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The 5 best snorkeling locations in Hawaii
Today’s Friday Five is all about the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii. Before we start, let me say that this list is kind of subjective. Hawaii has many, many fantastic snorkeling locations. Narrowing it down to the 5 best snorkeling locations in Hawaii is almost impossible. However, I’ve listed my favorite snorkeling spots in Hawaii here. Just keep in mind that there are many more.
When it comes to the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, Kealakekua Bay comes in first on the list. Located on the Big Island, not only is Kealakekua Bay, one of the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii, but it’s also one of my favorite places in Hawaii. Kealakekua Bay is an excellent area to Kayak and is home to wildlife such as turtles, dolphins, and fish. Kealakekua Bay is also a historical site where Captain James Cook landed in 1779.
There are three ways to access the bay, with the first two being substantially more accessible than the third. You can hike in (challenging hike) or take a boat tour or kayak tour. You can also rent kayaks and explore the bay on your own. I recommend the Deluxe Sail and Snorkel tour. Or, you can take Historical Sunset Dinner cruise of Kealakekua Bay if you’d like to see the bay but not snorkel.
Although I wanted to narrow it down to five, I also have to say that the night snorkel with Manta Rays on the Big Island also gets an honorable mention. This unique opportunity is only available on the Big Island. So while it may not be the best snorkeling location in Hawaii, it’s one of the unique snorkeling tours.
Located on Maui, Molokini Crater makes not only my top snorkel locations in Hawaii list but probably any other list ever made. Molokini Crater is one of the best things to do on Maui and is accessed by boat tour. I have a blog post all about the question, “Is Molokini Crater worth it?” Spoiler alert, yes! I like tours with The Calypso or Four Winds Maui. Both are excellent options, but my first choice is the Four Winds.
Black Triggerfish at Molokini Crater.
I know that I tend to neglect Oahu on this blog, so you’ll be happy to see that an Oahu location makes the list. Hanauma Bay is a popular spot on Oahu, and one of the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii. The protected and shallow waters offer an excellent view of the sea life below. I will warn you that this is a very busy beach, but the superb snorkeling makes it worthwhile. Guided tours are also available for just $39 per person.
Located on the North Shore of Kauai, Tunnels Beach (also known as Mauka Beach) offers excellent snorkeling. I believe that this is the best snorkeling spot on Kauai, and it’s also a magnificent beach. Recently reopened after the mudslides in 2018, it’s available for visitors to enjoy once again. Please be away that surf can be high on the North Shore in the winter, so exercise and don’t go out when conditions aren’t favorable. Locals are the best source of knowledge when it comes to safety.
The 5th best location to snorkel in Hawaii was tough for me to choose. I wanted to make sure to include a snorkeling spot from every island, but what to do with #5? I decided to go with Honolua Bay on the island of Maui. If you’re looking for the best island for snorkeling, I do recommend Maui, with the Big Island being a very close second place.
For this reason, I decided to include the popular Hawaii snorkeling location of Honolua Bay. As with Tunnels Beach on Kauai, this is a spot that should probably be avoided in the winter. However, during calmer times, it offers some of the best snorkeling on Maui. You can also take a Sail and Snorkel Tour from Lahaina is you prefer. I enjoy the sail and snorkel tours as they include breakfast, lunch, and several hours of fun!
The best snorkeling locations in Hawaii
There you have it; these 5 spots are some of the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii. There are plenty of other great snorkeling spots; I might create blog posts with snorkeling locations on every island. Let me know in the comments or on Instagram if that’s something you’d like to see. I hope that you’re enjoying the Friday Five. Remember that you can get on Instagram and vote for what you’d like to see, or you can contact me or comment on any recommendations. If you missed last week, I talked about 5 must-have travel items for Hawaii.
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