When you dream of a vacation to Hawaii, we bet that dream includes getting into the crystal blue sea surrounding Oahu’s glorious beaches. While swimming of course is one way to enjoy the water, you may want to add a watery activity to your adventure for the day. Below are some of our suggestions to get you started on your watery excursions. Ready to dip your toes in?
One way to get your vacation started with a splash is to go out on the reef and spend some time with the local sea life. There are a couple ways to go about this. One way is to book a snorkeling excursion through a local company who will generally provide you with all the gear you need as well as a local guide. The other way is to buy or rent your own gear and choose one of many different locations all around the island!
There are many advantages to booking an excursion through a company, especially if you are a newly minted snorkeler. First of all, there are some extraordinary spots that can only be accessed safely via boat. Then, booking with a local company is also pretty low fuss (your equipment, a guide, camaraderie, and possibly even lunch are all sorted out for you) and it offers a big reward (i.e. your local guide will know exactly where to take you to see the majestic sea turtles).
Here are some places near our hotel to start booking:
More interested in a calm, self lead experience? Or, already gone out on a tour and eager to revisit the colorful and awe inspiring underwater world? There are plenty of places to rent (or buy) snorkel gear for the day. Check out the map here that also includes all the information you need to choose the best spot for your desired experience! Two important things to remember 1) always snorkel with a buddy 2) always check ocean conditions before going out (north island snorkel locations can be very dangerous during the winter).
Rent or buy your gear here:
What fish could you encounter on your snorkel adventure? Check out this Hawaiian Reef Fish Guide to get to know them before you mask up!
2. Scuba Diving
Wanting to take your underwater plunge up a notch? Then scuba diving could be for you! Whether you’re a beginner, done it before, or a pro, Oahu has diving options for you. This activity tends to be more on the pricier side, but if you have the coins to shell out, it is worth the price tag to be fully submerged into the underwater world, where you could see eye to eye with a sea turtle! With snorkeling, you would definitely get to observe the bustling underwater scene, but with diving, it’s a more intimate face to face experience. You truly do enter what feels like a separate world of intrigue, I mean, you’ll be breathing underwater like a fish! Get started on booking your experience with the suggestions below!
3. Stand-up Paddle Boarding
Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a great way to enjoy the water and the sun! I mean, modern SUP-ing did come out of Waikiki in the 1940s, you gotta do it while you’re here! As the story goes, John Ah Choy was a local surfer, who found that as he aged, it was difficult to get up and down on his board and so he would bring out a paddle with him to catch waves. Soon after, his sons and their friends began adapting this strategy while teaching surfing at their school, because standing up and paddling gave them a more advantageous perspective to keep an eye on students and the ocean swells. It has diversified since then (encompassing leisure, racing, yoga, sea life viewing, +more) and is a fun and accessible way for anyone to enjoy the water. A very popular place for SUP near Waikiki is Ala Moana Beach Park, where waters are usually gentle, calm, and smoothe. Here are some places to rent your SUPs:
Okay, we know when you think Hawaii, you think *SURFING*. And you are right! What we think of as surfing today was born in Hawaii. Waikiki offers some of the best surfing in the world. What is great about our beautiful island of Oahu, is that there are swells year round for both beginners and pros alike. If you have been enamored with surfing but have yet to try it, we recommend you book a lesson at one of the many surf schools in Waikiki! You can book a private lesson, or you can book a group lesson depending on the experience you are craving. For intermediate and pros, feel free to swing by one of the surf schools or shops in Waikiki and rent your boards! Check out the daily Waikiki Beach Surf Report & Forecast before you head out.
Some suggestions for finding your surfing lesson:
Whatever water activity you choose (or all of them!), have fun and be safe! Learn about how to be safe and respectful when interacting with the Hawaiian ocean here. Also, help us protect and preserve our waters, shores, and important sea life by making sure your sunscreen is reef safe.