March 17, 2018

Shark’s Cove: Snorkeling on the North Shore :: Oahu, Hawaii

Shark's Cove: Things to do at Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Shark’s Cove can make a good starting point for your North Shore adventures on Oahu, whether it’s winter or summer. If you make a trip to the area, you’ll likely want to have a list of beaches to make a part of your North Shore tour!

The North Shore is known for its high surf during the winter months at beaches like Waimea Bay, and although Shark’s Cove is an enclosed lagoon, this can impact the waters of Shark’s Cove because the waves can be that strong. So be sure to use your wisdom! Sometimes it can be obvious, other times it may not be so obvious.

This can be an ideal spot to start your North Shore beach adventures, because in addition to the snorkeling, there is a place to rent snorkeling gear and stop for a snack (or meal!) at some North Shore food trucks. There’s a hike nearby too.

The North Shore is about an hour’s drive from Waikiki. Because Oahu has a bus system that circles the island, it is possible to reach the North Shore by bus, but it will take extra time. Also consider that the bus in the North Shore usually comes around once an hour, so you’ll also want to plan your time well if you’re taking the bus from Waikiki to the North Shore. Google Maps public transit directions are pretty reliable for planning out your activities on Oahu by bus.

Here’s the quick list of what’s covered on this page!

  • Sharks Cove snorkeling
  • North Shore waterfalls
  • Sharks Cove snorkel rental prices
  • North Shore surfboard rental prices (and other beach gear)
  • North Shore surf lessons prices (and SUP)
  • North Shore food trucks (and menu)
  • Trail along Shark’s Cove
  • North Shore hiking trail nearby
  • Largest Hawaiian temple heiau on Oahu nearby

Snorkeling at Sharks Cove

The beach here is rocky because of the lava rock that makes up the shoreline. This is one of the beaches that makes it a good idea to have these types of shoes that makes it easy for you to walk between the beach and getting in the water without worry of getting a cut from one of the sharp rocks hiding under the sand.

Shark's Cove is one of the Oahu beaches on the North Shore that's great for snorkeling.

The lava rocks are also what protects this cove from powerful ocean waves, providing the ideal snorkeling conditions. Once you’re in the water snorkeling, you have a good chance of seeing marine life as well as the underwater rock formations.

Shark's Cove is one of the Oahu beaches on the North Shore that's great for snorkeling.

what to pack for hawaii >>  what to wear snorkeling – what to wear hiking – what to wear to a luau

things to do in oahu | map >> more things to do on the north shore

North Shore waterfalls

Okay, so these may not be officially called waterfalls, but if you like waterfalls, you can see a kind of ocean waterfalls on the North Shore at Shark’s Cove!

The strong North Shore waves come crashing over the barrier of the lagoon to create ocean waterfalls!

At Shark's Cove, a beach on Oahu's North Shore, you can see ocean waterfalls!

Renting snorkeling gear on the North Shore

There’s a spot located conveniently across the street from Shark’s Cove that you can rent snorkeling gear. Of course, you could also put snorkeling gear on your Hawaii packing list and bring it from home!

One of your considerations in renting snorkeling gear on Oahu or bringing it from home is the cost of snorkel rental. These are the prices from spring 2017 of the shop located across from Shark’s Cove. While the rental prices listed on this page are for one shop, you can expect comparable prices at other North Shore surf shops to give you an idea!

Snorkeling gear rental prices at Shark’s Cove

  • Snorkeling set
    • $20 for the day
    • $40 for 5 days
    • $70 for a week
  • Fins only
    • $7 for the day
    • $15 for 5 days
    • $30 for a week

You’ll want to think about how often you’ll be snorkeling to decide whether or not you want to buy a snorkeling set with snorkel, mask, and fins before you arrive to Oahu, or rent when you arrive!

When it comes to packing snorkeling gear in your suitcase, the fins are what takes up the most space. That’s one reason why you’ll be able to rent fins separately. So you may also consider buying a snorkeling set with just the mask and snorkel before your trip to Hawaii, and then rent fins when you get to Oahu. A full-face snorkeling mask like this is another beginner-friendly option.

Hanauma Bay is another popular snorkeling destination on Oahu that’s on the other side of the island, and you can also rent snorkeling gear there too. Here are prices for snorkel gear rental at Hanauma Bay.

Sharks Cove rental for other gear

Being that the North Shore is known for its waves during the winter, you can also rent some surfboards, along with other gear for your beach and outdoor adventures at different North Shore beaches.

Daily rental prices for gear at Sharks Cove

  • Shortboard $25
  • Longboard $30
  • SUP board $50
  • Body board $20
  • Skim board $15
  • Umbrella, chairs, life jackets $5
  • Bike $15

Similar to the snorkeling gear, there is a discounted rate for a weekly rental and for 5 days.

In the picture below, the columns show prices for daily, 5 days, weekly.

There's North Shore snorkeling rental near Shark's Cove beach, as well as North Shore surfboard rental, bike rentals, and beach umbrellas, chairs, and life jackets.

North Shore surf lessons

At this same shop that you can rent snorkeling gear, you can also get surf lessons and SUP lessons and tours. SUP stands for stand-up paddleboard. No better place to give surfing or SUP a try for the first time than the North Shore! 😉

Surfing lessons on the North Shore (2 hours)

  • Private lesson (1 person) $200
  • Semi-private lesson (2 people) $125 per person
  • Group lesson (3 people) $80 per person

SUP lessons and tours on the North Shore (90 minutes)

  • 2 people: $75 per person
  • 3 people: $50 per person

There's North Shore surf lessons and SUP lessons and tours near Shark's Cove.

Food trucks near Shark’s Cove

Another thing, along with the snorkeling rental, that makes this area convenient is the North Shore food trucks that are located across the street from Shark’s Cove. This means that after a few hours of quality snorkeling, you can re-energize yourself by walking across the street and fuel yourself with Hawaii’s best fish tacos! 😉

Near Shark's Cove are North Shore food trucks.

Food truck menu

There are a few different trucks here that you can order food from, and here’s a sample menu from one of the food trucks! Click here to zoom in to the image.

This is a menu of one of the North Shore food trucks near Shark's Cove.

Trail along Shark’s Cove

If you arrive to the North Shore by bus, when you get off at the bus stop that’s just north of Shark’s Cove, you can take the small trail along the water to get there. There are places you can climb over the rocks too if you’d want to do that because of the rocky nature of the area.

Or if you drive to the North Shore, just park your car somewhere nearby, and start walking! 😉

Near Shark's Cove on the North Shore is this hiking trail along the ocean coast.

Hiking near Shark’s Cove

Just down the street from Shark’s Cove is the North Shore’s pillbox hike. This will likely take you about an hour to complete. It can be the perfect hike to add to your North Shore itinerary, because following your workout you can cool down with some quality snorkeling time! And the best part is the amazing views of some North Shore beaches that you will get! You’ll get the best views of Sunset Beach.

Shark's Cove snorkeling: Near North Shore pillbox hike, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Best short hikes with scenic views on Oahu

what to pack for hiking in hawaii >> what to wear hikingbest shoes for hiking

Ancient Hawaiian temple near Shark’s Cove

There’s a heiau on the North Shore called the Puu O Mahuka Heiau. This is a former place of worship for Hawaiians. It’s known as the largest heiau on Oahu, and it’s located right by Shark’s Cove. You’ll drive up a road to get there, which means that when you reach the temple grounds, you’ll get sweeping views overlooking the North Shore coast. So this is another activity that you’ll get a chance to see some amazing views of North Shore beaches. There’s a short trail that loops around for you to hike. If you are passing by Shark’s Cove, it is definitely worth a stop! You’ll get the best views of Waimea Bay that exist on Oahu… views from above!

Shark's Cove: Heiau on North Shore near Shark's Cove snorkeling, Oahu, Hawaii

Things you may want to consider packing for your Shark’s Cove snorkeling trip!

Now, here are some things that you may want to add to your Hawaii packing list for snorkeling at Shark’s Cove!

For a more in-depth look at what to bring snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, have a look at what to wear snorkeling!


what to pack for hawaii >>  what to wear snorkeling – what to wear hiking – what to wear to a luau

things to do in oahu | map >> north shorecentral oahu – east oahuwaikiki beach

Best shoes for your active vacation

Hit search at the top for any of these items to get more variety on Amazon through these affiliate links!
- Walking: These types of hiking sandals. For walking in hot weather, they are more breathable than shoes, while still giving you necessary traction on the trails. Also see more about the best shoes for hiking in Hawaii.
- Beach: These types of beach shoes. For beach walking, wading in the water, and rocky shorelines, they can prevent cuts from hidden rocks or when bumping into coral reef.

Swimwear for snorkeling and beach

- These UV protection shirts are a hit so you don't have to keep re-applying sunscreen and don't have to worry as much about getting sunburn!

see more:
- What to wear hiking
- Snorkeling essentials for Hawaii
- What to wear on a cruise formal night

more Hawaii travel tips:
-- Oahu travel planning map
-- 3 day Oahu itinerary
-- 2 week Oahu itinerary
-- Best short hikes on Oahu with amazing views
-- Big Island travel planning map
-- 7 day Big Island itinerary
-- Best beach hikes on the Big Island with amazing views

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