Scuba Diving Destinations in Hawaii

Diving Hawaii, US

A sea turtle underwater

Hawaii is a popular destination for scuba diving due. Just like Japan’s Okinawa, the state is known for its warm waters, clear visibility, and abundant marine life. Some popular dive sites in the area include:


Oahu is the third largest island in Hawaii and is home to some of the most popular dive sites in the region. Here are two popular dive sites that you won’t want to miss when diving Oahu:

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve:

Located on the southeast coast of Oahu, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a popular destination for both snorkeling and diving. The preserve features a sheltered bay with calm waters, making it an ideal location for beginners. There are over 450 different species of fish that call Hanauma Bay home, including the Hawaii state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

The underwater terrain is also notable, featuring an impressive coral reef and unique rock formations. While diving at Hanauma Bay, you can expect to see a variety of marine critters such as Hawaiian green sea turtles, octopus, and eels. The preserve also offers educational presentations that highlight the area’s marine life and conservation efforts.

Waikiki Beach:

Waikiki Beach is a popular destination for both beachgoers and divers alike. Diving at Waikiki Beach provides two distinct experiences: reef diving and wreck diving.

The reef diving here is known for its interesting coral formations, including mushroom-shaped coral heads and fan coral. The site is also home to colorful tropical fish, including angelfish, butterflyfish, and pufferfish.

A view of the sea and shore with coconut trees in the distance

If you’re more interested in wreck diving, then you’re in luck. The YO-257 shipwreck is located off the coast of Waikiki and attracts divers from all over the world. The fune was intentionally sunk in 1989 to create an artificial reef, and has since become a popular spot for both divers and marine life. During the dive, you may encounter schools of jack and snapper, as well as green sea turtles and occasional white-tipped reef sharks.

Overall, Oahu provides an excellent opportunity for divers to explore the diverse marine ecosystem that Hawaii has to offer.


Maui is another popular destination for scuba diving in Hawaii, offering unique underwater experiences and breathtaking scenery.

Molokini Crater

One must-see dive site in Maui is Molokini Crater, a crescent-shaped volcanic crater located just off the coast of Maui’s south shore. Molokini Crater is home to an abundance of marine life and vibrant coral reefs, making it a truly unique diving experience. The visibility here is excellent, with crystal clear waters allowing you to see all the way to the bottom of the crater, over 300 feet deep.

Lanai’s Cathedrals

Another popular dive site in Maui is Lanai’s Cathedrals, located just a short bou ride from Maui’s coast. The Cathedrals are a series of unique underwater rock formations that feature stunning arches and swim-throughs. These formations resemble the architecture of a cathedral, hence the name. The diving here is best suited for intermediate or advanced divers due to the currents and depth. However, those who are up for the challenge will have the opportunity to see manta rays, turtles, and various fish species. The unique underwater landscape, combined with the chance to encounter Hawaii’s marine life, make the Cathedrals one of Maui’s most exciting dive sites.

In addition to Molokini Crater and Lanai’s Cathedrals, Maui offers many other dive sites that cater to all skill levels. From exploring vibrant coral gardens to encountering close-up with turtles, Maui’s underwater world has something for every diver. If you’re not a certified scuba diver, Maui also offers snorkeling tours that allow you to experience the beauty of Hawaii’s marine life from above the water.

With its unique underwater landscapes, diverse marine life, and clear waters, Maui offers a one-of-a-kind diving experience that is sure to leave you in awe.

A snorkeler swims underwater

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Maui has dive sites that will satisfy your thirst for adventure and exploration. Come and discover the stunning underwater world of Maui, Hawaii today.

Big Island

The Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawai’i Island, is the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago and offers some incredible dive sites for both beginners and experienced divers.

Kona Coast

One of the most popular dive sites on the Big Island is the Kona Coast, which boasts crystal clear waters and a thriving marine ecosystem. One must-see dive site in Kona is the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, which is home to a colorful reef teeming with marine life. Here, you can expect to spot sea turtles, octopus, moray eels, and a variety of fish species.

King’s Trail

For a more unique experience, head to the Kohala Coast and dive the King’s Trail. This diving spot features a rocky underwater terrain that is home to sea caves, arches, and ledges, creating an exciting opportunity for divers to explore. The King’s Trail is also known for its black sand beach, which provides a stark and dramatic contrast to the colorful marine life below the surface.

For advanced divers, the Big Island offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. The underwater lava tubes off the coast of the Big Island provide an unforgettable opportunity to dive through molten lava and witness the dramatic power of nature up close.

The Big Island’s unique geology means that its dive site’s underwater topography is both rare and stunning, with volcanic formations and extensive coral reefs, providing unforgettable diving experiences for divers of all levels. For example, the famous shark encounter dive, Atlantis Submarine Tour, will take you to depths of 100 feet to watch reef species, sharks, sea turtles, and eels co-existing and thriving.

A person in diving gear swimming underwater

In addition to diving, the Big Island offers a variety of other activities and attractions, including hiking, exploring the volcanic landscape, and learning about Hawaii’s rich cultural history and traditions.


Kauai is a stunning island that is often referred to as the “Garden Island” due to its lush green valleys and tropical rainforests. In addition to its natural beauty above ground, Kauai also has a thriving underwater world that is popular among scuba divers.

Koloa Landing

One must-see dive site in Kauai is the Koloa Landing, located on the south shore of the island. This popular spot is known for its abundant marine life, including octopus, eels, and a variety of colorful fish species. The underwater terrain at Koloa Landing is also impressive, with unique rock formations and lava tubes that provide an exciting opportunity for divers to explore.

Sheraton Caverns

Another popular dive site in Kauai is the Sheraton Caverns, located off the coast of Poipu Beach. This dive site is named after the nearby Sheraton Kauai Resort and is known for its extensive cave system and vibrant coral reefs. Divers who enter the caverns will encounter schools of fish, octopus, and sometimes even Hawaiian monk seals. The Sheraton Caverns are open to all skill levels and offer an unforgettable underwater experience.

Niihau Island

For a unique diving experience, head to the Niihau Island, located just southwest of Kauai. Niihau is known for its remote location and pristine reefs, which make it an incredible place to explore for scuba divers. However, access to this island is extremely limited, and divers will need to hon a tour with a specialty company to gain access to the area.

Divers in diving equipment underwater

In addition to its incredible dive sites, Kauai also offers a variety of other water-based activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and surfing. Visitors to the area can also take a bou tour of the stunning Na Pali Coast, a rugged coastline that is only accessible by water.

Overall, Kauai is a wonderful place to explore both above and below the water.

With its remarkable marine life, unique underwater landscapes, and warm waters, Kauai provides a one-of-a-kind diving experience that is sure to thrill both beginners and experienced divers alike.


Lanai is a small, secluded island located just a short bou ride from Maui’s coast, but it offers some of the most unique and thrilling dive sites in all of Hawaii. The island is known for its rugged coastline, crystal clear waters, and pristine coral reefs, providing an exciting opportunity for divers to explore.

The Cathedrals

One must-see dive site in Lanai is the Cathedrals, located just off the coast of the island. Here, divers can explore a series of underwater caverns, tunnels, and swim-throughs that resemble the architecture of a cathedral, hence the name. The Cathedrals feature stunning rock formations and an impressive array of marine life, including manta rays, turtles, and various fish species. The dive site’s unique underwater landscape and marine life make it one of the most exciting dive sites in Lanai.

The First Cathedral

Another popular dive site in Lanai is the First Cathedral, located on the island’s southwest coast. This dive site offers an impressive underwater landscape, featuring towering rock formations and swim-throughs that are home to various marine life species. The site is also popular for night diving, allowing divers to witness the nocturnal behaviors of Hawaii’s marine creatures, including octopus, shrimp, and crabs.

Lanai also offers a variety of other dive sites, including Shark Fin Rock and Miki’s Reef. These dive sites provide an opportunity to dive with sharks, explore vibrant coral gardens, and encounter schools of tropical fish.

Divers swim amid colorful corals

Overall, Lanai is a unique and compelling destination for scuba diving that offers a one-of-a-kind diving experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Lanai’s underwater world has something for everyone to enjoy. Come and explore the stunning underwater world of Lanai, Hawaii, and discover the thrill of scuba diving in paradise.

These are just a few of the many popular dive sites in Hawaii. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, there are many options for underwater exploration in this beautiful and diverse region.

Typical weather

Hawaii has a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. The typical weather in Hawaii can be characterized as follows:

  1. Warm temperatures: The average temperature in Hawaii is between 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C), with temperatures rarely dropping below 60°F (15°C) or rising above 90°F (32°C).
  2. High humidity: Hawaii is a humid place, with average relative humidity levels ranging from 60% to 80%.
  3. Plenty of sunshine: Hawaii receives plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of more than 300 sunny days per year.
  4. Occasional rain: While Hawaii is generally a sunny place, it can also experience occasional rain, particularly during the winter months. The wettest months are typically November through March.
  5. Trade winds: Hawaii is located in the path of the trade winds, which blow from the northeast and bring a refreshing breeze to the islands, particularly in the summer months.

Overall, the typical weather in Hawaii is warm, sunny, and humid, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and beach-goers.

Typical water temperatures

The difference between Hawaii above water and underwater is staggering, particularly because most underwater diving sites in Hawaii are around 100 feet deep.

This means the water temperature is pretty consistently around 50-70 degrees in colder months deep underwater, where the heat of the sun can’t warm up the water as much. However, waters are still fairly temperate in the summer months, particularly during peak September.

A diver points an underwater camera at a sea turtle swimming beside her

Why scuba dive in Hawaii?

Hawaii is a popular destination for scuba diving due to its clear waters, warm temperatures, and diverse marine life. Some reasons to scuba dive in Hawaii include:

Diverse marine life is a great reason. The state is home to a variety of marine species, including colorful tropical fish, green sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales. Its clear waters provide excellent visibility, making it easy to see the underwater world in all its colorful beauty.

The warm waters make it a comfortable place to dive, even in the winter months. It is also home to a variety of unique underwater landscapes, including volcanic formations, coral reefs, and lava tubes. Hawaii is easy to reach, with multiple airports and direct flights from many cities in the United States and around the world. The downside is that during most of the year, flights are quite expensive, due to its remote location and airlines raising prices.

Whether you’re a beginner scuba diver or an experienced adventurer, Hawaii offers a unique and unforgettable diving experience, with something for everyone to enjoy.