Hawaii is a popular destination for water sport enthusiasts, obviously because the entire state is surrounded by water. Each island offers different water and weather conditions, making each island experience completely unique. The water temperature in Hawaii varies between about 72 to 80 degrees year round making water sports ideal the entire year long. You will see an amazing array of sea life while snorkeling in Hawaii such as, sea turtles, manta rays, moray eels, and dolphins.
The best thing about snorkeling is that it doesn’t require a lot of effort and it’s not particularly difficult. Most snorkeling tours will provide all of the necessary equipment, including a mask, snorkel, fins and usually some sort of floatation device. You simply put on your equipment and stick your face in the water, and prepare to be amazed by the sea life surrounding you in this paradise.
On the island of Oahu, Hanauma Bay offers the best snorkeling. It’s located on the southern shore of the island, and it’s a great place for beginners. The water is very shallow and in most cases you would be able to stand, although you shouldn’t because you can damage the precious coral reefs on the bottom of the ocean floor.
Maui offers several snorkeling options. There is black rock, and Kapalua. Another popular snorkeling site is the submerged volcanic crater called Molokini. There are many different options for getting to this destination. Tours leave daily from Ma’alaea and Lahaina Harbors. These are fun tours because they usually serve lunch and have some sort of open bar. I would recommend choosing a smaller boat because it’s less crowed and a little more personal. This will also give you the best opportunity to really see the ocean life.
The best snorkeling of the island of Lana’i can be found at Hulopo’e Beach. This is not an offshore excursion, so the water will be fairly shallow, perfect for children and novice swimmers alike. Here you will see a lava shelf that is home to some spectacular tropical fish. The beach access is a public park complete with a picnic area, so bring your lunch and settle in for the afternoon.
Moloka’i has over thirty miles of barrier reef offering some decent snorkeling, however, not the best in Hawaii. The best place to snorkel on the island of Moloka’i is on twenty mile beach. The reef is extremely shallow and can be rough at times so you should have a back up plan for snorkeling on one of the islands.
The big island of Hawaii offers the most variety in snorkeling options. Kahula Beach is another great spot for beginners. It’s an off beach reef so you can simply go ashore when you’ve had enough. The reef however is impressive enough to please even the most seasoned of reef aficionados. Kealakekua Bay is a popular off shore excursion; this will be a half day adventure complete with lunch and of course cocktails. So whether you are new to the snorkeling scene or you have seen it all, Hawaii will have something to offer you.