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What is the Best Hawaiian Island for Snorkeling?

a person in a pool of water

There are few destinations considered more of a dream destination than the Hawaiian islands. The luaus, gorgeous palm trees, the sweet smells of flowers, and culture make Hawaii a beloved vacation for people around the world. Each Hawaiian island is so different from one another.

The Big Island encompasses almost every one of the world’s major climate zones, from beautiful rainforests to even a snowy mountain. It’s also home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Maui is known for having some of the most incredible beaches in the world and has a fun combination of bustling cities and nature to explore.

Oahu is home to many historical sites, the towering city of Waikiki, and is a top surfing destination for surfers around the world.

Kauai, however, is a premier destination for a quiet getaway. Nicknamed the garden isle, Kauai boasts gorgeous rainforests, picturesque mountain ranges, waterfalls, and plenty of beaches to see the coral reef.

For these reasons and more, we believe Kauai is the best Hawaiian island for snorkeling. Let us explain.

About The Island of Kauai

The island of Kauai is the oldest island of the Hawaiian islands. Most of the island is rural and undisturbed. This gorgeous island has white sandy beaches and verdant forests with untouched beauty.

Quiet, Undisturbed Beaches Are Perfect For Snorkeling

As we mentioned, Kauai is full of untouched beauty. This is because Kauai doesn’t have as many tourist destinations as some of the other islands.

As a result, Kauai is very quiet and serene. If you want a taste of true local Hawaiian culture, Kauai is the place to go. If you want to see true tropical landscapes, Kauai has what you’re looking for.

That undisturbed nature continues to the beaches. Most of the beaches on Kauai provide a quiet oasis for marine wildlife. Some of the marine wildlife you may encounter include monk seals, dolphinssea turtles, and manta rays. Read more about marine wildlife on Kauai in our blog, “Top 5 Sea Creatures to Encounter in Hawaii.

Due to the low amount of tourists in Kauai, the coral reef is more preserved than on other islands. This makes snorkeling around the coral reef a unique experience, where you’ll find dozens of different species of fish. Some of the best beaches on Kauai for snorkeling include:

  • Ke’e Beach
  • Poipu Beach
  • Lydgate Beach Park
  • Lawai Beach
  • Tunnels Beach (also known as Makua Beach)

Picturesque Cliffs

The Na Pali Coast is one of the most beautiful cliffs on the planet. With mountain ranges that stretch up to 4,000 feet in the air, the Na Pali Coast seems to cut into the sky. This mountain range is also 15 miles long across the north shore of the island.

Imagine snorkeling and looking up at 4,000-foot cliffs towering above your head. Near the Na Pali Coast, you can snorkel next to manta rays, sea turtles, and a rainbow of tropical fish.

Sea Caves

Many people will go snorkeling in their lifetimes. Not nearly as many people will go snorkeling in a cave, much less a cave that used to be a lava tube. On the island of Kauai, you can go snorkeling in an actual sea cave. The best sea cave snorkeling adventures take you on a raft around the base of the Na Pali cliffs, through sea arches, and into the sea caves. Some of the sea caves include:

  • Queen’s Bath Cave – The Open Ceiling
  • Waiahuakua Sea Cave
  • Honopu Sea Cave
  • Honololo Sea Cave

Before You Go Snorkeling in Kauai

Before you begin your day of snorkeling and fun in the ocean, there are some snorkeling safety precautions to consider.

You should always check the weather before going to the beach. Before you leave your home or hotel, make sure you have proper, functioning equipment.

Before entering the water, observe the water for a half-hour. Look for currents, large rocks, sand bars, and other factors that could pose a threat to your safety.

Additionally, be respectful of the coral reef and do not touch it or the fish and marine plant life who live around it.

Go Snorkeling with Kauai Sea Tours

Kauai Sea Tours has been providing award-winning tours since 1991, with a history of ten consecutive TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards. With a team that’s passionate about creating incredible adventures in paradise, we’re excited to explore the Napali Coast with you. Check out our website for information about snorkeling next to the Napali Coast and exquisite dinner tours below the cliffs, and more.

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