In 1994, I went to Hanauma Bay for my first experience snorkeling. Nine years later, I found myself in the unique position of introducing my husband and kids to their first snorkeling in the exact same place. And Hanauma Bay State Park didn't disappoint!
We went early to avoid the crowds. Our purchased tickets gave us an assigned time to view the required introductory film. The film basically goes over safety rules, history, and information about the marine life in the park and ongoing conservation efforts.
After the video, we decided to skip the tram and we took the steep walk down to the beach.
The beach was quiet so early in the morning, and we had our choice of where to lay down our towels for the day.
Once we were set up, we spent most of the day snorkeling away! We saw coral and tropical fish, an eel, and a sea turtle. Amazing!
We brought snacks and a picnic lunch. My kids tend to eat a ton pretty regularly, so bringing food was a must if we planned to stay for anything longer than a couple of hours.
Once we had our fill, we started back up toward the park entrance.
As we looked back, we noticed the beach was more crowded than it had been when we first arrived. There was still plenty of room on the beach, however, so we had no complaints.
And did my family enjoy their first snorkeling experience?
We'll be back, Hanauma Bay!
Fees: $7.50 entry fee, 12 and under free, $1 parking fee, $8-$10 locker rental, $1-$1.25 tram use
What to bring: a snorkel set (sets are available for $20), snacks, water, towels, sunscreen (preferably biodegradable)
Distance from Honolulu: 12 miles (25 minutes)