Best Snorkeling in Waikiki – Queens beach/Sans souci

If you’re staying in Waikiki then Queens Beach and Sans Souci Beach will be right on your front door step – How’s that for convenience?

Queens and Sans Souci Beaches are often mentioned together as they are just a very short distance (less than 10 minutes walk) from one another.

Snorkeling Queens Beach, or Sans Souci might not be as impressive as some other Oahu snorkel locations, but this area is within one of Oahu’s Marine Life Conservation Districts so it’s still pretty good.

There is tons to see and do in this area both in and out of the water (this is Waikiki Beach after all!) so it’s a great area to spend a fun action packed day.

There’s pretty much everything you need located right in this area – Showers, restrooms, plenty of shaded areas, picnic tables, shops and restaurants. 

So all you need bring with you is your snorkel gear and your camera and you’re all set.

Keep reading to find out more about snorkeling Queens Beach/Sans Souci


There are 8 sections of beach that make up Waikiki beach, Queens Beach and San Souci being two of them. 

Queens Beach is located between the Kapahulu Groin (the jetty that extends into the water) and Waikiki aquarium – Just look out for the jetty and lifeguard station 2F, and you’re in the right area.

San Souci is just a short walk further south of Queens Beach, (about 0.4 miles/7 minutes walk).


Both Queens and Sans Souci Beach are beginner friendly as long as the waves are calm 

If there happens to be a south swell and the waves and currents are strong then you will not be able to snorkel here. Check the forecast and/or ask the lifeguard on location if you’re unsure. 

If you do happen to venture out when there are waves then you will be met with poor visibility as the waves will churn up the sand/debris from the ocean bed.


The entrance into the water at Queens Beach is a nice slow gradient, however you will find that there is flat coral for most of the length of it. 

If you head a bit more towards the Aquarium where there is a dredged channel that runs parallel to the shore and you’ll find a nice soft sandy patch to make the perfect easy entrance.

Make sure you bring your underwater camera with you as there will be plenty of opportunity both above and below the water for some awe inspiring pictures.

Snorkeling here will offer you some truly amazing views of the waikiki coastline.

snorkeling queens beach waikiki


San Souci is one of the quietest sections of Waikiki beach and is very family friendly and a great place to take children snorkeling.

The entrance into the water at Sans Souci is a very easy sandy entrance that slowly and gradually gets deeper as you head out.

And head out you should – about 50 yards into the ocean there is a flat bar of reef with lots of marine life to explore.

There is also a quiet park located here with picnic tables and plenty of shade for you to enjoy when you’re not in the ocean.

snorkeling sans souci beach


  • There are plenty of places to purchase food and drink, and to relax in the shade when you’re not snorkeling
  • Restrooms and showers are available
  • Lifeguards will be on duty here
  • Snorkeling may not be safe here if there is a south swell as the currents/waves can be strong. Check the forecast or with a lifeguard if you’re not sure.
  • Avoid trying to snorkel here if there are strong currents/waves (visibility will also be poor if this is the case)
  • Queens Beach is named after Queen Liliuokalani as this is where her house used to be
  • There are tons of really great attractions in this area (discussed in more detail below). 


Expect to hopefully see some sea turtles and fish when snorkeling Waikiki beach – especially congregating in the reefs mentioned above, or hiding around the rocks.

The marine life here isn’t as abundant as the other Oahu snorkel spots we’ve documented, and there is very little coral here, but Waikiki is a beautiful and iconic location to add to your itinerary, and has a whole lot of other attractions to explore as well.


One of Oahu’s best hiking trails is located right here – Diamond Head Crater.

The hike of Diamond Head Crater is about one mile and will take around two hours. It will be well worth it for the stunning panoramic views once you reach the top.

Nature lovers will also appreciate other close by attractions including Honolulu zoo and Waikiki aquarium

Diamond Head Crater Oahu

Snorkeling Queens bEACH