Hanauma Bay gets about 3000 visitors a day and almost one million visitors a year. It was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park back in 1967. The state has done several things to try and maintain the coral life like requiring visitors to watch safety videos and keeping a careful eye on those that are stepping on the reef, as this is prohibited in the bay. Most of the bay’s visitors are out-of-state tourists but locals, such as myself, love the bay as well.
My dad took my sister and I to Hanauma all the time when we were younger.
It was one of our favorite things to do and we loved snorkeling around. Hanauma Bay is the best because it has parking (super helpful,) and the bay is naturally protected by the coral so that it doesn’t get strong surf. This makes it perfect for small keiki to enjoy themselves and parents don’t have to worry about safety concerns (although you should still keep an eye on your children regardless.) Snorkeling is also the best at Hanauma, it really is. I haven’t found any other place that has such a plethora of sealife like Hanauma does. It’s really gorgeous underwater. I would highly recommend bringing a snorkel mask and pair of fins to explore! They do have pairs to rent down at the beach, but I like bringing my own.
In order to access the bay and the water itself, you’ll have to walk down a hill (or take the shuttle,) from the parking lot and admissions center down to the bay. Admissions is $7.50/person and free for locals. Parking is $1. The park is closed on Tuesdays, and typically packed in the mornings. When I was younger, our golden time was 2pm. By then, the morning crowd had departed and there was enough parking for the rest of us. If you aren’t able to get parking, you can always park outside the park, but I would not recommend that because walking is going to be a hassle. You’ll see when you get there, but basically if you park outside the park, you’ll have to walk down a hill to get to the admissions center and down another hill to get to the bay itself. It’s not going to be fun walking up that hill to get back to your car. So, wait until the afternoon, and snag a parking spot then, and you’ll be good to go.
Hanauma Bay is such a beautiful place. The people that work and volunteer there are all very sweet, nice individuals. It is a very touristy place, so keep that in mind, you may feel overwhelmed with the high proportion of foreign tourists and foreigners in general. But, if you have small keiki that want some fun in the sun, Hanauma is the place to go! There are also restrooms at this beach, unlike most beaches on the island, and this is helpful. Bring sunscreen and your camera, and have fun!