Oahu’s North Shore Snorkeling


Oahu’s North Shore is world famous for its perfect surf breaks and unbelievable beaches. But thats not all it has to offer. North Shore snorkeling is world class as well. There are few places on earth where you are more likely to spot a sea turtle than while snorkeling on Oahu’s north shore. The two spots that you are going to give you the best view of what ocean life is like in Hawaii are Sharks Cove, and Laniakea AKA Turtle Beach. They aren’t far from one another. Its more than reasonable to snorkel both locations in the same half day.

Sharks Cove Snorkeling

North Shore snorkeling at Sharks Cove truly is world class(and don’t let the name scare you). Sharks Cove sits within the Pupukea fish preserve, making it home to some fish and other marine life that don’t have to worry about being killed by humans. Their constant presence with snorkelers has made many of the sea creatures much more tolerant of the snorkelers and scuba divers that enter the waters of the cove. What does this mean? You’ll see more fish, turtles, and who knows what else. North Shore snorkeling is full of surprises.

The Cove

There are 2 parts to Sharks Cove snorkeling area. One of these parts is the cove, or deeper, more lively area. Here is where you will see more of the Hawaiian marine life. The cove sits on the eastern side of Sharks Cove, and ranges in depth from 3-30 feet. During the summer months, the swell is virtually nonexistent, and you can usually snorkel to your hearts desire. During the winter, swell(waves) from the north pacific hit the north shore of Oahu and prevent snorkeling in the cove half of Sharks Cove.

north shore snorkeling

Sharks Cove is Oahu’s best snorkeling!

The Tide Pool

The west side of Sharks Cove is a shallow tide pool. The water gets especially warm from the sun, and much of it is sandy bottomed. This is an ideal place to take your kids, or if you aren’t too comfortable with the ocean or marine life yourself. You can splash around in there and get comfy, and when you’re feeling brave you can venture into the cove. Small fish can be found eating off of the rock formations, and there is nothing more relaxing thas lounging around in 3 inches of warm water and some sand.

north shore snorkeling at sharks cove

snorkeling sharks cove tide pools

If you have kids and want to take them to the tide pools, check out this nice write up from a mom’s point of view.

Laniakea Snorkeling | Turtle Beach

Laniakea is some of the best north shore snorkeling, but not for the same reasons we love Sharks Cove. We love Turtle Beach because of the turtles!! Green Sea turtles come out of the water here for a little nap in the sun. If your number one goal for your trip is to see a turtle, this is where you need to come. The snorkel zone is pretty small, and only good conditions in the summer. But the marine life is so cool. Numbers of turtles swim right past you as they make their way to the beach, or back out to the ocean.

For details on kayaking on the North Shore, CLICK HERE

For details on our snorkel set rentals, and other gear you’ll need for North Shore snorkeling, check out our GEAR PAGE

For reviews and more info on Sharks Cove, check out these two pages:
Sharks Cove Yelp Page
Sharks Cove Tripadvisor

For reviews and more info on Turtle Beach, check out these two pages:
Turtle Beach Tripadvisor Page
Turtle Beach Yelp Page