How to See Blow Holes in Hawaii

Halona blow hole on Oahu
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > How to See Blow Holes in Hawaii

Blow Holes – a natural phenomenon. In Hawaii, you may hear one before you see it. As waves splash against a rocky coastline, water spurts up through a natural crevice to spray mist into the air. 

When the wave conditions are really good, it looks like a geyser, but it’s actually a blow hole.

How to See a Blow Hole

There are many blowholes in the islands. Some are marked, like the Halona Blow Hole near Sandy Beach on Oahu, and others are encountered randomly. 

The first blow hole I saw was along the Leeward coast of Oahu on a hike to Kaena Point. I didn’t know then how spontaneous blow holes are – I thought you could walk by any time and see it, like Old Faithful at Yellowstone.

That idea was proven wrong when I was trying to take a picture of the Halona Blow Hole. We were at the overlook and the sign said the blow hole was beneath us, but I could not see it. 

Now I know that it is most active when the tides and winds are high. Even then, you may have to watch for a while before it produces a noticeable plume.

The Sounds of Blow Holes

I have also learned that it is often easier to locate the blow hole by listening than by watching. The water makes an odd sound as it hits the rock formation. Even when only light mist is emitted through blow holes, the sound is obvious and better indicates where to focus. The sound reminds me of the game we played as children, blowing into an empty soft drink bottle to make a hollow noise.

Yesterday, as I stood on the shore at Turtle Bay, I heard the sound and recognized it immediately. I looked around but saw nothing. Walking toward the sound, I finally spotted a round crevice that looked damp, and some light ocean spray danced out. Soon the wind, waves, and rock produced a plume of water. The visual results were sporadic – sometimes nothing, sometimes light mist, infrequently a water spout – but the noise was there every time the waves washed in. It was as though they were adding a musical note to the percussion of their pounding on the shore in nature’s seaside melody.

Hawaii Blow Hole Locations

Want to see blow holes for yourself while you’re in Hawaii? Here are the most accessible places to view them:

  • Spouting Horn (Kauai) 
  • Hālona Blowhole (Oahu)
  • Spitting Cave (Oahu)
  • Nakalele Blowhole (Maui)
  • Wai’anapanapa State Park (Maui)
  • Keahole Point Blowhole (Hawaii Island)

Staying Safe

Most of Hawaii’s popular blow holes have clearly marked viewing areas where you can admire them. Never ever go close to a blow hole. People have died at Hawaii’s Blow Holes by getting too close.

When admiring Hawaii’s blow holes, look for a wet area on the ground to signal how far the blow hole’s power can reach, and then stand a good distance away from that. Don’t stand between the ocean and the Blow Hole, and don’t approach one because you think the waters are calm. 

Blow Holes: A Natural Wonder

Now that you know all about Hawaii’s blow holes, you’re ready to see them for yourself. These wonders are a sight to behold and an incredible reminder of the ocean’s power.