You will find the best snorkeling in Hawaii on the Big Island and Maui. Oahu and Kauai have some good snorkeling too, but it simply does not compare.
The Big Island in our mind is the island with the best snorkeling in Hawaii. There are numerous healthy coral reefs, lots of fish, clear water, many locations and easy access.
One of the very best snorkeling spots on the Big Island is Two Steps. It has everything and is a joy to snorkel. Another spectacular snorkeling location here is Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay. Best accessed by boat, the visibility is incredible and the sea life fantastic.
This list would not be complete without mentioning the unique world class snorkeling at Kapoho Tide Pools on the east side of the island. This area is made up of tide pools in lava rock that are full of colorful life and an adventure to explore. Click here to read many more of our insights about the snorkeling on the Big Island.
Maui comes in a very close second to the Big Island. The access in Maui is more often from one of the many beautiful beaches on the island and there are many sea turtles here. Po'olenalena Beach, in the Makena area of Maui, is the perfect example of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. The reef is healthy and interesting and the turtles and fish are abundant. In west Maui, Kahekili Beach and Kapalua Beach are also great snorkeling spots, with healthy reef, turtles and fish to see. Check out our Maui main page to read why we love snorkeling there.
One of the great things about snorkeling in Hawaii is that you can do most of it for free. There are boat trips that take you to some great snorkeling in Hawaii, but there is so much you can do on your own. If you are planning a trip and snorkeling is your focus, consider going to the Big Island or Maui or both.
Our Hawaii Snorkeling Guide eBook will show you all the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island and Maui, as well as for Kauai and Oahu.
We hope you find this helpful for your planning and feel free to tell us all where you think the best snorkeling is!