So you want to go to snorkeling as part of your time in Waikiki!
Waikiki is not generally known for the best snorkeling on Oahu.
But, the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District is one of the marine life conservation districts in Hawaii.
This means that you do have a good chance to see lots of fish in Waikiki… if you go snorkeling in the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District!
And that means snorkeling at Queen’s Beach!
Queens Beach is widely known to be the best snorkeling spot in Waikiki is Queens Beach.
Queens Beach is where to go if free snorkeling in Waikiki is your goal!
I saw a bunch of colorful fish while snorkeling at Queens Beach, including the humuhumunukunukuapuaa and the type of Hawaiian pufferfish that can only be found in Hawaii!
Specific spots where I was snorkeling at Queens Beach explained below!
Waikiki marine life conservation district at Queens Beach
In Hawaii, there are what’s called marine life conservation districts.
This means that these areas just off the coast are more protected for marine life.
This can make them good snorkeling spots.
The Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island have these conservation districts.
There are 3 marine life conservation districts on Oahu:
- Waikiki marine life conservation district
- Hanauma Bay marine life conservation district
- Pupukea marine life conservation district
Is snorkeling free at Queens Beach?
Yes, snorkeling at Queens Beach is FREE!
Queens Beach is free to the public, which means that snorkeling at Queens Beach is free.
So snorkeling in the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District is one of the free things to do in Waikiki!
🐠 You may also be interested in going on a Waikiki snorkeling tour where you are guaranteed to see turtles! Read the reviews for the best Waikiki snorkeling tour at getyourguide.
You want to go snorkeling when there’s minimal surf at Queens Beach
You can check the local weather forecast to see if there will be ideal snorkeling conditions before you go.
Specifically, you’ll want to look for the surf forecast.
As a snorkeler, ideally you will want the least amount of surf as possible, which means 0 ft waves is best!
But otherwise, even 1 to 3 ft waves could be doable for snorkeling.
Although keep in mind that any amount of waves can decrease visibility since the waves can stir up sand.
This means you may not be able to see underwater to be able to look for the fish as well.
The bigger the waves are, the worse it is for snorkeling not only because of visibility, but because of safety.
You might get caught off guard with a wave coming right at you right as you lift your head out of the water. That could turn bad!
Bigger waves means that you will likely be bobbing up and down in the water as you’re looking down too with the rolling water. That might be fun if you’re on a float, but maybe not so fun if you’re trying to snorkel! (You can buy floats at an ABC Store in Waikiki, by the way!)
You can check local weather at KITV weather for example. The surf conditions are provided with every major weather forecast. (Watch the video!)
Since Waikiki is on the south side of Oahu, you’ll look for the surf conditions on the southern shores of Oahu.
More of Hawaii marine life
If you’re interested in snorkeling at Queens Beach, you may also be interested in this marine life in Hawaii:
- Waikiki turtles
- Laniakea Beach turtles on the North Shore of Oahu
- Hookipa Beach turtles in Maui
- Punaluu black sand beach turtles on the Big Island
- Hookipa Beach seals in Maui
Know before you go! Know what it is when you see it!
- humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaii state fish… it’s not as hard to pronounce as you might think!)
- Hawaiian white-spotted toby (cute little Hawaiian pufferfish!)
More below on where to start snorkeling at Queens Beach!
Here's some info on Oahu trip prep!
- Things to do in Waikiki without a car (for views!)
- Hawaii packing list: THE top things to pack for Hawaii
- Swim with turtles at Turtle Canyons from Waikiki
There are affiliate links on this page.
IMPORTANT!!! If you have plans to do the Diamond Head hike, be sure to check the Hawaii State Parks website before you go. As of May 2022, you must make reservations for Diamond Head.
Where to go snorkeling at Queens Beach
Once at Queens Beach, look for lifeguard station 2F. Looking out towards the ocean, it can be good to snorkel on the right side of the Queens Walkway. (That’s the pier that’s sticking out into the ocean.)
You’ll likely see a bunch of fish if you look directly along the walkway.
Then, you can also go swimming around the more open part of the ocean.
Look for little rocky areas and holes where fish might be swimming in and out of!
You can also set up your beach camp at lifeguard station 2E and start swimming around from there.
Depending on the surf, it could be better to stick to the middle or left side (as you’re facing the ocean from the beach), as the waves tend to be higher off towards the right. That’s where you’ll find most of the boogie boarders. (You can buy boogie boards at ABC Store too.)
After you go snorkeling, you can go to Barefoot Beach Cafe for FOOD! (menu + reviews)
Barefoot Beach Cafe is near Queens Beach, and it’s also a spot you can watch the Waikiki fireworks!
For the best of Waikiki, also see: Things to do in Waikiki (for VIEWS!)
HAPPY SNORKELING AT QUEENS BEACH!
See the list:
- Things to do on Oahu (for VIEWS!)
- Things to do in Waikiki (for VIEWS!)
There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
More for your Oahu packing list
- How a cheapo waterproof phone case works
- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean
- Essentials to pack for Hawaii
- Best shoes for Hawaii