Hawaii Mom Blog: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve




July 27, 2016

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Earlier this year Dr. Beach named Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve the #1 Beach in America, and we took the kids there for the first time a few weeks ago.

Whenever we'd drive past Hanauma Bay mid-morning, we'd always see a sign advising the lot was closed, so we made sure to get there early.

How early?

6:20am (parking lot opens at 6am).

And I was shocked to see that the parking lot was already 1/3 full.

By arriving that early, we also bypassed the parking fee $1/car, and non-residents didn't have to pay the entrance fee ($7.50 per person 13+; kama`aina are free).  We also didn't have to watch a safety video (instead one of the attendants explained that guests should not stand or sit on the coral; no frisbee or ball throwing).

It is a fairly steep walk down to the bay, but it's really not too bad (going up is not as bad as it may seem either).  If you can't or don't want to make the walk for whatever reason, there are trams you can take for a fee ($1 down; $1.25 up; $2 all day; $1 scuba tanks - credit cards accepted).

The walk up
Since we got there quite early, we easily found a spot on the beach. As the morning went on, more and more people gathered at Hanauma Bay.  I was seriously amazed at just how many people were there by 7am.

We had our own snorkel gear, but you can rent them from Hanauma Bay.

You didn't need to put on snorkel gear to see fish, however.  Simply wading through the shallow water we could see hundreds of fish.

There are shower, changing, and restroom facilities, and near the entrance is a restaurant, as well as exhibits for people to enjoy while they wait for their video showing.

When we left, there were long lines at the admissions booth as well as crowds of people waiting to get into the video screening.

When we left near 10am, no cars were being let in to the lot.

If you decide to go to Hanauma Bay, my biggest piece of advice would be to get there early!

And be sure you don't go on a Tuesday (they are closed on Tuesdays).

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