Happy Thursday, everyone! When I did my reader survey, so many of you requested more Hawaii-style posts, so your wish — my command! Dane and I have been lucky enough to visit all the Hawaiian Islands that are accessible, so I figured it was high time to put together as many helpful posts as possible for those planning a trip.I’m back today with another installment in my snorkeling series. So far we’ve covered Oahu and Kauai and today I’m coming at you with the top spots on the Big Island of Hawaii. I only have three for you, because those are the only places I can vouch for, so let’s dive right in — see what I did there 😉
Also known as The Big Island, Hawai’i is the largest island in the chain of Hawaiian Islands measuring 4,028 square miles. At 93 miles across, Hawai’i is also the largest island in the United States and home to the tallest volcano (from sea floor base to highest peak), Mauna Kea. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the site of Kīlauea, an active volcano, is another treasure amongst the lush tropics of The Big Island.
3 Best Places To Snorkel On Big Island
If you’re heading to The Big Island, your first stop should be Kaunaoa Bay, a pristine locale named one of “The World’s All Time Best Beaches” by Travel Channel. You might not have heard of it before, but perhaps you’ve heard Mauna Kea Beach, a moniker given to this sandy shoreline because it sits in front of the famed Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Why is a hotel important? Because at night this hotel shines bright lights down into the water to attract plankton so that manta rays can come feed. It’s the only place in the world manta rays come at night to circle feed and they’ve been doing it for years! Grab your snorkel gear and arrive before sunset. Many know about this famed spot, so the parking lot fills quickly. Watch the sunset and hop into the waters to catch a glimpse of these feeding rays. Not inclined to pirouette with the ocean’s finest ballerinas? Turtles, goat fish and parrot fish hang out during the day!
Honaunau Bay, locally known as The City of Refuge, is located on a 182-acre historic park and great for snorkelers of all skill levels. Guests have seen spinner dolphins in the deeper waters and turtles (locally: honu) in the more shallow depths near the rocky shoreline. In the shallow sections, ample morning sun shines down making the coral and colorful reef fish easy to spot. There is not an actual parking lot here, so you will be parking along a main road. Use caution and arrive early!
Located 17 miles south of Kona, sits Kealakekua Bay, known to many as Captain Cook. Getting to the spots with active marine life can be tricky, as the distance from shore to prime snorkeling spots is about 1.5 miles. Plan to have a tour boat take you or rent a kayak (with a permit!) to paddle out yourself. The only underwater state park on island, Kealakekua Bay is home to lizard fish, eel and a variety of pastel-colored coral.