Ready for an unforgettable snorkeling adventure? Join us at Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step on Big Island, Hawaii. As locals affectionately call it, this spot is famous for its crystal clear water, Green Sea Turtles, and vibrant tropical fish. Considered by many as one of the best snorkeling spots in the entire state, Honaunau Bay offers an incredible underwater experience. But before you dive in, let us share some valuable information about this stunning location.

How to Snorkeling at Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step - Big Island, Hawaii

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Introduction to Honaunau Bay

Welcome to Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step on Big Island, Hawaii! This stunning bay is famous for its crystal clear water, abundant marine life, and beautiful coral reefs. Many people consider snorkeling at Honaunau Bay to be one of the best experiences in the entire state of Hawaii. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, Honaunau Bay offers a truly remarkable underwater adventure that you won’t want to miss.

Location of Honaunau Bay

Honaunau Bay is located just 40 minutes outside of Kona on Big Island, Hawaii. It is also known as Two Step by the locals. The bay is easily accessible, making it a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike. If you’re arriving by car, there is limited free parking available, so be sure to arrive early to secure a spot. If you miss out on the free parking, there are two larger paid parking lots nearby, with one charging only $5. As you approach the bay, you’ll notice the cool outrigger canoes stored to the right. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, there is a sandy beach on the left that provides an alternative entry point.

Parking at Honaunau Bay

Free parking at Honaunau Bay is limited, with space for only about 13 cars. If you’re planning to take advantage of the free parking, it’s best to arrive early to secure a spot. Alternatively, there are larger paid parking lots nearby, with one charging only $5. As an added bonus, when using the free parking lot, take a moment to check out the really cool outrigger canoes stored to the right as you approach the bay. Remember to bring water shoes or sandals as the bay is covered in giant chunks of lava rock and not the soft sand you might expect.

Snorkeling at Honaunau Bay

Once you’ve arrived at Honaunau Bay, it’s time to dive into the incredible underwater world. As you make your way towards the edge of the bay, you’ll notice the two large lava rock steps that give Two Step its name. These steps lead down into the ocean, providing a convenient and safe entry point for snorkelers. Take your time to sit on the second step and wait for the waves to calm before making your entry.

Equipment Needed for Snorkeling

Before entering the water, it’s important to ensure that you have the necessary equipment for a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. The essentials include a snorkel, mask, and fins. These can be rented from various rental shops near Honaunau Bay if you don’t have your own. Additionally, wearing a rash guard or wetsuit is recommended to protect your skin from the sun and any potential jellyfish or other stinging creatures in the water.

Entering the Water

Once you’re fully equipped, it’s time to enter the water and begin your snorkeling adventure. Take a moment to adjust your mask and make sure it fits securely on your face. As you submerge yourself in the water, you’ll immediately notice the incredible clarity and visibility. The lava-filled shoreline helps to keep the water clear, as there is not much sand to get churned up by the waves. Take a moment to marvel at the underwater world before you and get ready to explore the coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Exploring the Coral Reef

Honaunau Bay is home to a diverse range of marine life, making it the perfect place for snorkelers to explore. In addition to the famous Green Sea Turtles, you’ll also encounter vibrant tropical fish such as yellow tang, parrotfish, trumpet fish, and colorful box fish. The coral reef is a living organism, and it’s essential to avoid touching it, as the oils from our skin can be harmful. Take your time to swim around and through the coral, observing the intricate ecosystem it supports.

Clear Water at Honaunau Bay

One of the most striking features of Honaunau Bay is its crystal clear water. The lack of sand in the water results in excellent visibility, allowing snorkelers to appreciate the vibrant colors and intricate details of the marine life and coral. This clear water provides an immersive experience that truly showcases the beauty of the underwater world.

Marine Life at Honaunau Bay

Honaunau Bay is teeming with a wide variety of marine life. From the majestic Green Sea Turtles to the colorful tropical fish, there is always something fascinating to see. The bay is home to an abundance of yellow tang, parrotfish, trumpet fish, and spotted box fish, among many other species. Snorkelers have the opportunity to swim alongside these incredible creatures and witness them in their natural habitat.

Importance of Protecting Coral

Coral reefs are not only visually stunning but also play a vital role in our ecosystem. They are often referred to as the rainforests of the ocean because of the incredible biodiversity they support. It’s crucial to protect coral reefs and ensure their preservation for future generations. When snorkeling at Honaunau Bay, it’s important to remember not to touch or disturb the coral, as it is a living organism. Our skin’s natural oils can harm the coral, so be mindful and swim responsibly.

Other Activities at Honaunau Bay

While snorkeling may be the main attraction at Honaunau Bay, there are other activities to enjoy as well. After a day of swimming, you can explore the tide pools located about 20 feet south of Two Step. These tide pools are home to fascinating creatures such as crabs and small fish. You may even spot a sea turtle basking in the sun, but remember to give them plenty of space and admire them from a distance.

Exploring Tide Pools

The tide pools near Honaunau Bay offer a unique opportunity to observe marine life up close. These pools are home to small crabs and tiny fish, creating a miniature ecosystem within the bay. Take a moment to explore these pools and marvel at the incredible diversity of life they support. Keep in mind that these creatures are delicate, so be gentle and respect their habitat.

Spotting Sea Turtles

Honaunau Bay is famous for its resident Green Sea Turtles, and snorkelers often have the chance to encounter them while exploring the bay. These gentle giants can often be found gracefully swimming or resting on the ocean floor. While it’s a magical experience to witness these magnificent creatures, it’s important to remember to keep a respectful distance and avoid touching or harassing them in any way.


Snorkeling at Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step, is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the incredible underwater world of Big Island, Hawaii. With its crystal clear water, abundant marine life, and vibrant coral reefs, Honaunau Bay is truly a snorkeler’s paradise. Remember to arrive early to secure a parking spot, bring your snorkeling gear, and be respectful of the marine life and coral reefs. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, Honaunau Bay will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.