1. Hanauma Bay, Oahu
Yuki Matsukura, flickr
Schools of rainbow-colored fish flit throughout Hanauma Bay, Hawaii’s most famed snorkeling spot, creating a brilliant collection of underwater eye-candy, easily visible in the bay’s shallow water. Once the mouth of a volcano crater, crescent-shaped Hanauma now lies at the edge of a sprawling 2,000-foot-long stretch of golden shore, a stunning location with ample species of sea life enjoyed by both newbie and experienced snorkelers. The bay’s easy access and calm waters allow visitors to wade waist-deep and simply peer down to gaze at more than 50 types of Hawaiian sea creatures, such as milletseed, raccoon and threadfin butterflyfish. Of course, for close-up views and heightened exploration of the coral reef’s nooks and crevices, bring your own snorkel gear, or join a tour with one of the many outfitters that offer Hanauma Bay excursions, such as Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventures.