Molokini Crater but also reef fish and other aquatic animals that frequent Hawaiian waters, so you’ll also get the perfect opportunity to take underwater photos.