beaches oahu things to do

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

This impressive crescent-shaped bay (Hanauma means “Curved Bay”) lined with lava rock ledges was formed by two sunken craters and is renowned for its myriad tropical fish. As one of Hawaii’s most popular visitor destinations, Hanauma Bay draws more than one million people each year. The sandy beach at Hanauma is nice for relaxing, but the main attraction is offshore where the snorkeling is outstanding. Arriving early is a good idea to ensure you get a parking space and also because the water may become a bit cloudier once lots of people arrive. An admission fee is charged and you will also be shown a short video to educate you about the Preserve.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu Hawaii by bhawaiianhelicopters

Great For

Snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and marine education.

Need to Know

While Hanauma Bay is somewhat protected from the open ocean, a strong current often forms near the mouth of the bay so stay near shore unless you are a very experienced swimmer. Statistically, this is one of Oahu’s most dangerous beaches, in part because it is so popular, but also because of the various potential hazards. Stay away from rock ledges near breaking waves as surges may be extremely dangerous when they catch people by surprise. Also, be aware that the painfully-stinging box jellyfish may be present about ten days after a full moon. Always consult with the lifeguards about the current conditions, and make sure you never walk on or touch the fragile coral reef. For more information about conservation of Hanauma Bay see the Hanauma Bay Education Program.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Hanauma means “Curved Bay”




Restrooms, showers, phones, picnic areas, education center, snorkel gear rentals, and locker rentals.


Hanauma Bay is open every day except Tuesday, from 6 am to 6 pm. On the second Saturday of every month, the bay is open until 10 pm.