Snorkeling Makaha Beach Park – Honu, Snorkeling, Scuba & Surfing!

Snorkeling Makaha beach isn’t the only activity enjoyed here. This picturesque golden sand beach on the west coast of Oahu is popular among snorkelers, divers and surfers.

During the summer months Makaha beach is a prime location for snorkelers to swim amongst green sea turtles. Beginner surfers and body boarders can enjoy the small waves, and divers head out to explore Makaha Caverns.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about snorkeling Makaha Beach Park!

About

Snorkeling Makaha Beach is a popular activity during the summer months. The beach has beautiful golden sand and the water (when calm), provides the perfect opportunity to swim with sea turtles.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach to relax then Makaha can be a great place to get away from the crowds (during the week). 

It gets much busier at the weekend as there are a ton of different activities which can be done at Makaha Beach making it a really versatile location, with snorkeling, bodyboarding, surfing and scuba diving all popular activities here.

The fish population in this area isn’t as abundant like some other parts of the island, but this is one of the best places to go if you want to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles

Popular amongst snorkelers during the summer, but then once the winter (and waves) hit Oahu, Makaha Beach becomes very popular amongst surfers. 

This beach is on the driest side of the island and so it can get really hot and dry here in summer. Always make sure you have lots of (reef safe) sunscreen, sun protective clothing and plenty of snacks and drinks!

makaha beach park snorkeling

Location

Makaha Beach is 35 miles north west of Honolulu and located on the West side of the Island. It’s near the town of Makaha and the drive there from Honolulu is just shy of an hour. 

As you head down Farrington highway, and have passed the town of Makaha, the beach is going to be on your left, with a large parking lot also located there.

Difficulty

Snorkeling Makaha Beach is really reserved for intermediate & advanced swimmers as you will need to swim out a fair way in order to get to the good stuff!

You need to be prepared for the swim out towards the edge of the reef that leads to the channel, do lots of exploring, and then have enough energy to swim back to shore afterwards (which may be against current).

The swim out to the deeper area where a lot of the marine life can be seen is just isn’t realistic, or safe for beginners, and for everyone else, snorkel fins when exploring this area will be an absolute must!

Large waves and rip currents are present here in the winter (as are the surfers!), so Makaha Beach is only really possible to snorkel in the summertime.

Snorkeling Makaha Beach Park

makaha beach park oahu

Once you enter the water, swim right out as far as the buoy – It’s quite a swim so ensure you have your snorkel fins on.

You can begin snorkeling as soon as you enter the water but the best place to snorkel is along the edge of the reef that leads to the channel.

The water here is pretty deep, (about 15 to 35 feet), and this area is also a popular scuba diving location. This is the area where you should see plenty of sea turtles!

The water visibility snorkeling Makaha Beach can be good but it will depend on the waves. The clarity usually gets better the further out you get as the waves won’t be kicking up the sand.

Marine life At Makaha Beach Park

  • Green Sea Turtles
  • Tang
  • Sergeant
  • Octopus
  • Dolphins
  • Manta Rays
  • A few different types of coral
green sea turtle snorkeling makaha beach

Restaurants and Facilities

  • Restrooms and showers. 
  • Picnic area. 
  • Lifeguards are on duty at this beach. 
  • There is a drugstore near the beach where you can pick up drinks and snacks
  • There is a little shaded area, but not a lot

Tips For Snorkeling Makaha Beach

  • This is a popular area for scuba diving (Makaha Caverns)
  • Surfing is popular here in the winter months, but is for experienced surfers only
  • Body boarders and beginner surfers enjoy the summer months here when the waves are calmer
  • Be very aware of your surroundings, and mind the body boarders and surfers here!
  • Green Sea Turtles are a protected species, keep your distance and be respectful
  • Wear a snorkeling rash guard, or sun protective clothing. It’s hot and dry here and there’s minimal shade here
  • Kaena Point is a 15 minute drive further up north, and a very popular hiking trail.

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