Best Snorkeling in Waikiki – Queens beach/Sans souci

If you’re staying in Waikiki then two of the best beaches for snorkeling will be right on your doorstep; Queens Beach and Sans Souci Beach.

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

There’s 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 an action packed day.

Keep reading to find out more about snorkeling at Queens and Sans Souci beaches…

Snorkeling In Waikiki Beach

Snorkeling in Waikiki might not be as impressive as some other Oahu snorkel locations, but as the area sits within an Marine Life Conservation District, it hosts a decent amount of marine life.

There are 8 different sections that make up Waikiki beach, and Queens Beach and San Souci (the two that are best for snorkeling) are two of those sections. 

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.

Sans Souci beach is just opposite Honolulu Zoo, and only a short walk further south of Queens Beach, (about 0.4 miles/7 minutes walk).


Both Queens and Sans Souci Beach are beginner friendly snorkeling spots 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, is very family friendly and it’s 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 because 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 here may not be safe if there is a south swell as the currents/waves can be strong. Check the weather 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). 

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 snorkeling gear and your camera and you’re all set.


The marine life here isn’t as abundant as the other Oahu snorkel spots I’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.

Whilst you’re snorkeling Waikiki beach you can expect to hopefully see some green sea turtles and tropical fish – especially congregating in the reefs mentioned above, or hiding around the rocks.

Waikiki Snorkeling Tours

There are a huge amount of options when it comes to snorkeling tours in Waikiki.

Joining a snorkel tour is a really good option as they’ll be able to take you to the best snorkeling spots that aren’t accessible without a boat.

Probably the most popular snorkel tour in Waikiki is to Turtle Canyon. A location just off shore where sea turtles congregate in abundance, as well as some other tropical fish.

The water is a bit deeper in this area (30 feet), making it a popular area for scuba divers as well as snorkelers.


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

Diamond Head Crater Oahu

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

If you’re interested more of Oahu’s best snorkeling spots, then check out my other guides below;

Snorkeling Queens bEACH

Picture of Gia Halliday

Gia Halliday

Hey, my names Gia! My biggest passions are food, travel and basically anything to do with being in the water. Combine all of that with an addiction for buying gear and you end up with with this website!