Discover the 10 best snorkeling beaches worldwide! These coastal gems promise unforgettable underwater adventures, with easy access reefs directly from the shore.
10. Koh Tao, Thailand
Some of Thailands best snorkeling beaches can be found on the small outcrop of Koh Tao, nestled in the heart of the Thai Gulf.
Having long been a haven for ocean lovers and backpackers alike, this affordable destination is an ideal choice for snorkelers and scuba divers on a budget.
Rustic beach bungalows tucked away in the rocky palm-fringed coast sit just yards from the warm waters where an abundance of coral reefs and tropical fish and shark species can be accessed straight from the sand.
To find the best spots on the island, check out our Koh Tao Snorkeling guide.
9. Honduras, Caribbean
The island of Honduras sits at the very tip of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second biggest barrier reef in the world.
Honduras is easily considered as one of the best places to snorkel in the Caribbean, specifically around the Islas de la Bahia or ‘Bay Islands’ which consist of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja.
These stunning atolls are surrounded by ample white sands, but most importantly their abundant reefs are packed with exciting fish and coral species.
The crystal clear visibility make the Islas de la Bahia some of the best snorkeling beaches in the world.
8. Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
For Hawaii’s second best snorkeling beach, look no further than Hanauma Bay in the east of Oahu. This fantastic Nature Preserve was once a volcanic crater, making its surrounding cone shaped reef both calm and rich in marine species.
Wading from the white sand shores, it will take little to no time at all before you are greeted by friendly parrotfish, damsel fish, porcupine fish, jacks, eels and plenty of crustaceans.
Discover the beauty of this natural sanctuary and create unforgettable memories in this idyllic Hawaiian destination. There are many great snorkeling spots in Oahu but for us Hanauma Bay ranks top.
7. Ka'anapali Beach, Maui
Ka'anapali Beach stands as the epitome of beach snorkeling in Maui, Hawaii, with its pristine waters, diverse marine ecosystem, and convenient amenities. Whether you're a snorkeling enthusiast or a first-time explorer, this beach promises an unforgettable and immersive underwater journey into the beauty of Maui's marine world.
Black Rock is an iconic lava rock formation located at the northern end of Ka'anapali Beach and is one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island. For those seeking a bit of adventure, you can even take the plunge off the lava rock cliff and snorkel along the underwater ledge.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Black Rock at Ka'anapali Beach offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Don your snorkel gear, dive into the tranquil waters, and prepare to be amazed by the natural beauty and biodiversity that awaits you.
6. Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Despite the reputation of the Great Barrier Reef being the best place to snorkel in Australia, Ningaloo on the West Coast is a great alternative, especially because this particular reef can be accessed straight from the shore.
This World Heritage Site is home to the longest fringing reef on the planet and with empty sand dunes stretching for miles. Its unique scenery provides some of the best snorkeling beaches you will ever see.
Pack your best underwater camera for this one, the marine life found underwater at Ningaloo Reef is astounding, from the tiny Blue-Ringed Octopus to Giant Oceanic Mantas and Reef Sharks to Humpback Whales.
5. Moorea, French Polynesia
One of the best snorkeling resorts in the world has to be the Hilton in Moorea, which offers some of the most spectacular shore snorkeling on the island.
Float atop those famous French Polynesian waters and admire the healthy soft and hard coral garden below.
The Hilton is one of French Polynesia’s best snorkeling honeymoon resorts and for non-residents it is possible to purchase a day pass that gives you access to the beach, lagoon and an inclusive lunch.
4. Dahab, Egypt
The striking coastline of Dahab situated in southeast Sinai, is one of Egypt’s best snorkeling beaches.
It is also home to the famous Blue Hole, the worlds most dangerous dive site.
Thankfully for snorkelers, its sheer coral walls can be enjoyed at leisure by simply following the striking rugged coastline
Colourful coral colonies and thousands of tiny anthias fish coat this vertical drop off, making the Blue Hole one of the worlds most impressive places to snorkel.
After you’re done, kick back and relax in one of Dahab’s rustic beachside cabanas with an Egyptian mint tea and shisha if you wish.
3. Pink Beach, Komodo
For some of the best snorkeling in Asia, look no further than Pink Beach in Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
Famed for its unique peachy blush hues, these rare and beautiful shores are certainly a sight to behold, but lets not forget what this region is really renowned for.
Nutrient rich waters surround the Komodo Islands which are packed full of exceptional coral reefs, overflowing with marine life, including colourful anthias fish and many types of rays.
The ripping currents of Komodo make it more suitable for strong and healthy snorkelers.
However, the rewards are endless, the current attracts many larger fish like Giant Trevally and Barracuda, making Pink Beach one one of the most heart pumping, best snorkeling beaches in Indonesia, and indeed the world.
2. Maldives, Indian Ocean
Without a doubt, the Maldivian islands offer some of the best snorkeling beaches on earth.
Tiny sun-drenched atolls string for miles across clear aquamarine waters, each one with its very own picture perfect white sand beach.
Rich drop-offs encircle the islands and are easily reached in just a few steps from the shore.
If you’d like to be stranded on a desert island with your loved one, the Maldives has to be one of the best snorkeling honeymoon destinations out there!
1. Raja Ampat, West Papua
If you can imagine the best snorkeling in the world, Raja Ampat is it!
At the heart of the coral triangle, the archipelago of Raja Ampat is known to be the epicentre of marine biodiversity.
This remote region is so far removed from civilisation, that its reefs and beaches are probably some of the most pristine in existence. For intrepid travelers and serious snorkelers, eco tourism is slowly on the increase, making it that bit more accessible – as long as you can hack the journey.
Rising from endless blue waters, distinctive limestone landscapes are framed by immaculate beaches littered with coconuts. But whats really special about Raja Ampat is what lies beneath the surface.
Planning a trip to this underwater wonderland? Don’t miss out on these top Raja Ampat snorkel sites.
What you need for beach snorkeling
Having good snorkeling gear is crucial when exploring remote islands. It ensures comfort, safety, and optimal underwater visibility, enhancing your overall experience and allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the marine environment.
If you're heading to one of these dream snorkel destinations, ensure you pack all the necessary equipment for an unforgettable experience.
Check out our snorkel gear checklist for a complete guide on what to bring for your next beach snorkeling trip.