If you’re looking for a great snorkel spot on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, then you need to check out Three Tables Beach. Named after the three big flat rocks that stick just barely out of the water, this spot is teeming with fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating ocean life. Plus, Three Tables is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, so you can snorkel here knowing that the area is protected from boats and fishing. And if you’re up for more snorkeling adventures, Sharks Cove is just a stone’s throw away. It’s easy to see why Three Tables is considered one of the best snorkel spots on the island.

After watching the video by Murphy Travels, you’ll see how incredible Three Tables Beach truly is. Equipped with sunscreen and an excitement for what lies beneath, the snorkelers in the video dive into the water and are greeted by a colorful underwater world. The vibrant corals, numerous fish species, and even sea turtles make this snorkel experience unforgettable. And the best part? Three Tables is conveniently located, making it a perfect spot for locals and visitors alike. If you’re in search of a fantastic snorkeling destination in Hawaii, Three Tables Beach should definitely be on your list.

Snorkeling at Three Tables | Oahu Snorkeling Spots | Best places to snorkel HAWAII

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Overview of Three Tables


Three Tables is located on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It is known for its beautiful snorkeling spots and is situated near Sharks Cove.


Three Tables gets its name from the three big flat rocks that barely stick out of the water. These rocks provide a unique and visually interesting backdrop for snorkelers as they explore the underwater world.

Marine Life Conservation District

Three Tables is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, which means that the area is protected from boats and fishing. This designation helps to preserve the marine life and natural beauty of the area for future generations to enjoy.

Proximity to Sharks Cove

Three Tables is located in close proximity to Sharks Cove, another popular snorkeling spot on the North Shore of Oahu. This makes it convenient for snorkelers to visit both locations and experience the different marine life and underwater landscapes that each spot has to offer.

Preparation and Gear

Snorkeling Equipment

Before heading to Three Tables, make sure you have all the necessary snorkeling equipment. This includes a mask, snorkel, and fins. It’s important to choose high-quality equipment that fits properly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable snorkeling experience.


Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before entering the water at Three Tables. The sun in Hawaii can be intense, so it’s essential to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Choose a reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the marine life in the area as well.

Safety Precautions

Always prioritize safety when snorkeling. Make sure to swim with a buddy and stay aware of your surroundings. Be cautious of currents and know your limits. It’s also recommended to have a flotation device, such as a snorkel vest, for added safety and peace of mind.

Snorkeling Experience

Entering the Water

When entering the water at Three Tables, take your time and descend slowly. Be mindful of any rocks or coral formations to avoid damaging them or yourself. Once in the water, adjust your snorkel gear and get ready to explore.

Underwater Visibility

The underwater visibility at Three Tables can vary depending on the weather conditions. On clear days, you can expect excellent visibility, allowing you to see the vibrant marine life and the beauty of the coral reef. However, during periods of high surf or rain, the visibility may be reduced.

Marine Life

Three Tables is teeming with marine life. Snorkelers can expect to encounter a variety of fish species, sea turtles, and other fascinating creatures. Keep an eye out for colorful tropical fish darting in and out of the coral formations, and don’t be surprised if a curious sea turtle swims by.

Swimming with Sea Turtles

One of the highlights of snorkeling at Three Tables is the opportunity to swim with sea turtles. These gentle creatures can often be seen gliding gracefully through the water, and snorkelers are reminded to maintain a respectful distance and avoid touching or chasing them.

Fish Species

The diversity of fish species at Three Tables is impressive. Snorkelers may encounter angelfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, and many more. Each species adds to the vibrant and colorful underwater world, creating a snorkeling experience that is both visually stunning and educational.

Other Ocean Life

In addition to fish and sea turtles, Three Tables is home to various other ocean life. Keep an eye out for eels hiding in the crevices, crabs scuttling along the seabed, and even the occasional octopus hiding in plain sight. Exploring these hidden gems adds an extra layer of excitement to your snorkeling adventure.

Benefits of Snorkeling at Three Tables

Protected Area

One of the major benefits of snorkeling at Three Tables is that it is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District. This designation helps to preserve the marine ecosystem, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Abundance of Marine Life

The abundance of marine life at Three Tables makes it a snorkeler’s paradise. With its protected status, the area attracts a diverse range of fish species and other underwater creatures. Snorkelers are guaranteed to have a memorable and captivating experience.

Natural Scenery

The natural scenery at Three Tables is breathtaking. From the coral formations to the underwater rock formations, every inch of this snorkel spot is a sight to behold. Snorkelers will be immersed in a world of vibrant colors and fascinating geological features.

Accessible Location

Another benefit of snorkeling at Three Tables is its convenient location on the North Shore of Oahu. Whether you are a local or a visitor, Three Tables is easily accessible and a great option for a day of snorkeling adventures.

Comparing Three Tables and Sharks Cove


While both Three Tables and Sharks Cove are located on the North Shore of Oahu, they each offer a unique snorkeling experience. Three Tables is more secluded, while Sharks Cove tends to attract larger crowds. The location is a matter of personal preference, depending on whether you seek a more intimate snorkeling encounter or prefer a livelier atmosphere.

Snorkeling Experience

The snorkeling experience at Three Tables and Sharks Cove differs in terms of marine life and underwater topography. Three Tables is known for its abundance of fish and sea turtles, while Sharks Cove is famous for its impressive rock formations and vibrant coral reef.

Different Marine Life

Three Tables and Sharks Cove are home to a variety of marine life; however, each spot has its own distinct species and underwater ecosystem. Snorkelers who explore both locations will have the opportunity to encounter different fish species and other fascinating creatures.

Proximity to Three Tables

One advantage of snorkeling at Three Tables is its proximity to Sharks Cove. Snorkelers can easily visit both spots in one day and enjoy the unique features of each. The close proximity allows for a diverse and fulfilling snorkeling experience.

Other Recommended Oahu Snorkeling Spots

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a popular snorkeling destination on the southeast coast of Oahu. Known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, it offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience. However, be prepared for larger crowds and a required entrance fee.

Kuilima Cove

Kuilima Cove, located on the North Shore of Oahu near Turtle Bay Resort, is a hidden gem for snorkelers. With its calm waters and abundant marine life, it provides a peaceful and less crowded alternative for snorkeling enthusiasts.

Electric Beach

Electric Beach, located on the west coast of Oahu, is known for its unique snorkeling experience. The warm water from a nearby power plant attracts a variety of marine life, including sea turtles and vibrant fish species. It’s a great spot for experienced snorkelers looking for something different.

Kahe Point (Electric Beach)

Kahe Point, also known as Electric Beach, is located on the west coast of Oahu. It is famous for its clear waters and abundance of marine life, including sea turtles and tropical fish. The warm water from the nearby power plant creates a unique environment for snorkelers to explore.

Sharks Cove

Sharks Cove, located near Three Tables, is another must-visit snorkeling spot on the North Shore of Oahu. Its unique rock formations and diverse marine life make it a popular choice for snorkelers of all levels. Just like Three Tables, it offers an unforgettable underwater experience.

Tips for Snorkeling at Three Tables

Go Early in the Morning

To avoid crowds and increase your chances of encountering marine life, it is best to go snorkeling at Three Tables early in the morning. The calm and quiet atmosphere will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the underwater world.

Check the Weather Conditions

Before heading to Three Tables, check the weather conditions. Snorkeling is best enjoyed on calm and sunny days, with good visibility. If the weather is unfavorable, consider rescheduling your snorkeling adventure for a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Bring Water and Snacks

Snorkeling can be an energizing activity, and it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished. Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself fueled throughout the day. Remember to pack your snacks in a reusable bag to minimize waste and protect the environment.

Take Breaks and Rest

Snorkeling can be physically demanding, especially for beginners. Take regular breaks and rest when needed. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits. Snorkeling should be an enjoyable experience, so take your time and savor every moment.

Respect Marine Life and the Environment

When snorkeling at Three Tables, it’s crucial to respect the marine life and the environment. Avoid touching or chasing marine animals, as this can cause stress and harm to them. Remember to follow any regulations or guidelines in place to ensure the conservation of the area for future generations to enjoy.

Safety Guidelines

Swim with a Buddy

Always swim with a buddy when snorkeling. Having someone by your side increases safety and provides an extra set of eyes in case of emergencies. Look out for each other and communicate through hand signals to ensure a smooth and safe snorkeling experience.

Be Aware of Currents

Oahu’s waters can have strong currents, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and understand the direction and intensity of the currents. If you encounter a strong current, don’t panic. Instead, swim parallel to the shore to escape its pull and return to calmer waters.

Follow Instructions

If there are any instructional signs or guidelines posted at Three Tables, make sure to read and follow them. These instructions are in place to keep both snorkelers and the marine environment safe. Ignoring them can lead to accidents or damage to the fragile ecosystem.

Watch out for Sharp Rocks

While snorkeling at Three Tables, be cautious of any sharp rocks or coral formations. Avoid touching or stepping on them to prevent injuries to yourself and damage to the marine life. Remember, you are a guest in their underwater world, so treat it with care and respect.

Know Your Limits

Snorkeling can be a physically demanding activity, especially for those who are new to it. Know your limits and don’t push yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with. Take breaks, rest when needed, and never snorkel alone if you’re not confident in your abilities.


Snorkeling at Three Tables in Oahu, Hawaii, is an unforgettable experience for both locals and visitors alike. With its abundance of marine life, diverse fish species, and unique underwater scenery, it is a snorkeler’s paradise. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Three Tables offers something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your snorkeling gear, apply some sunscreen, and get ready to explore the wonders of the underwater world at Three Tables.