Snorkeling Kaena Point State Park – The Complete Guide

About Kaena Point State Park

Snorkeling Ka’ena Point State Park is very different to other Oahu favourites like Sharks Cove and Hanauma Bay.

You’re not likely to encounter large schools of fish at Ka’ena like you can elsewhere, but this is a wonderfully pristine beach, with crystal clear water, and best of all.. Peaceful.

If snorkeling the crystal clear ocean with beautiful views of the Waianae Mountains as your backdrop is your thing then this might end up as your favorite Oahu snorkel spot.

Ka’ena Point itself, the western most tip of the island, is only accessible by hike and according to Hawaiian folklore is known as the place where souls depart from this Earth as the ‘jumping off’ point.

Location & Getting There

Ka’ena Point State Park is located on the North Western tip of the Island, between the Waianae mountains and the ocean, approximately 1 hours drive from Honolulu.

If you are planning on visiting Ka’ena point itself, then parking is available at the point where the road ends, and you must then hike the rest of the way.

Difficulty

Snorkeling Ka’ena Point is very beginner and child friendly.

The waves here can get high at certain times so ensure you check the forecast before heading out. But otherwise this is a calm and tranquil beach which is perfect for all abilities.

Snorkeling Kaena Point State Park

Snorkeling Ka’ena Point is a favorite for many due to the fact that oftentimes it is very quiet and isolated from the crowds, (even during peak times).

Throw in the fact that the waters are crystal clear, the white sand beach is pristine and you have the perfect combination for a day of secluded relaxation and underwater exploration.

The entrance into the water is soft sand that gradually gets deeper the further you head out.

You’ll find that the visibility underwater won’t be great near the shore line due to waves kicking up sand from the ocean floor, but swim a little further out and the visibility will become much clearer.

The snorkeling depth ranges from around 8 to 15 feet deep and I’d recommend making sure you have your snorkel fins with you so you can gently glide through the water without expending much effort.

Make sure to check the forecast before you head out – A large swell will make the waves and current too strong for swimming, and the visibility poor. (It is still a beautiful pristine beach to relax and spend the day regardless of this though!)

Tips & Info

Here’s my list of useful tips and information to get the most out of snorkeling Ka’ena Point State Park

  • The parking lot is located at the end of Farrington Highway (this is also where you may begin your hike to Ka’ena Point).
  • The parking lot is small but people also tend to park along the road, in which there is ample space available
  • There are showers and restrooms available next to the parking lot.
  • There are lifeguards on duty 
  • There are no restaurants or shops nearby so ensure you bring food and drink with you (especially if you plan on hiking to Ka’ena Point!)
  • There isn’t much in the way of shaded areas, make sure you bring a hat and plenty of sunscreen
  • Ka’ena Point is best for a calm leisurely snorkel, away from the crowds
  • Kaena point itself is only accessible via a hike

Marine Life at Kaena Point State Park

Among the marine life that can be seen when snorkeling Kaena Point State Park are:

Surgeonfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, tang, parrotfish, damselfish, perch, triggerfish, turtles and Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Nearby Attractions

If you’re making your way to Kaena Point State Park then why not make the hike to Kaena Point itself?

The hike to Kaena point is around 5 miles total (that’s 2.5 miles each way) and just like the snorkeling at Kaena, the hike is very beginner friendly.

Once you reach Kaena Point, aside from the stunning views, you’ll find a protected bird sanctuary, and possibly even the chance to see monk seals relaxing on the beach.

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