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Snorkeling--Hawaii or Florida Keys?

Discussion in 'Hawai'i' started by viva1, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. viva1

    viva1 Registered

    I'm thinking of taking my 12-year-old granddaughter snorkeling for the first time, probably this summer in July. She's a good swimmer. I live in California and am considering the Keys or maybe Hawaii. Is the snorkeling good in the Keys? If so, what are the best places to go? Is summer an awful time to go (too hot and humid?) or is it doable? We might me able to go for a week in December but I know it will be packed and more expensive then.

    A friend has a house I could rent in Kauai, but it is expensive to get there. Also, I don't know how great the snorkeling is. He mentioned Ke'e Beach. Any thoughts? Is the Big Island a much better snorkeling place in Hawaii? I've been told that it is.

    We'd be looking for shallow water (get closer to fish) pretty reefs, and calm waters.

    I dive, but this will be more of a snorkel trip for her.
  2. blkirk91

    blkirk91 Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Honolulu, HI
    My favorite is Hanalua Bay in Maui. Incredible reef, turtles, have seen dolphins in there. Can be reached by boat (Gemini Charters) or walk in. My absolute favorite place on any of the islands.
    schlackerrat likes this.
  3. Pliny

    Pliny Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: USA
    I have done both in recent years but I much prefer Hawaii. I am on the east coast, hence the Keys trips.

    Hawaii is much better especially for someone just beginning. At many sites in Hawaii the reef is very close to shore. Your daughter can walk out and start off in water where she can stand up. She can have short tours while she gets used to the gear. The Keys locations with which I'm familiar involve a boat trip to the reef because it is fairly far offshore, and you won't be able to touch the bottom near the mooring site without free diving. That said, the Keys are a very long island chain and there are many many sites. Also, the best diving and snorkeling in the keys is not near Key West, so if you're trying to make a family vacation out of your trip you may wind up choosing between staying someplace near the sites you want and someplace that offers other activities.

    We took our 7 year-old to the Big Island last summer and she had a great time (although as soon as she saw a unicorn fish she decided she saw what she came for and was done for the day).
  4. Shaka Doug

    Shaka Doug Contributor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Kihei, Maui, Hawaii 96753, middle of the 808!
    My vote is for Hawaii. You can snorkel off of many beaches here. The Keys do not really have "beaches" from what I hear.

    Have fun!
  5. Al Mialkovsky

    Al Mialkovsky Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Butte Falls Oregon
    Lived in the Keys. You can snorkel from shore on Maui. Only from a boat in the Keys.
  6. friscuba

    friscuba Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A, A
    Snorkeling from shore is superb in Kona as well, typically rocky entries as opposed to beach entries though.
  7. DSR-3

    DSR-3 Regular of the Pub

    I've never been to the Keys, but can still remember going snorkeling in Hawaii as a 10 year old on family vacation. 2 years later, I mowed lawns to save for a Kodak 110 and an Ikelite housing (with flash-cubes!) for a return trip with my dad. It only took me 30 years to upgrade that setup! Hawaii is a great place to start snorkeling. Have fun.
  8. schlackerrat

    schlackerrat Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    My experience, between Florida Keys and Hawaii....
    you almost Have To get in a Boat in the Keys. It really does not get deep right away, ware as Hawaii is way better right from the shore. Also the Keys does not set big surf, but in Hawaii, when not diving, there is always booge boarding.
    i really like Maui for shore diving, getting to know it and going back again soon.
  9. Scubagolf

    Scubagolf ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sacramento, California, USA
    No contest. Hawaii hands down, at least Maui, which has terrific shore snorkeling. Can't speak to Kaui.
  10. farsidefan1

    farsidefan1 Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah USA
    Been to both, no contest, it is Hawaii. Nice snorkeling on Oahu, Maui and perhaps best of all at the big island. Most spectacular would be the manta ray dive/snorkel off the big island. They set up a "campfire" on the bottom (bunch of lights pointed up and have the divers sit around it with their lights pointed up. Then they have a ring about 10 feet in diameter with lights pointed down that snorkelers hang onto. All this light attracts plankton which in turn attracts the mantas - up close and personal. You could do the snorkel thing with her and I guarantee she will remember it for the rest of her life. They have a vidiographer there and you can get a cd of the experience.

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