One look at our blog roll and you’ll see that we’re big on providing our readers and customers with tips about the best activities near Honolulu International Airport. We’ve covered everything from hiking to surfing, and now we divert our focus under the sea. Today we take a look at the best places to go so that you can squeeze in one more snorkel before your flight from HNL, or should you want to explore a local reef minutes after you arrive while awaiting that pesky 3 PM hotel check-in.
Three Best and Most Convenient Snorkeling Spots Near Honolulu International Airport
Kahe Point Beach Park (19.7 Miles / 20-25 Minutes by Shuttle)
This advanced West Oahu reef near Ko Olina is one of the most unique places on Oahu to snorkel, and given that it requires a bit of a swim, should only be enjoyed by beginners in the summer when the waters are more calm. In addition to providing one of the most clear and deep blue snorkeling spots on the island, its most defining characteristic is found in the fact that Kahe Point (aka Electric Beach) is located where an electric plant outflows clean warm water through two giant cooling pipes offshore. The result, is a water temperature that is several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean, a big bonus for those that otherwise prefer to wear a spring suit when snorkeling in deeper Oahu seas. The warmer water also attracts a more diverse species of fish (butterfly fish, parrot fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa, giant urchin, the Hawaiian green sea turtle, and more), delivering a sight that you won’t find anywhere else on the island.
Waikiki – Queens Beach (9.2 Miles+ / 20-30 Minutes by Shuttle)
Yes, there is decent snorkeling near Waikiki beach, reef spots where you won’t be exposed to submerged and overexposed visitors from the likes of Milwaukee or Hoboken. The rock jetty at Queens Beach is super easy to get to, and if you have someone in your party throw breadcrumbs from the jetty into the water where you’re snorkeling you will get wonderfully swarmed by all sorts of tropical species, including our state fish the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, in addition to a flurry of butterfly fish, needlefish (they don’t poke), barracuda (they won’t bite), and even the odd puffer fish.
Ko Olina Lagoons (19.5 Miles+ / 20-25 Minutes by Shuttle)
We’re sending you back to Ko Olina for option number three, right into its heart at Ko Olina Lagoons, four protected sand and coral bottomed snorkel spots surrounded by the resort communities of Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Beach Villas Resort Ko Olina, Disney Aulani, and Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Thank goodness that ALL beaches are public domain in Hawaii, because you can enjoy these cozy beginner friendly lagoons and slip into the adjacent facilities to get changed in the restrooms and to recharge over food and drink. While these are protected bays with a limited number of species, you can venture over to where the ocean meets each lagoon and increase the likelihood of spotting a more diverse selection of colorful fish, sea turtles, if you are lucky, possibly a monk seal.
Note: Wondering why world famous Hanamau Bay was kept off of this list? While it offers guaranteed sightings of a very varied collection of fish in a protected reef, it’s a tourist attraction that requires you wait in line to buy tickets, wait in another line to watch (required) a short film about how to conduct yourselves along the reef, and another line to make your way down to the beach entry. Given that you’re seeking convenience to/from HNL, Hanamau Bay just doesn’t cut it.
Honolulu Airport Transfer can take you to (and back from) any of the great snorkeling destinations listed above (and more). Just give us 24-hours notice and we’ll take care of you, your party, and all of your gear! View all flat rates, and call us at 1.800.929.1219 or complete the form found here.