For travelers seeking a remarkable sunrise experience, Hanauma Bay in Honolulu is an ideal spot. It is also a well-known snorkeling destination about ten miles east of Waikiki. Hanauma Bay is also known for its Green sea turtles, or Honu, and is a nursery ground for these magnificent creatures. Vibrant parrotfish are also plentiful in the bay, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling enthusiasts.
The entrance to the bay is on the right at the top of the hill, just beyond Hawaii Kai. Travelers can enjoy the picturesque views of the ocean and coastline as they travel along the scenic drive on Oahu’s southern shore. As the sun rises over the bay, the sky transforms into a stunning display of colors, painting the clouds with shades of pink, orange, and gold. Observing this natural wonder unfold while standing on the beach is unforgettable.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras, grab a cup of coffee, and head to Hanauma Bay for a sunrise experience that will undoubtedly highlight their Hawaii vacation. For those interested in getting an early start to view what might well be one of the most stunning views in Hawaii, here’s a guide on getting a head start before everyone else.
What Is The Best Way To See The Sunrise At Hanauma Bay?
An aerial view of Hanauma Bay beach in Hawaii, USA
- Visitors to Hanauma Bay should take the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail for sunrise.
- Sunrise at Hanauma Bay is typically between 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM.
For those who want to catch the sunrise at Hanauma Bay, there are a few ways to do this. Generally, tourists will need to hike the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail to get the best views of the new day’s sun. One of the reasons early risers will want to take the Ridge Trail to view the sunrise is because it goes around the crescent ridge of Hanauma Bay, allowing for an up-close and above-head view of the bay. On top of that trail, visitors may also want to check out the sunrise from below the Hanauma Bay Ridge and sit in the sand near the water.
As mentioned, this is a popular snorkeling and swimming spot, so many visitors plan a day in the area, starting by finding a sunrise-watching section on the beach. This tourist hot spot gets busy in the early mornings before sunrise, so it might be worth arriving closer to an hour before the big event. Who knew the sun had so many eager fans getting up so early?
Luckily, visitors can also charter boats and cruise around the Hanauma Bay area, which is another way to view the magnificent Hawaiian sunrise. Snorkeling tours will also be available, many of which start in the early morning. Snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Preserve among the myriads of marine creatures here is a must-do for ocean enthusiasts, whether they go with a tour provider or by themselves.
How Early Should I Get To Hanauma Bay?
Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawaii
- Visitors should arrive at Hanauma Bay before 9:00 AM or after 12:30 PM to avoid the heaviest crowds.
- Sunrise at Hanauma Bay typically happens around 7:00 AM.
Catching the sunrise at Hanauma Bay has become a must-experience aspect of everyone’s vacations to the area over the years. It’s also worth mentioning that Hanauma Bay is located on the island’s east side, meaning it sees the sunrise earlier. Since this location offers unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and is one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, it’s no surprise that everyone in Honolulu wants to visit. However, this can lead to heavy crowding at Hanauma Bay, especially in the morning.
Many travelers and locals also love spending their earlier mornings at the bay, so it’s a good idea to plan accordingly. If possible, visitors may want to arrive at Hanauma Bay 30–60 minutes before sunrise to ensure they can grab a parking spot and a place to catch the sun coming up. Most of the nearby snorkeling tour operators also open around 7:00 AM, meaning if visitors want to get their gear right away, they will already be one of the first in line after the sun rises.
The entrance fee for Hanauma Bay is $25 per guest, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Hanauma Bay Day Trip Essentials
Here are some things every traveler to Hanauma Bay needs for sunrise and snorkeling:
- Beach towel
- Reef-safe sunscreen
- Water shoes
- Mask and snorkel
- Money for entrance (remember, Hanauma Bay entry costs $25)
- Plenty of water or soft drinks (ideally, non-alcoholic beverages, as these can dehydrate people)
- A cooler
Where Can You Grab Coffee Near Hanauma Bay For Sunrise?
A school of fish seen when snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Before watching the sunrise at Hanauma Bay, many visitors and locals like to grab a cup of coffee. Luckily, the nearby area is filled with locally-owned cafés, coffee shops, and highly-rated eateries.
Here are a few of the top-rated coffee spots near Hanauma Bay Park:
- Hawaiian Aroma Caffe
- Surfjack Shop
- Da’ HI Brew
- Tropical Tribe
- Island Vintage Coffee
- Honolulu Coffee
- Kona Mountain Coffee
- Kona Coffee Purveyors
Since Hanauma Bay Park is located in Honolulu, there will be plenty to do nearby, too. That makes finding Honolulu’s best foods to try, car rentals, budget-friendly hotels, luxury resorts in Honolulu, and whatever else visitors need much easier than in remote areas of Hawaii.
Ultimately, there are so many things to do in Honolulu, with catching the sunrise at Hanauma Bay and spending the day snorkeling being one of them that always comes top. So grabbing a coffee to fill one’s batteries is the perfect start to the day – a day that begins gazing at the glorious sunrise of Hanauma Bay.