Snorkeling North Shore Oahu – 5 Most Beautiful Locations

Find out where you should spend the day exploring life under the sea with our North Shore snorkeling guide!

Make a splash in the shimmering waters of Oahu! North Shore snorkeling is a must for your bucket list.

You’ll find the North Shore between Kaena Point and Kahuku Point. It stretches across 17 miles of tantalizing beaches. The area is a fan favorite for surfers, sunbathers, and swimmers alike. And snorkeling on Oahu North Shore? Nothing short of completely impressive.

Keep reading to discover which places are the best North Shore snorkeling spots. Grab your snorkeling gear and get ready to dive in!

Shark’s Cove

Pupukea, Oahu

While the name may be daunting, don’t let it fool you! White-tipped reef sharks may be spotted just outside the cove. No worries, though. They’re harmless! These fascinating creatures mean Shark’s Cove offers some of the best snorkeling North Shore.

Part of Pupukea Beach Park, Shark’s Cove is a lava rock beach with unique underwater rock formations and diverse marine life. Colorful tropical fish and turtles are the cove’s constant inhabitants, so you can mix and mingle with the sea life.

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Tidal pools make for calm snorkeling conditions, but only in the summer months. Steer clear of the area in the winter, however, as crashing waves can make the area a dangerous spot for swimming.

Additionally, the tidal pools are rocky. So, water shoes are recommended for navigating the rocks at this snorkeling Oahu North Shore location.

Pro Tip: If you’re after underwater wildlife, make your way to Oahu’s southeast coast to visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve once you’re done snorkeling. While there is a fee for tourists, it is free for locals with a Hawaii driver’s license!

Close up of a girl snorkeling in bright blue water
photo credit: Carolina Garcia via Unsplash

Malaekahana Beach Snorkeling

Kahuku, Oahu

Malaekahana Beach is popular for North Shore snorkeling Oahu, as the waters here are calm and shallow, creating a great environment for snorkeling.

Tourists don’t often know about this hidden gem that offers some of the best snorkeling Oahu North Shore. So, you’ll get a true taste of the culture of Hawaii at this local haunt! Moreover, if you decide to make a night of it, there’s a campground located at this beach.

Green sea turtles are often seen along the coastline. Additionally, Goat Island, just offshore, is a protected seabird sanctuary.

Turtle Bay

Kahuku, Oahu

This bay gets its namesake from the large number of green sea turtles that inhabit the area. It’s also known as Kuilima Cove. You’ll find a reef in the nearshore waters, in addition to numerous rock formations, at this spot for snorkeling on North Shore Oahu.

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Additionally, this beach has quite a few of Hawaii’s famous state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Try saying that five times fast! This abundance of fish makes Turtle Bay a prime place for some of the best snorkeling on North Shore Oahu.

If you plan to hit up this Northshore snorkeling spot, we suggest arriving early. This snorkeling haven gets crowded throughout the day, as it’s located in front of Turtle Bay Resort.

Woman snorkeling with Sea TurtleWaimea Bay

Pupukea, Oahu

In the winter, this bay serves as a world-class surfing spot — with waves up to 40 feet high! During the summer, however, Waimea Bay transforms into a calm oasis that’s one of the best snorkeling North Shore Oahu spots. It’s the deepest bay on the North Shore!

Rock formations on either side of the bay are marine life retreats. You may get to spot a dolphin or two if you’re lucky! Additionally, this is a great spot for cliff-jumping if you’re feeling brave.

Keep a close eye on the colored flags that alert visitors about the water conditions here. Wave conditions tend to rapidly fluctuate at Waimea Bay!

beach with view of shorline and blue ocean during day with blue sky and clouds at Waimea Bay Beach Park in Oahu, Hawaii, USA
photo credit: Désirs d’évasion via Facebook

Mokuleia Beach Park

Waialua, Oahu

This is a great snorkel spot for beginners as well as intermediate snorkelers. Shallow waters and a long, flat reef provide unlimited snorkeling. This secluded area ensures a break from towering buildings and large crowds. However, the lack of lifeguards means you’ll have to be extra careful in the water.

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This sandy beach on the North Shore is a relaxing place to soak up some sun. Grab your snorkel equipment and get ready for the time of your life!

Once you’re ready for a break from the sun and sea after North Shore Oahu snorkeling, the Waialua Sugar Mill is at your ready with refreshing smoothies and energizing coffee.

Woman Snorkeling with FishSnorkeling Tours

A snorkeling tour is one of the best ways to experience the ocean blue in Oahu. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides that will ensure you’re getting the best possible taste of Oahu. You’ll be led to marine creatures, such as sea turtles and dolphins, and even be served delicious noms at times, too!

While these aren’t located on the North Shore, take the chance to see more of the island on one of our favorite tours:

Pro Tip: Speaking of exploring other parts of the island, a unique place to snorkel is Electric Beach, located on Oahu’s southwest coast. An electrical plant near the beach releases warm water into the sea, thus attracting lots of marine life. This means it’s a stellar snorkeling spot!

Happy family - father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool. Travel lifestyle, water sport adventure, swimming on summer beach holiday with kidsOahu Hotels

Of course, you can’t forget about booking a place to rest after your day spent snorkeling in North Shore Oahu! There’s no feeling like diving into a cool haven of freshly-washed sheets after logging several hours in the hot Hawaiian sun.

Moreover, if you book with Tripster, you can rest assured you’re getting a great deal. Here are some of the best Oahu hotels after you snorkel North Shore Oahu:

Snorkel in KauaiGet Ready for Amazing North Shore Snorkeling

Snorkeling North Shore Oahu is a quintessential activity to add to your Hawaii vacation itinerary. Grab your swimsuit, mask, and flippers. Then, dive in! Tropical wonder awaits beneath the waves.

While you’re planning your Oahu North Shore Hawaii snorkeling excursion, don’t forget about the rest of your Oahu trip! Planning for paradise is easy with Tripster’s help. You’ll find hotels and activities that fit your budget, with plenty of advice along the way.

Where Is Your Favorite Place to Snorkel?

Is it in Hawaii or beyond? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by Michaela Satterfield

Michaela is a journalist who views every story she writes as an adventure, leading her to explore new places and meet new people....

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