Oahu Things to Do: Guide to Visiting Hanauma Bay

Oahu is known for its beautiful beaches and World Class Snorkeling – one of Oahu’s most popular things to do and one of perhaps the most popular destination for Snorkeling on Oahu is Hanauma Bay.

One of the most popular activities on Oahu is snorkeling in the beautiful, clear blue ocean along the coast of the island and the most popular location to Snorkel on Oahu is Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is a naturally formed ‘bay’ located on the southeast coast of Oahu, and was even voted, ‘Best Beach in the U.S.’ in 2016.

In this latest Oahu Travel Guide article, Oahu things to do: Guide to Visiting Hanauma Bay, we’ll provide you with all the details and tips you will need to make your visit to this top Oahu Activity the best it can be.

Attraction: Hanauma Bay
Location: 7455 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, HI
Telephone: 808.768.6861
Hours: Closed Monday & Tuesday, all other days; Open 6:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Why you should consider Visiting Hanauma Bay: 
Hanauma Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beach areas in all of Hawaii and in fact it was awarded the ‘Most Beautiful Beach in the U.S.’ in 2016. Known for its beautiful reef, an abundance of a wide variety of fish species and calm waters is why Hanauma Bay is considered the premier spot for snorkeling on Oahu.

Hanauma Bay is not a Beach Park, like many of the popular beach areas on Oahu. Hanauma Bay is a Nature Preserve that is dedicated to respecting and maintaining the sustainability of the precious marine life, living reef, and the many species of fish who call Hanauma Bay ‘home.’

In the past, Hanauma Bay has welcomed up to 3 million visitors each year and now the Honolulu Parks Department has placed more restrictions on the number of days the park is open, and the hours the park is open and they have also recognized the need to allow local Oahu residents to have access to Hanauma Bay at no cost during certain hours and days.

A day at Hanauma Bay is a memorable part of any visit to Oahu. Visitors are required to watch a short but informative video about the bay and the marine life and how to do your part to appreciate the marine life and reef while not causing any damage to the threat to the living creatures in the ocean.

Quick Tips & Facts for Visiting Hanauma Bay:
The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open to the public from Wednesdays to Sundays with early entry allowed from 6:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  All visitors must leave the preserve by 4 p.m., with the beach area being cleared at 3:30 p.m. each day.

You must have a reservation to enter the nature preserve. Use this link to make Online Hanauma Bay Reservations https://pros9.hnl.info/ – Entry payments are non-refundable unless the nature preserve is closed due to unforeseen circumstances by the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation. Reservations are non-transferable. All sales are final with no cancellations or exchanges.

Hawaii residents with valid identification may access the nature preserve without reservation from 6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Residents arriving after 9:00 am need a reservation or walk-in ticket.

Prices to Visit Hanauma Bay:

  • Park Entry Fee – $25.00 Non-Residents
  • Locals with State Identification – Free
  • Active Military – Free
  • 12 years and under – Free
  • Standard Snorkel Set – $20.00
  • Premium Snorkel Set – $40.00
  • Parking fee – $1.00
  • Small Locker – $10.00
  • Large Locker – $12.00
  • Tram ride (up and down the hill to the bay) – Free

Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting Hanauma Bay:

Q: What to bring and wear for our visit to Hanauma Bay? 
A: A day at Hanauma Bay is meant to be relaxing and to get you in touch with nature. There is a snack bar/restaurant/store at Hanauma Bay that will sell most of what you need. There are certain things you can bring to help make your day more enjoyable. Be sure they bring at least one large bottle of water per person. Bring towels to lay on and dry off after your swim.

Be sure to wear a hat and ‘Reef Friendly’ sunblock. Of course, remember to bring your camera or phone (with a waterproof case, of course) to take photos in and out of the water.

Q: Do we need reservations to visit Hanauma Bay?
A: Yes. Use this link to make Online Reservations – Entry payments are non-refundable.

Q: How long should we plan to stay at Hanauma Bay?
A: Some people spend the entire day enjoying the park, snorkeling, relaxing on the beach, and enjoying the wonderful ocean breeze. However, some people choose to spend only a few hours at the park and then go on to other activities on the island or in the area. See a list of other activities in the ‘What’s Close By’ section below for suggestions.

Q: What type of Guest Facilities are available at Hanauma Bay?
A: There are bathrooms, showers, and locker facilities available. Lifeguards are also on duty at all times.

Q: Is Hanauma Bay ADA Accessible? 
A: Hanauma Bay is wheelchair accessible. The trams that take guests from the parking lot to the beach and back are wheelchair accessible. Also, Beach Wheelchairs are available for free, just check with volunteers at Hanauma Bay.

Getting to Hanauma Bay:  If you will be driving to Hanauma Bay from Honolulu/Waikiki you’ll take the H1 Freeway until it becomes Kalanianaole Hwy. Continue for approximately 8 miles. The Hanauma Bay State Park entrance will be on the right at the top of the hill just past the city of Hawaii Kai

What’s Close By Hanauma Bay:
After you have finished your day at Hanauma Bay if you have more time in your day and would like to explore other activities or attractions is the immediate or nearby area, consider the following options:

Koko Crater Stairs Hike, Lanai Lookout, Kahauloa Cove, Sandy Beach Park, Sea Life Park, Hike to Makapu’u Lighthouse, and a bit further heading north you may choose to visit Kualoa Ranch for an exciting tour, Ziplining or being chased by Dinosaurs!