In a destination filled with thundering waterfalls, rugged trails, and plentiful marine life, opportunities abound for getting out and experiencing the rawness of nature. Explore Oahu’s beautiful sights and natural areas on your sightseeing nature and Oahu wildlife journey!
The warm Hawaii waters are filled with vibrant tropical fish, dolphins, and humpback whales (in season). There are many beaches that are great for snorkeling from the shoreline, allowing you to swim alongside a wide variety of tropical fish species. If you want to get up close and personal with dolphins or whales, your best bet is to book a boat excursion with one of the many charter companies on the island. Many excursions combine activities such as dolphin watching with snorkeling, sunset viewing, or an onboard meal. Check out the Speedboat Dolphin Snorkel with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures for an opportunity to snorkel alongside dolphins in their natural environment!
Oahu is home to numerous stunning waterfalls, including the jaw-dropping Manoa Falls, Lulumahu Falls, and Waimea Falls, to name a few. For a short hike with maximum views, consider making the one-mile stroll that ends at the refreshing Waimea Falls. This family-friendly path weaves its way through tropical foliage, dotted with informational signs that give more insight into the grounds, history, and plant life of the area. At the end of the trail, you’ll be treated with views of the 30-foot Waimea Falls, also known as Wailele Waterfall. Cool off with a refreshing swim in pool at the bottom of the falls, or simply sit back and enjoy the views!
There’s no greater way to experience the true natural beauty of the island than to explore some of its stunning coastline. While areas like Waikiki may be more of a social affair than a serene Oahu nature experience, Oahu offers many beaches off the beaten path where it may just be you, the mountains, and the sea. Along the northwestern tip of the island you’ll find Keawaula Beach, an untouched stretch of coastline with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Located just before the road dead ends into Ka’ena Point State Park, the few that put in the effort to get here will not be disappointed.
You don’t have to head out on a boat excursion to experience the joys of snorkeling on Oahu. With so many beaches to choose from, snorkeling can easily be done from Oahu’s shoreline as long as you head to the right spot! To enjoy the calmest, clearest conditions, consider getting an early start on your snorkeling excursion to take advantage of low winds and calm waters. If you want a guarantee to see plenty of tropical fish, a good place to start is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. With a white sand beach that leads to calm waters, it is easy for beginners to get in and out of the water at this popular snorkeling destination. You’ll find the beginnings of the coral reef not far from the shoreline, so it’s also easily accessible. The fish in Hanauma Bay are used to visitors and are perhaps the tamest fish you’ll find around the island, providing plenty of opportunities to observe them in their natural habitat.
For those who truly want an up close and personal encounter with some of the marine life that calls the Hawaiian waters home, a shark diving excursion provides just that. Diving with Hawaii’s sharks adds a thrill of adventure to your Hawaii vacation that will be remembered for years to come. On a shark diving adventure with North Shore Shark Adventures, you can enjoy all of the thrill with none of the risks. Donning a mask and snorkel, you will observe sharks interacting in their natural habitat from the safety of a cage lowered from the boat. Galapagos and Sandbar sharks are most commonly sighted, along with the occasional Tiger Shark or Hammerhead. Watch these graceful creatures glide by just inches away, providing an unforgettable underwater experience!
For those with a true adventuring spirit who would prefer to forgo the cage, One Ocean Diving offers a cage free snorkeling with sharks experience. With a staff comprised of certified safety divers, marine biologists, and dive masters, One Ocean Diving offers a knowledgeable platform for embarking on your shark snorkel experience. Sandbar Sharks and Galapagos Sharks are regularly spotted on these excursions, along with other species more rarely seen. Dolphins, whales, and honu (sea turtle) encounters are also possible. More than simply snorkeling alongside these creatures, the onboard staff provide knowledgeable information on the species sighted and are actually collecting research data throughout the dive.