During the times when swimming is safe—mainly in summer—just about every beach on Molokai offers good snorkeling along the lava outcroppings in the island’s clean and pristine waters. Although rough in winter, Kepuhi Beach is a prime spot in summer. Certain spots inside the South Shore Reef are also worth checking out.

Best Spots

During the summer, Kepuhi Beach, on Molokai’s west end, offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. The ½-mile-long stretch has plenty of rocky nooks that swirl with sea life. Take Kaluakoi Road all the way to the west end, park at the now-closed Kaluakoi Resort, and walk to the beach. Avoid Kepuhi Beach in winter, as the sea is rough here.

At Waialua Beach Park, on Molokai’s east end, you’ll find a thin curve of sand that rims a sheltered little bay loaded with coral heads and aquatic life. The water here is shallow—sometimes so shallow that you bump into the underwater landscape—and it’s crystal clear. Pull off the road near mile marker 20.

Equipment and Tours

Rent snorkel sets from Molokai Fish & Dive in Kaunakakai. Rental fees are nominal ($7–$10 per day). All the charter boats carry snorkel gear and include dive stops.

Fun Hogs Sportfishing. Mike Holmes, captain of the 27-foot Ahi, knows the island waters intimately, likes to have fun, and is willing to arrange any type of excursion—for example, one dedicated entirely to snorkeling. His two-hour snorkel trips leave early in the morning and explore rarely seen fish and turtle sites outside the reef. Kaunakakai Wharf, Kaunakakai Pl., Kaunakakai, Hawaii, 96748. 808/336--0047; From $70 per person.

Molokai Fish & Dive. Climb aboard a 31-foot twin-hull PowerCat for a snorkeling trip to Molokai's pristine barrier reef. Trips include equipment, water, and soft drinks. 53 Ala Malama St., Kaunakakai, Hawaii, 96748. 808/553–5926; From $79 per person.