Electric Beach Snorkeling on Oahu
Electric beach, located in Kahe Point Beach Park is my favorite place of all the snorkeling spots in Oahu.
There really are a lot of great snorkeling beaches in Oahu, but the combination of the awesome sea creatures, ease of access, lack of crowds (comparatively speaking), and the site being beginner friendly make it truly special.
- Kahe Point Beach Park
- Other Nearby Attractions
- Hanauma Bay or Electric Beach? Which has the best snorkeling in Oahu
- Pros and Cons
Electric Beach Snorkeling Quick Facts:
- Other names: Kate Point, Kahe Point Beach Park, Electric Beach Park
- Good for: Snorkeling
- Not so good for: Lounging on the beach (not a ton of sand)
- Swimming conditions: Intermediate (Currents can get strong)
- Facilities: Public restroom, showers, covered picnic patio
- Lifeguard: none
- Cost: Free
- Parking: Free lot and street parking available
- Available tours: Electric Beach Guided Snorkeling Tour, 2 hour Boat tour (Snorkeling & Dolphins)
Why is it called the Electric Beach?
The Electric Beach Oahu offers earned its name due to its immediate proximity to a power plant. Supposedly, this power plant discharges hot water into the ocean.
The warmer water actually attracts a unique variety of sea life that would otherwise not be gathered in a single location. It really is bizarre to see the contrast of the perfect nature scene with gigantic concrete smokestacks.
Is Electric Beach Safe?
I’ve been assured the runoff from the power plant is pure water. It is not some sort of toxic runoff. So, is Electric Beach safe? As safe as bath water I would say!
Where is Electric Beach?
Electric Beach Hawaii Location
Electric Beach Oahu is on the west side of the island. It is about a 40 minute drive from Waikiki. On the drive from Waikiki you have to go through Honolulu, so beware that there could be traffic that slows you down.
The west side of the island is generally not as developed, and is the leeward (dryer) side of the island. That being said, it’s still Hawaii so there are going to be visitors all over the area as well.
Rent a Car or Moped
The best way to get here is to rent a car. If you don’t have a car rental you can rent a moped for the day, or take an Uber/Lyft. Uber/Lyft will be your most expensive option depending on where you are staying.
If you decide to explore the island by moped you can rent one here for up to two weeks at a time!
Electric Beach Parking
When looking at the best beaches in Oahu for snorkeling you have to consider parking. Unfortunately it just gets expensive or difficult at a lot of the other spots.
It may sound silly, but the parking situation helps make the Electric Beach the best snorkeling in Oahu. A huge benefit is that there are spots in an accompanying parking lot, and even when it fills up there are additional parking spots along the railroad tracks just off the main highway.
I went on a Saturday afternoon and even though the lot was full, there were tons of available spots along the tracks just off of the main road.
How to Access Hawaiian Electric Beach Park
From the parking lot you will walk a very short distance to the right (about 100 feet). You will soon see a small cove and a mini beach. You’ve now arrived at the beach access for some of the best snorkeling in Oahu.
Is Electric Beach Crowded?
Is Electric Beach crowded? The answer is a bit tricky. If you are looking for a beach to lounge on away from other people then the answer is yes, it is quite crowded. If you are looking for a spot to snorkel without tons of people around you will be fine as the water opens up into an area with tons to see underwater.
When I was there the beach felt crowded, but once I was away from shore it felt like me and the sea creatures had a ton of space!
Electric Beach Swimming Conditions
You need to swim out about 50 yards to get to the reef. When I was there it was easy to tell where the most vibrant reefs were since there were a few people circling in the area. This was one instance where the other people were actually helpful.
Though I’m not the strongest swimmer, it was relatively easy for me to complete the swim.
Some of the best beaches in Oahu for snorkeling require difficult swims and thankfully it wasn’t the case here, but remember that currents are always changing so be careful.
Swimming in this area might be difficult for most children. The currents can get quite strong so you need to be careful.
Check the tides at Electric beach here.
How deep is the water at Electric Beach?
Can You See Dolphins At Electric Beach?
Yes, you can see dolphins at Electric Beach off the shore, but it isn’t a guarantee, and is generally pretty far out.
If you are willing to go on a boat tour though you have a MUCH MUCH higher chance of seeing them. The western side of the island where Electric Beach consistently attracts lots of dolphins.
If you book this dolphin and snorkel boat tour you can take advantage of both opportunities.
Electric Beach Snorkeling – What to Expect
Snorkeling at Electric Beach is amazing! It is also one of the best free dive spots in Oahu.
Green sea turtles are very common at Electric beach. On top of the sea turtles you will also see a colorful array of fish, like the yellow goatfish as well as spinner dolphins off shore if you get lucky!
Don’t forget to bring snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
Snorkeling Tours at Electric Beach
If you are not the strongest swimmer it might be a good idea to book the this Guided Snorkeling Tour. They will take you to the best spots so you don’t have to swim as much to find the fish.
If you are interested in seeing spinner dolphins this boat tour is the best way to see them.
Book your tour: Electric Beach Guided Snorkeling Tour
Kahe Point Beach Park
The Kahe Point Beach Park is right next to the Electric Beach snorkeling spot. You can park at either and make your way to the beach to swim out to the reefs.
Other Nearby Attractions
Even though the west side of Oahu does not have as many big resorts, it now features the new Disney Aulani Resort. It is just south of this Honolulu snorkeling hotspot.
The area is very close to the secret Mermaid Caves that not very many people know about. I highly recommend including a stop here while you are in the area.
Read more about how to get to the Mermaid Caves here.
Hanauma Bay or Electric Beach? Which has the best snorkeling in Oahu
Trying to find the best snorkeling Oahu offers?
I’ve snorkeled at each of these amazing snorkel spots and realistically, you can’t go wrong either way. Both sites are some of the best snorkeling beaches Oahu has and are packed with gorgeous reefs and sea life.
The reefs at Hanauma Bay are bigger and closer to the shore. This means that they are ultimately easier to access. This is a huge advantage if you have kids who you want to snorkeling.
Snorkeling at Electric Beach requires a short swim out from the shore to get to the best action.
While the proximity of the reefs to the shore is better at Hanauma Bay, there are a lot of other difficulties that make it much less convenient.
If you aren’t taking kids I ultimately recommend Electric Beach because you get to see the same type of animals, it is easier to access, less crowded, and free.
Read our full blog post with photos on visiting Hanauma Bay here.
POST COVID 2022 Hanauma Bay Update
To get into Hanauma Bay you need a reservation. There are a finite number of slots at various times released each day, and they sell out really quick.
Even if you can get a reservation it costs $25 per person. Once there, you have to watch a 10 minute safety video, though this really isn’t bad.
You can read more about the Hanauma Bay booking process here.
Pros and Cons
- Extra sea life drawn to the uniquely warm waters
- No reservations required
- Ample parking
- Requires a short swim from shore to the reefs
- Very small beach – not a lot of lounge space
- Odd to snorkel in the shadow of a giant power plant
- No lifeguards on duty
Conclusion: Electric Beach Snorkeling is the best on Oahu
When considering the best places to snorkel in Oahu, you can’t just consider the sea life. You have to take ease of access, crowds, and cost into account.
When taking everything into account As I’ve already said, the Oahu Electric Beach is my favorite snorkel spot.
What to pack for Oahu
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. We honestly usually travel with 2 of them. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Sandals – LOVE these Tevas sandals. You can actually hike in them which is perfect for hawaii if you don’t want to bother with hiking boots.
- Hiking Boots – The hikes in Hawaii are MUDDY. Make sure to pack a nice pair of waterproof hiking boots so trekking through the mud and puddles doesn’t make you miserable. Nothing worse than wet socks. These are my favorite hiking boots. They are cute and comfortable. I never go hiking without them! Buy them from DSW here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops (Depending on the style of course). I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look.
- These denim shorts are my current favorites!
- These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Hat – essential. Shop my favorite hats at Nordstrom here.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. I never go anywhere without my white Air force ones. They are the most versatile shoe I own.
- These Nike tennis shoes are also my current favs. Only bummer is they sell out so fast! If they are sold out I would check out the newest released Nikes here. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. Amazon actually has amazing ones at really affordable prices. If you aren’t a fan of buying clothes off Amazon I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Camera Gear – The iPhone 13 Pro is amazing and probably all that most people need. BUT, if you want something more I can’t recommend the Sony A7IV mirrorless camera enough. It is AMAZING. If you are more into video than taking photos I recommend the Sony A7SIII or the Canon R5 for you Canon lovers.
- Travel tripod – This Peak Design travel tripod is the best I have ever used. It is so easy to carry around because it is literally the size of a water bottle. Fits perfectly in a backpack. I have never seen a tripod so compact. It’s life changing. You can check it out here if you’re interested. Note – It isn’t cheap, but that’s why I bought it from backcountry.com. They frequently have 15% off sales so I was luckily able to purchase during a sale.
Planning a trip to Oahu? Read more of our Oahu blog posts below!
My husband and I have been to Oahu many times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip.
Best Things to do in Oahu
- 15 Places You Can’t Miss in Oahu (Hawaii) – our most viewed post ever!
- 11 Best Things to do in Oahu (You Probably Haven’t Heard of) – For those looking for more unique things to do in Oahu
- The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List – What to pack!
- Best Doors off Helicopter Tour on Oahu
- Shark Diving in Oahu – Everything you need to know!
- Visiting the Secret Mermaid Caves Oahu – MUST visit!
- Halona Blowhole – Lookout, Beach & Lava Tube
- Laniakea Beach – The TRUE Turtle Beach in Oahu!
- Kailua Beach Park – Oahu’s Best All Around Beach
- Lanikai Beach – Great, but not my favorite
Best Cliff Jumping in Oahu
- Waimea Bay Cliff Jumping on Oahu – amazing cliff jumping spot
- Laie Point Cliff Jumping Spot on Oahu’s North Shore – more cliff jumping!
- Spitting Caves in Oahu – Underrated!
- China Walls on Oahu – another great cliff jumping spot.
Best Snorkeling in Oahu
- Best Snorkeling in Oahu
- Sharks Cove – Great snorkeling here
- Hanauma Bay
- Electric Beach Snorkeling – (Kahe Point Beach Park)
- Kuilima Cove Snorkeling at Turtle Bay Resort
Best Hikes on Oahu
- Diamond Head Hike– updated for 2023 – you now need reservations.
- Koko Head Hike – The world’s Largest Stairmaster
- Kapena Falls – One of the best easy hikes on Oahu
- Likeke Falls Trail
- Lulumahu Falls Hike – Everything you need to know
More Hawaii Blog posts:
- The best places to see on all the Hawaiian Islands – 27 Incredible Places To Visit In Hawaii
- The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Hawaiian Islands – and what to expect on each island: What To Expect On Each Of The Hawaiian Islands
Booking Hotels: I recommend checking out Booking.com for the best pricing worldwide.
Rental Cars: When we rent a car while traveling, we routinely use Rentalcars.com for best value and most options | Rental Cars