Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Tours (Snorkeling Cruises & Tours), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com
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Snorkeling Cruises & Tours

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Tours

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This sandbar and its surrounding coral reefs are perfect for snorkeling, playing beach volleyball, having a lunch picnic, and enjoying views of the Koolau Mountains. Located on the windward side of Oahu, this natural formation can be found at the center of Kaneohe Bay. Depending on the tide, it can be covered with waist-high water or completely exposed, creating a small beach in the middle of the ocean. The sandbar is almost a mile away from shore, so you will need a boat or kayak to get there.
Kaneohe Sandbar, Guide to Oahu's Best-Kept Secret
The Kaneohe Bay sandbar in Oahu is a collection of exposed islets surrounding coral reefs, and is the only such place in all of Hawaii. This natural formation can be found at the center of Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of Oahu nestled between Chinaman’s Hat and Coconut Island. This sandbar is protected by a coral reef and shows up as a small white sand beach only during low tide, and is covered with waist-high water during high tide. No Hawaii vacation is complete without visiting Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, one of the best things to do on Oahu!

What to Expect & Know Before You Go
  • There are no restrooms located at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, but there are restrooms located at the Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor and the Heeia Kea State Park. It is recommended that you wear your swimsuit to your check-in so you do not have to worry about changing when you arrive.
  • Don't forget sunscreen since there is no shade at the sandbar. Wearing a rashguard or long sleeve swimwear is recommended for guests, especially children, with sensitive skin. Hats and umbrellas are also recommended.
  • Since you will need to take a boat or kayak to the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, and wade through water once you are there, you should wear reef shoes, flip-flops, or sandals.
  • To protect the coral reefs and to ensure a healthy marine eco-system, be sure to use reef-safe sunscreen.
  • If you are looking to enjoy a cocktail or other refreshing beverage, it is important to note that the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) strictly prohibits alcoholic beverages at the Kaneohe Sandbar during State and Federal Holidays, including the weekend before the 4th of July.
  • Please leave all the natural life undisturbed, and do not take any sand or coral with you. You are also required by state law to stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) from all Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu).
  • While you are welcome to bring any snacks or drinks to enjoy while out on the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, be sure to pack up any trash and leave nothing behind.

About the Location
The Kaneohe Bay Sandbar is located about a mile from shore. If you want to go to the sandbar on your own, you will need a boat or kayak. While kayak rentals are readily available, you will be required to hold a boating license issued by the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Marina if you would like to rent and operate a boat.

Kaneohe Sandbar tours can include pick-up service, snorkeling equipment, beach activities, and even lunch! To save time and effort, booking a sandbar tour is the best and easiest way to enjoy your time at the sandbar.

The depth of the sandbar is completely dependent on the weather and tides, and you can check to see when the low and high tides are by clicking here.

How to get there
The nearest boat harbor to Kaneohe Bay Sandbar is Heeia-Kea Small Boat Harbor. It is about 16 miles away, and will take about 40-45 minutes to drive from Waikiki to the Boat Harbor. While parking is free, it is limited and only available in designated areas. Be sure to park in the proper parking spaces, and there is also street parking available outside of the harbor.

Fun Facts
  • The Kaneohe sandbar is about 3 miles (4.8 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide.
  • In ancient Hawaii, the sandbar was known as “Ahu O Laka”, meaning Altar of Laka, the God of Hula.
  • The movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" was filmed at the Heeia Kea Harbor in Kaneohe Bay.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a sandbar?
A: A sandbar, like the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar, is a landform found in water that is made entirely of sand, pebbles or silt. They often create tiny islands or land bridges, and act as a natural barrier against the tide.

Q: How long is the Kaneohe Sandbar tour?
A: Tour duration will vary depending on the tour book, but range from three to four hours.

Q: How do you get to the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: You can easily reach the sandbar by boat or kayak. A boat ride will take about 10 to 15 minutes, and depending on the ocean conditions, kayaking can take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.

Q: Can you swim out to the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: Due to the distance from shore, it is not possible for the average person to swim to the sandbar.

Q: Are there sharks at the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: Yes, but not to worry! Even though Kaneohe Bay is said to have hammerhead sharks, there have only been a few sightings, and no attacks have ever been reported. Kaneohe Bay Sandbar is one of the safest areas in the water around Oahu.

Q: Is the Kaneohe Sandbar worth visiting?
A: Yes, most definitely! It is one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii with incredible views of the Koolau Mountains seen in the movie Jurassic Park. The sandbar is also very family-friendly and the shallow waters at the sandbar make it a must-do for any visit to Oahu.

Q: What can you do at the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: Whether you come at low tide or high tide, there are plenty of fun things to do at the sandbar. Not only can you simply swim and relax in the water, but you can also set up a net for a game of volleyball, kayak or stand-up paddle along the calm surface, and even go snorkeling at the nearby reefs.

Q: Can you fly drones at the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: Due to its close proximity to the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base, it is not advised to use drones as they are not allowed within a certain distance to the base.

Q: What is the best time to go to the Kaneohe Sandbar?
A: The tide is lower in the early morning, and the weather and ocean conditions are normally calmer as well.

Top-Rated Activities for Oahu

Latest reviews of Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Tours

Captain Bob's Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Snorkel & BBQ Lunch with Free Transportation

MMandFamily

2022/11/25 Families with Young Children MM and Family

Staff was awesome. Boat was comfortabe and accommodating. There were eight of us and we had a great time. Plenty of snacks and food.

Captain Bob's Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Snorkel & BBQ Lunch with Free Transportation

Fun and entertaining

2022/11/24 Families with Young Children Katherine

This was our family’s first ever experience, snorkeling. We did not use the transportation, but drove ourselves. Parking was easy. The check-in process was smooth and on time. The crew was friendly, professional, and ex... more

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Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music

Beautiful Experience

2022/11/21 Couples Kara

Awesome day on the Sandbar!!! They literally provide you with TONS to do. Better than guided tours!

Kaneohe Bay Kayak & Snorkel Self-Guided Tour with Kayak Rental

Kaneohe kayak and Snorkeling

2022/11/19 Friends Bryan

Honestly the best idea we had on this hawaii trip! Probably the best part was going all the way out to the sand bar and snorkeling until 4. I totally recommend doing this again.

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music

Sand Bar

2022/11/19 Families Estela Garcia

This activity was so much fun and absolutely worth it. Purchasing was easy, directions and parking was super easy. We drove our own car from air b&b in Waikiki. Little store in parking area for last minute drink/snack pu... more

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Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Ocean Sports Adventure with Snorkel, Kayak, SUP & Live Music

Outstanding

2022/11/18 Couples John poff

Would recommend to everyone. Crew was very polite and friendly had a blast.

Thank you everyone.

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Tours (Snorkeling Cruises & Tours), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com
This sandbar and its surrounding coral reefs are perfect for snorkeling, playing beach volleyball, having a lunch picnic, and enjoying views of the Koolau Mountains. Located on the windward side of Oahu, this natural formation can be found at the center of Kaneohe Bay. Depending on the tide, it can be covered with waist-high water or completely exposed, creating a small beach in the middle of the ocean. The sandbar is almost a mile away from shore, so you will need a boat or kayak to get there.