So if you’re getting ready for your family vacation that includes a top snorkeling destination that’s known for an abundance of marine life, you can bet that it’s something your kids will remember for years to come!
And, part of getting your kids ready for snorkeling is to get ready for a fun and SAFE snorkeling experience! This includes safety from using the snorkeling gear, and it includes safety from the sun!
And be sure to check the best hotels in Waikiki for family-friendly activities! Even if you’ve already booked your hotel, you can get in on the action at the lagoon!
So, what snorkel gear is best to pack for kids?
If you'll be snorkeling on your next vacation, consider wearing these types of UV swim shirts, and also see some snorkeling essentials for Hawaii. And for Hawaii vacation ideas, see great short hikes on Oahu with ocean views, and great scenic drives to plan on Maui, and great areas to visit as you circle the Big Island, and great coastal hikes on the quiet island of Lanai!
Kids snorkel set
For the safest snorkeling experience on vacation, you’ll want to give your kids a chance to practice before you head out to the ocean. This could be in the bathtub at home, the pool at your local YMCA or high school open swim hours, a lake or river at your local park, or even at the hotel pool once you’re on vacation. If time doesn’t allow (and even if it does, really!), give the first go when you’re on vacation at kid-friendly snorkeling beaches with calm water.
How do you know if it’s a kid-friendly snorkeling beach? Although waves can come across even at the most beginner-friendly beaches, it can be good to seek out the top snorkeling spots with enclosed lagoons or a bay that is better protected from ocean waves.
Having a good fitting snorkel mask is one of the top things that can make it so your kids will be able to use the mask and snorkel properly. That’s why for younger kids it is best to go for a designated kids snorkel set or youth snorkel set.
Have a look at this one that’s a standard kids snorkel set.
There are also full-face snorkel masks for kids like this one. With full-face masks, it can make the breathing process a little bit easier and is generally seen as being beginner-friendly.
Should you rent snorkeling gear for kids?
Even if you know there’s snorkel rental available at your destination, or you’re going on a snorkeling tour where gear is provided, you may want to bring along your own kids snorkel set anyway. This gives your kids a chance to practice and become comfortable with underwater breathing through a snorkel before vacation.
If your kids aren’t confident swimmers, now could be a time to hone those valuable life skills (swimming!) by having them take some lessons at your local high school or YMCA.
So should you get the snorkel set with the fins?
What fins can do is they will allow a snorkeler to swim further more easily. This means that with fins, kids will spend less energy than without fins, so they likely won’t get tired as quickly.
The issue with packing fins for travel is that they do take up more space. But if you have extra space in your luggage, then fins can be a good piece of snorkeling gear to bring along! Even better if your kids pack their fins in their very own kid-friendly suitcase! 😉
Snorkel vest or personal flotation buoy
In general, snorkel vests are designed to allow snorkelers to swim with their head in the water, as opposed to a traditional life jacket that’s designed to keep your head above water. Snorkel vests shouldn’t be seen as a complete safeguard, but it does add an extra layer of security if your child is not a confident swimmer, and you can have a look at a snorkel vest for kids like this one.
Another option for an added security measure is to have a personal buoy at arm’s length. Similar to a snorkel vest, it can be used as a safety precaution. Your kids would wear this buoy with a strap that goes around their waist, and the buoy will be floating along behind them as they swim. This type of buoy is best to be able to spot your kids in an instant if you’re not swimming side-by-side. If they need a quick break, they can use it to rest on too, but it is primarily used to be spotted easily. Take a look at this buoy to see how it’s used.
Swimming clothes with UV protection
Your kids can go snorkeling in the swimsuit they already have. But if they are only going to wear their regular swimsuit, make sure that they are lathered up in some water-resistant sunscreen for kids like one of these bottles!
For even more sun protection, these types of swim clothes can be perfect for a day out on the water when kids are snorkeling! Not only do they provide more coverage leaving less skin exposed, but the clothes have UV protection, often up to UPF 50, which means the harmful UV rays will be less likely to pass through the swimwear too.
Most dedicated swim shirts will be designed with the UV protection. Many dedicated swim shorts will also use UV protection material, but shorts are less likely to have it, so be sure to check for that if that’s high priority.
Swimwear for girls
Swimwear for boys
But, you will want to lather up that sunscreen even if your kids wear swim clothes with UV protection, because you don’t want to neglect the skin that’s still exposed!
You may also consider getting a cheap underwater camera for your kids. Well, cheap is relative in terms of digital cameras, but cheap in this case means more, “If the camera is lost in the ocean I’d be a little upset but not too upset.”
Getting a cheap underwater camera for snorkeling like this one will not only allow your kids to capture the memories that will last a lifetime, but if you think that they might be fearful in the water, it can serve as a distraction! They will love taking pictures of all the colorful fish swimming around them so much that they might just forget that they were scared!
Snorkeling for parents
And for you, mom or dad, have a look at what to wear snorkeling too!
HAPPY SNORKELING WITH YOUR KIDS!
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- 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!
- What to wear hiking
- Snorkeling essentials for Hawaii
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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:
-- Big Island travel planning map
-- 7 day Big Island itinerary
-- Best beach hikes on the Big Island with amazing views