The Big Island has the most healthy coral fields of the islands, and plenty of sea life. It is our top pick for a snorkeling destination in Hawaii. And it is actually pretty easy to say what our favorite spot is on the island, because it is probably our favorite spot in all the Hawaiian Islands.
If Two Steps had a beach, it would be the poster child for world's best snorkel spot. Instead, you get in the water from a solid rock shoreline, stepping down natural steps into the water. Don't let the lack of beach stop you, because this little bay has it all, fantastic corals draped across fields, valleys and cliffs. Turtles and dolphins frequent the bay, along with lots and lots of tropical fish. We have spotted octopus here, and even the elusive seahorse.
Kauai offers some exciting snorkeling, at the base of it's gorgeous rain shrouded mountains.
This is one giant of a snorkel spot. In fact, the curve of the outer protective reef at Tunnels can be seen from space. And it seems that most folks who snorkel here are not aware that with a good swim out farther inside the reef there are some huge healthy coral heads, and schools of tropical fish. So if you are a strong swimmer, explore a bit further inside the reef area for a real treat.
Maui is no slouch. It offers some fantastic snorkeling and wonderful healthy coral reefs. And if you love to snorkel with turtles then Maui is the ticket, having an abundance of Green Sea Turtles.
Po'olenalena may not have the fame of Molokini, but with it's perfect depths for a snorkeler and an abundance of sea life, it is much better in our book. The southernmost rocky point of the beach has stellar snorkeling. If you love seeing families of turtles, gorgeous hard corals, and healthy populations of fish, then this is not to be missed.
If you are fortunate enough to visit the north shore of Oahu in the summer, there are some great snorkel beaches, like Three Tables, described below. But in the winter and when there is a north swell, those spots favor surfers, so you will find better luck at locations on the west and south sides, like the famous Hanauma Bay.