Kaena Point

Oahu Snorkeling

Kaena Point State Park

Kaena Point State Park is a post card perfect mile-long stretch of white sand beach.  Kaena Point is the western tip of the island of Oahu and the beach is sandwiched between the blue Pacific Ocean and the rugged Waianae Mountains.

What sets this place apart from the other snorkeling beaches I've listed is it's isolation from the crowds.  You’ll be hard pressed in Oahu to find so much white sand with so few people.  There's lots of empty 'beach towel real estate' everywhere.  Take a good look at the beach pictures on this page.  They were taken mid-summer and on the weekend.  How's that for low crowds!  It’s such a beautiful beach, these pictures don’t really do it justice.

But you didn’t come here to only sit in the sand!  What about the fish?  Kaena Point does not have quite as many fish as some of the other sites I’ve listed, but the clear blue water does have it’s share of marine life.  Then again, most good snorkeling beaches don't have lots of room to stretch out on the sand like this one does.

The ocean floor at Kaena Point is made up of white sand and flat coral.  The shallow underwater slope gets gently deeper as you head out.  The farther away from shore you swim the clearer the water will be because there will be less wave action to stir up the sand.  The snorkeling depth is about 8 to 15 feet deep.

Kids will only be able to swim at this beach on calm days.  Check the weather forecast for the day you will be going.  When there is a west swell, the waves on shore could get large and strong.  You may want to choose an alternate site if this is the case.  The nice thing about Kaena is that you can still enjoy the Sun, the sand, and the view, regardless.

By the way, since you're going to be here on the Leeward coast, there's a terrific company called Hawaii Nautical that has a fantastic Dolphin Snorkel Sail that I highly recommend. Their knowledge of this area and customer service make them my go to guys for snorkel tours on the west side of Oahu.

Here's some of the marine life I have seen snorkeling at Kaena Point State Park: Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, squirrel fish, big eyes, perch, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, jacks, needle fish, turtles, crustaceans and invertebrates.

The park area begins just before the end of the paved section of Farrington Highway.  There is a small parking lot here but most people just park their cars along the sand.  Because there is relatively few people and the road is so long, you won’t have a problem finding parking.  There are restrooms and showers located next to the parking lot.  There are lifeguards on duty but no stores nearby to buy food and drinks.

Kahe Point Map
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Driving time to Kaena Point State Park from Honolulu Airport is approximately 1 hour.


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"Having ridden every snorkel tour on Oahu, I recommend the West Side Dolphin and Whale Snorkel Sail as the best way to snorkel the Leeward coast."
                             ~Grant


Don't miss my Best Oahu Snorkel Tours review!


Snorkel Wisely
I know… I know… but it has to be said. The Hawaii snorkeling information contained within these pages is meant only as a general guide as to what to expect when visiting the Hawaiian Islands. As beautiful and mild as Hawaii usually is, weather is always unpredictable. Know your swimming ability. Be prudent and take into consideration the weather and environmental conditions when planning your beach activities. Obey warning signs, they are there to protect you. “Those waves don’t look that bad” are famous last words. I want you to enjoy all that our beautiful islands have to offer. Just use common sense, ok.

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