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Should I Bring Snorkel Gear To Hawaii?

Last update: 2024-05-05

Hawaii is widely known for its beautiful beaches, stunning coral reefs, and amazing marine life. It's no wonder why snorkeling is one of the most popular ocean activities for visitors in Hawaii. With so many excellent snorkeling spots to choose from, snorkel gear is a must-pack item when visiting the Aloha State. Here's a detailed guide on Should I Bring Snackle Gear To Hawaii, why you absolutely should, and some tips for getting/using your gear during your Hawaiian vacation.

Why Bring Your Own Snorkel Gear

There are a few key reasons why you should bring your own snorkel gear rather than renting it when you arrive in Hawaii:

Comfort & Fit

Mask and snorkel in the surf on the sandy beach; selective focus

Having your own mask that fits your face comfortably makes all the difference when you're snorkeling. Rental masks often don't fit that great which allows water to leak in more easily. This can lead to irritation/discomfort and a diminished viewing experience. Being able to adjust your own mask straps for the perfect seal is key for long, enjoyable snorkel sessions.

Quality & Reliability

Your personal snorkel gear has likely been tested and used extensively so you know how well it functions. Rental equipment can often be cheap quality with leaky masks, stiff snorkels, and loose/faulty straps. With your own gear, you can be confident it won't break or hinder your snorkeling adventures.

Cost Savings

Blue diving goggles,snorkel and flippers on white background.

Bringing your own snorkel gear saves money compared to renting. Mask/snorkel/fin rental packages typically cost $10-$20 per day or $25-$50 for a full week. So packing your own can lead to significant savings, especially for longer trips or groups/families.

Avoiding Rental Hassle

Not having to deal with snorkel rental shops saves time and avoids hassle. You skip lines/crowds and rental forms/agreements. With your own gear, you can snorkel spontaneously and don't have to arrange returns or worry about rental closing times.

Reduce COVID Risks

3D water sports Summer Sports.

Using your own thoroughly cleaned/sanitized snorkel gear reduces potential COVID-19 risks compared to using shared rental equipment. You know your gear has been properly disinfected pre-travel so you can feel safer using it.

Tips for Bringing Snorkel Gear to Hawaii

Here are some useful tips to make checking and using your own snorkel gear in Hawaii smooth and enjoyable

Scuba Fins, Regulator/Octopus, Depth Gauge , Balanced Regulator ,Power Inflator ,Dive Mask and Snorkel ,Scuba Gear for a Dive on a Boat

  • Use a mesh bag or collapsible snorkel bag to compact gear for packing.
  • Consider buying inexpensive backup mask/snorkel in case of unexpected damage/loss.
  • Pack disinfecting wipes and thoroughly clean gear before initial use in Hawaii.
  • Rinse gear well with fresh water after each use to keep it clean.
  • Bring defogging solution to keep your mask from fogging up while snorkeling.
  • Use a dry bag or hard case when flying with snorkel gear for protection.
  • Put your name/number on gear in case of accidental loss or rental mix-ups.
  • Research the best snorkel spots at your destination to maximize usage.
  • Plan to snorkel earlier in the day as conditions are often calmest/clearest.
  • Apply reef-safe sunscreen before snorkeling to avoid harming marine ecosystems.
  • Wear a rashguard/swim shirt for sun protection while snorkeling.

Top Snorkeling Destinations in Hawaii

Now that you've got your own snorkel gear ready to go, here are some of the top spots to use it in Hawaii:

Woman snorkeling over coral reef in Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. Female lying above the crystalline water in tropical sea with american flag bikini. Watersport activity in Hawaii.


  • Hanauma Bay - Beautiful protected bay with calm waters full of tropical fish and sea turtles. One of the best snorkel spots in Hawaii.
  • Shark's Cove - North shore spot with lava rock formations and reefs frequented by green sea turtles.
  • Kailua Beach Park - Excellent beach for snorkeling with easy entry and plentiful reef fish.


  • Molokini Crater - Crescent-shaped crater rim filled with pristine coral reefs and marine life. Accessible by boat tour.
  • Maluaka Beach (Makena) - Turtle Town for a high chance of sea turtle encounters in calm, clear waters.
  • Honolua Bay - When conditions allow, this bay offers incredible snorkeling around coral cliffs with many fish species.

Big Island

  • Kapoho Tide Pools - Amazing spot for snorkeling among volcanic tide pools filled with coral and unique marine life.
  • Kealakekua Bay - Historic bay with clear visibility, sea caves, and abundant tropical fish/coral. Hawaii's best overall snorkeling.
  • Puako Petroglyph Beach - Protected bay known for sea turtle sightings plus interesting lava rock petroglyphs.


  • Tunnels Beach - Picturesque beach on north shore featuring lava rock tunnels, reefs, and diverse marine life.
  • Anini Beach - Calm north shore lagoon perfect for beginner snorkelers to see green sea turtles.
  • Poipu Beach - South shore spot with very kid/family-friendly swimming and snorkeling conditions.

FAQs About Bringing Snorkel Gear to Hawaii

Is it cheaper to bring my own snorkel gear rather than renting?

Yes, bringing your own gear saves significantly compared to renting, especially for longer trips or multiple people. Rental costs can add up quickly.

Can I bring snorkel gear in my check-in luggage when flying to Hawaii?

Absolutely. Just protect your gear well in a hard case or padded bag. Some airlines may count snorkels/fins as sports equipment to avoid over-weight fees.

Is it ok to buy inexpensive snorkel gear just for my Hawaii trip?

Buying budget snorkel gear can be perfectly fine for a Hawaii vacation. Test it at home first and bring defogger/strap adjustments in case of issues.

Do I need a wetsuit for snorkeling in Hawaii?

Usually not. Water temps are very comfortable year-round in Hawaii. A rashguard provides plenty of warmth/sun protection for most. Only wear a wetsuit in winter if easily chilled.

What precautions should I take with my personal snorkel gear in Hawaii?

Rinse thoroughly after each use, don't leave unattended on beach, put name on it, inspect regularly for damage. Take basic precautions and your gear should be fine.


Thanks to Hawaii's amazing beaches and reefs, snorkeling is a can't-miss activity on any Hawaiian vacation. By bringing your own high-quality, well-fitting snorkel gear, you're guaranteed comfortable and satisfying snorkeling at the Aloha State's top spots. Your personal gear ensures reliability, cost savings, and convenience compared to rentals. Just remember to pack it well, label it, care for it properly, and research the prime snorkeling locations you want to experience. With your trusty mask, snorkel and fins in tow, you're all set for creating incredible underwater memories while exploring Hawaii's dazzling marine paradise.

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