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What are the best bodysurfing and snorkeling beaches on Oahu?
11-21-2009, 10:27 AM
Post: #1
What are the best bodysurfing and snorkeling beaches on Oahu?
We are traveling to Hawaii on January 30th to February 7th. We will be staying on Oahu the entire time at Waikiki beach. We will plan one day trip to the big island. We are not renting a car. In Oahu we want to visit the various beaches that have great snorkeling. We also would like to visit an area that has great waves for body surfing. What beaches have what we are looking for and what is the best way to get around to these beaches? Rent a car, bus, taxi, bicycles, etc.

For the big island, we are thinking it would be good to see the volcanoes. I wanted to avoid a tour, so we were going to fly into Hilo and rent a car. Does that make sense? Where can I find the cheapest flights?

Please let me know. Thank you.
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11-21-2009, 10:48 AM
Post: #2
RE: What are the best bodysurfing and snorkeling beaches on Oahu?
On Oahu, the best beaches for snorkeling are Hanauma Bay and Shark's Cove. Hanauma Bay is located about 10 miles east of Waikiki. Shark's Cove is located on Oahu's North Shore. You can take the public bus to both locations.

To get to Hanauma Bay from Waikiki, take bus number 22. Keep in mind that Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays and the entrance fee per visitor is $7.50. Snorkeling gear can be rented there in case you don't want to bring your own.

To get to Shark's Cove, you first have to take bus number 8, 19, 20 or 42 from Waikiki and drive to Ala Moana Shopping Center. There, you transfer to bus number 52 or 55. Once you get to the north shore, ask the bus driver where Shark's Cove is.

Whenever you enter a bus, ask for a transfer ticket, which lets you transfer to another bus without having to pay again.

Another good location for snorkeling is the west shore near Makaha. However, the snorkeling is good further out from shore, so to reach the good spots, I would recommend you book a dolphin tour that lets you snorkel as well. There are several tour providers. The water there is about 30-40 feet deep and crystal clear, so you can see all the way to the bottom and see many sea turtles as well.

A good beach for bodysurfing is Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach and Waimanalo Beach. Sandy Beach and Makapuu Beach are also considered excellent bodysurfing beaches, but only for experts! Both can be dangerous for novice bodysurfers and people have seriously injured themselves in the past, even experts. (Both beaches are nicknamed "beach of broken necks and backs for a reason). That's why you'll see red warning flags year-round at these beaches. They are located near each other on Oahu's southeastern shore, near Sea Life Park. Take bus number 22 or 23 from Waikiki to get to these beaches. Ask the driver where to get off.

For bus schedules, see and click on "Routes and Timetables."

You can also rent a car to get to any of these beaches. But I wouldn't recommend bicycling there. It's too far and Oahu's roads can be quite dangerous for bicyclists.

Yes, you don't have to do a tour on the Big Island to see the volcanoes. However, if you don't really know where the good spots for viewing flowing lava are, it is recommended because it will save you time. But you can also get a good guide book and explore yourself. To find cheap flights, go to or or These are the 3 main interisland airlines. Their fares are pretty much the same.
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