How to Swim with Dolphins in Oahu, Hawaii

Destinations, Hawaii, USA By May 22, 2024 No Comments

Looking to swim with dolphins in Oahu, Hawaii? Whether you’re looking to catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures in the wild or join a guided dolphin tour, Oahu offers some of the best opportunities to swim with dolphins. In this guide, we’ll share the top beaches where dolphins like to visit and our favorite dolphin tours in Oahu!

Remember:When swimming with dolphins in the wild, give them space and enjoy the dolphins from a distance. Do not harass or try to touch them. A word to the wise, if you just float and let the dolphins carry on, more oftentimes than not, they will hang around you for a little bit.

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Ways to Swim with Dolphins in Oahu in the Wild

If you want to swim with dolphins in Oahu in the wild, you can either:

  1. Attend a tour with a company that specializes in swimming with dolphins
  2. Swim in the ocean and hope to find the dolphins yourself

We did both! If you want a higher chance of swimming with dolphins, I highly recommend going with a tour company if you can.

Go on a Dolphin Tour in Oahu

Book a dolphin tour in Oahu with a excursion company that knows where the dolphins are at what point in the day. We recommend choosing the early morning tour versus the late morning / afternoon tour for higher chances of spotting and swimming with the dolphins. Here are our favorite dolphin tours in Oahu:

  • Wild Side Specialty Tours is a semi-private tour (no more than 6 people) led by experienced naturalists. If you pay cash, there is a discount which helps with the steeper prices, but honestly, going with a smaller group was so worth it! We learned so much about the dolphins and their habitat. Best of all, we got to swim with dolphins twice, snorkel with some sea turtles and experienced the dolphins surfing the waves from our boat.
  • Other great and more economical options are the Dolphin Excursion in Waianae and the Dolphins Catamaran Cruise. But, you may be sharing the boat with more people. In addition to dolphins, you also have the opportunity to swim with sea turtles and fish.

Find Dolphins Yourself

Most of the local dolphins like to hang out on the west coast and the north shore of Oahu.

We were so lucky to be able to swim with dolphins in the wild when we visited Waimea Beach on the North Shore. We got there pretty early around 8 a.m. and the beach was fairly empty aside from a local fisherman and a couple of other families.

While setting up our beach gear, we noticed a pod of dolphins swimming pretty close to shore. So we decided to hop in the water to see if we could get a closer look. It was tricky to find their exact location so we just hung out a bit in the water. When we were starting to swim back to shore (a bit defeated), a pod of dolphins suddenly swam by us, surprising us. They stuck around for a minute or so before swimming off. They were playful and beautiful and it was the most exhilarating experience! We were on a high for the entire day shocked that we were able to see them in wild.

We’ve also heard that Electric Beach (Kahe Point) is good spot for spotting dolphins, especially early in the morning. It’s close to the Kahe Power Plant that releases warm water into the ocean, which brings in a variety of marine life, including dolphins.

What to Bring on a Dolphin Tour in Hawaii

  • Underwater camera: To capture the dolphins and all of the beautiful marine life while swimming. A GoPro is a popular camera for high quality photos but you can also get a simple waterproof sleeve for your phone.
  • Swimsuit and rashguard: You’ll be out on the water for sometime so I highly recommend covering up with a rashguard or a long sleeve swim suit.
  • Towel: Don’t forget a towel as you’ll need to bring your own. These are great soft but fast drying towels!
  • Sunscreen: A must in my book! Try to use reef safe sunscreen. We like this one because it’s non greasy and rubs in pretty easily.
  • Water bottle: All that swimming will leave you parched, so don’t forget water. We love our insulated water bottle for cold, refreshing water after a swim.
  • Snorkel set: We like to bring our own snorkel set and have used this one for a few years. It’s pretty affordable and perfect for people who snorkel maybe 1-2 times per year.

Swimming with dolphins in Oahu was one of our top experiences and highly recommend you add it to your Hawaii bucket list. Happy swimming!

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Best Family-Friendly Things to Do on North Shore, Oahu
Best Things to Do on the West Side of Oahu
The Best Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Tours from Waikiki

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