Let the Hawaii Vacation Guide take you on a snorkeling adventure on the Big Island! In this informative article, they outline the top 5 snorkeling spots on the island, complete with details on swimming with Spinner Dolphins, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, and Manta Rays. They also provide valuable tips for snorkeling and recommend renting gear instead of buying. From Waialea Bay to Captain Cook Monument, this article has everything you need to plan your snorkeling excursions on the Big Island.
Join Jordan and Erica, the experts from The Hawaii Vacation Guide, as they share their personal favorite snorkel spots on the Big Island. With their wealth of knowledge and experience, they provide valuable information on ease of access, safety, visibility, restroom facilities, and parking at each location. From Waialea Bay at Hapuna Recreation Area to Captain Cook Monument on Kealakekua Bay, you can trust their recommendations for an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Plus, they offer valuable tips on snorkel gear rental and safety precautions to ensure a fun and safe adventure in the Hawaiian waters.
Top 5 Snorkel Beaches on the Big Island, Hawaii
If you’re a snorkeling enthusiast or just looking to explore the amazing marine life of Hawaii, the Big Island is the perfect destination for you. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant corals, and diverse marine species, this picturesque island has numerous snorkel spots to offer. Here, we have compiled a list of the top five snorkel beaches on the Big Island, each with its unique features and abundant marine life.
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Spot #5: Why Beach (Beach 69)
Starting off our list is the beautiful Why Beach, also known as Beach 69. This spot offers excellent snorkeling opportunities and is easily accessible. The name “Why Beach” came from its marker number on the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. With its tranquil waters and stunning underwater world, Why Beach is a must-visit for snorkelers of all levels.
Why Beach provides an idyllic setting for snorkeling, boasting an array of colorful corals and an abundance of marine life. You’ll likely encounter various species of fish, including tropical fish like angelfish, butterflyfish, and parrotfish. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some moray eels hiding among the rocks.
One of the reasons Why Beach is popular among snorkelers is its easy access. There is a short walk from the parking lot to the beach, making it convenient for those carrying snorkel gear. The beach also offers clean restrooms, which is a bonus for those who want to freshen up after their snorkeling adventures.
It is worth noting that Why Beach has little to no lifeguard presence. Therefore, it is important to be cautious and aware of the ocean conditions. Always adhere to safety guidelines and keep an eye on changing tides and currents while snorkeling at Why Beach.
Spot #4: Richardson Ocean Park (Hilo)
Located in Hilo, Richardson Ocean Park offers snorkelers a fantastic opportunity to explore the underwater wonders of the Big Island. Rated as one of the top snorkel spots in Hilo, this park is known for its easy accessibility and remarkable marine life.
Richardson Ocean Park is a great place to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known as honu, in their natural habitat. These graceful creatures can often be found swimming near the rocky shoreline or basking in the sun on the beach. Snorkelers can swim alongside these gentle giants and witness their majestic beauty up close.
In addition to the sea turtles, Richardson Ocean Park boasts an impressive diversity of marine species. Keep an eye out for colorful tropical fish darting through the coral reefs, as well as elusive octopuses and eels lurking in the crevices.
One of the advantages of snorkeling at Richardson Ocean Park is the availability of restrooms and showers. After an exciting snorkeling session, you can rinse off and freshen up before continuing your adventures on the Big Island.
Spot #3: Kailua Kona Beach Park
Kailua Kona Beach Park, also known as Kamakahonu Beach or King Kamehameha Beach, offers a snorkeling experience that is hard to beat. This popular spot is widely known for its beautiful coral formations, tropical fish, and safe swimming conditions.
Here, you’ll find an abundance of fish species, including tangs, wrasses, and triggerfish. The clear turquoise waters are teeming with life, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. Make sure to bring an underwater camera to capture the incredible sights you’ll encounter beneath the surface.
Kailua Kona Beach Park provides additional amenities that enhance the snorkeling experience. The presence of lifeguards ensures an added level of safety, giving snorkelers peace of mind while they explore the underwater world. Moreover, the beach offers reef-safe sunscreen, allowing you to protect your skin without causing harm to the delicate coral reefs.
The water at Kailua Kona Beach Park is generally shallow, making it ideal for beginners or those looking for a relaxing snorkeling experience. The calm conditions allow for easy navigation and observation of the vibrant marine life that thrives in these waters.
Spot #2: Two Steps (Honaunau Bay)
Known for being one of the best snorkel spots on the Big Island, Two Steps, located in Honaunau Bay, offers an incredible underwater adventure that will leave you in awe. This unique snorkeling location gets its name from the natural lava formation that resembles two steps leading into the water.
As you descend down the steps, you’ll be greeted by an underwater paradise filled with an impressive variety of marine life. Two Steps is particularly famous for its spinner dolphins, which can often be spotted in the bay. Snorkeling alongside these playful creatures is an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed.
The marine diversity at Two Steps is extraordinary, with an array of vibrant corals, tropical fish, and even manta rays if you’re lucky. Explore the coral gardens and drift along with the gentle current as you discover the hidden wonders beneath the surface.
Two Steps has limited restroom facilities, so it’s advisable to use the restroom before arriving at the snorkel spot. Additionally, parking can be limited, especially during peak snorkeling hours. It’s best to arrive early to secure a parking spot and make the most of your time in the water.
Spot #1: Captain Cook Monument
Topping our list of the top snorkel beaches on the Big Island is the renowned Captain Cook Monument. Situated in Kealakekua Bay, this iconic snorkeling spot offers an unmatched underwater experience that is simply breathtaking.
Kealakekua Bay is a marine life conservation district, and as a result, the waters are teeming with an abundance of marine species. Snorkelers at the Captain Cook Monument can expect encounters with an incredible variety of tropical fish, such as yellow tangs, butterflyfish, and Moorish idols.
One of the highlights of snorkeling at the Captain Cook Monument is the chance to swim with pods of spinner dolphins that often frequent the bay. These majestic creatures are known for their acrobatic displays, and being able to witness them in their natural habitat is truly remarkable.
To snorkel at the Captain Cook Monument, you have multiple options. You can hike down the steep trail from the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, or you can choose to go by boat or kayak. Regardless of the method you choose, this snorkeling spot is well worth the effort.
In conclusion, the Big Island of Hawaii offers a plethora of incredible snorkel beaches that cater to snorkelers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, these top five snorkel spots, including Why Beach, Richardson Ocean Park, Kailua Kona Beach Park, Two Steps, and the Captain Cook Monument, are guaranteed to provide you with unforgettable underwater adventures. So grab your snorkel gear and dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Big Island, where a world of marine wonders awaits you.