The Best Caves in Hawaii, USA: Complete List

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Geographical anomalies occur in the Hawaiian Islands, and caverns of all shapes and sizes are among the most striking. There is nothing more exciting than venturing deep below — or even underwater — to explore one (or all) of these nine stunning Hawaiian caves, which range from lava tubes formed by volcanic eruptions to coastal caverns carved by the ocean.

If you are searching for adventure, consider visiting some of the best caves in Hawaii.

Bubble Cave

This cave offers an interesting feature. Divers in Bubble Cave may talk without their masks or regulators. This is because of a big air bubble inside the cave, which is actually at surface level.

For those interested in visiting this one-of-a-kind cavern, you do need to be able to swim. It’s about 50 feet down a slim underwater lava tube.

The entrance is a broad chasm that widens as one moves deeper into the old lava tube, starting at the sandy bottom at roughly 15 feet (4.5 meters). The lava tunnel rewinds its way for about 50 feet (15.2 meters) before emerging into the main cave.

This air gap provides a rare opportunity to experience the surface while still inside a cave. Inside, roughly 5 scuba divers can fit.

Hana Lava Tube

The Hana Lava Tube is one of Maui’s most impressive natural attractions and a mecca for cavers, volcanologists, and geologists.

About thirty thousand years ago, Mount Haleakala erupted. Molten lava flowed down the mountainside near present-day Hana, creating the underground lavascape. People also call this huge, fifty-foot-below-ground site “Ka’eleku Cave”.

Now it’s the largest and most accessible ancient lava tube in Hawaii.

A walkway leading directly into the mouth of the Hana Lava Tube in Hawaii, fenced off and surrounded by grass and shrubs.

Hanakapi’ai Caves

Hanakapi’ai Beach, located on Kauai’s famed Na Pali Coast, is a beautiful piece of paradise. If you want to visit, you can reach it via a challenging four-mile round-trip day hike.

Above the cliff’s edge above this stunning beach are a series of spectacular above-ground caves. They appear to have been plucked from your wildest imagination, or perhaps Jurassic Park.

These above-ground caverns range in size, but they all contribute to an otherworldly landscape. Along an already beautiful and well-known coastline, this is an unforgettable experience.

An image of a person standing or walking on the beach at the Hanakapi'ai Caves in Hawaii.

Kaneana Cave

Kaneana Cave is a mysterious cavern on the north shore of Oahu, just north of Waianae, not far from where Farrington Highway ends at Kaena Point. The cave is around 100 feet (30.5 meters) tall and 450 feet deep (137 meters). You will found it at the foot of a cliff protrusion.

Once submerged in water, the Pacific Ocean’s pounding waves hollowed out the cave around 150,000 years ago. Also known as Makua Cave, there are several legends about it.

One is about a half-shark and half-human creature who preyed on the naive. We hope you don’t get preyed upon while visiting any of these caves in Hawaii, but it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open!

The entrance to the Kaneana Cave is shown from outside.

Kauai’s Na Pali Coast Cavern

Along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast, you’ll find some of the island’s most breathtaking caverns, built over millennia by the relentless, pounding surf that hits this part of the island during the winter.

The seas have subsided enough for a boat tour of these sites of natural beauty. Na Pali Riders is a tour company that has been operating for over 20 years, so you know you’ll be in good hands as you ride in a rigid-hull, inflatable raft to see cave waterfalls, sea arches, and even an open-ceiling cave.

An image shows the blue waters and some natural rock cliffs at the Kauai's Na Pali Coast.

Kaumana Cave

The Kaumana Caves of Hawaii are located just outside of Hilo in a small park. It’s accessible at any time of day or night and has no formal supervision.

But that doesn’t make it any less of a must-see attraction. The fantastic formation is a lava tube that stretches for 25 miles (40.3 km) and has a skylight entrance. It formed from a lava flow produced by Mauna Loa in 1881.

Learn more about the Kaumana Caves here.

The greenery and a steep stairway leading up out of the Kaumana Cave is shown here.

Kazamura Cave

Kazamura Cave is a large lava tube formed around 500 years ago from the adjacent Kilauea Iki Crater. It’s found on the eastern slopes of the continuously erupting Kilauea Volcano.

Around 40 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, this cave earned the title of the longest known lava tube in the 1990s. Here you can gaze upon lava falls, blades, tubular stalactites, stretched lava, and even lava plunge pools. With this and several of the other lava tube caves in Hawaii, the cave formations will surely astound you.

A few cavers go exploring in the Kazamura Cave of Hawaii, formed by lava.

Kula Kai Caves

This underground network of caves and tunnels, formed over a thousand years by lava flows, is the kind of place you have to see to believe. Kula Kai Caverns is a privately owned cave system at South Point on Hawaii’s Big Island that is only accessible through tours led by skilled and qualified guides.

An image of the Kula Kai Caves in Hawaii.

Oahu, Sharks Cove

Sharks Cove in Oahu earned its name from two places. First, from above, the rocks that make up the cove resemble the teeth of a shark. Second, the cove is surrounded by shark-shaped reefs. It appears that it had been attacked by a shark.

Snorkelers and shore divers highly regard Shark’s cove because of the spectacular marine life that can be seen there.

The lava has carved out caverns and tunnels between 15 and 45 feet beneath the water’s surface. These caverns delight seasoned scuba divers as they feature several arches and open-ended lava tunnels, which enable plenty of natural light to penetrate and provide convenient access.

An image of Oahu's Sharks Cove, a location of snorkeling and caving.

Oahu’s Spitting Caves

As far as Oahu drift dives go, Spitting Caves is among the best. The Spitting Caves dive site near Portlock Wall is an excellent area to see the critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. In addition to blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks are frequently spotted here.

Also standard are eagle rays, giant eels, frogfish, and turtles. There are about five caves at Spitting Caves, ranging in size from small to large. All of them formed naturally by the ocean’s relentless pounding over many centuries.

When the weather is right, this is one of the best dives on the island of Oahu. Dive here at your own risk because it is pretty hazardous when the weather is bad. Whale song reverberates off the walls during the winter.

The Oahu coast is shown from a distance at the edge of a rock cliff, formed by lava.

Thurston Lava Tube

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to a magnificent lava cave created 500 years ago due to a lava flow gradually forming walls and a ceiling.

A tunnel is formed when the lava flow ceases, and the remaining lava flows downhill. The 20-minute hike to Thurston Lava Tube isn’t challenging. On top of that exploring the cave-like 500-foot tube will be well worth the trip.

An image of the Thurston Lava Tube Caves in Hawaii shows the red walls lit by torches.

Three Room Cave, Big Island

On the Big Island, a cave called Three Room Cave is actually a 200-foot lava tube with three enormous chambers. There is only one entry and exit, and there will be a line and cylume sticks to follow during the dive.

Mole lobsters, ghost shrimp, Hawaiian lobsters, puffer fish, and nudibranchs also call the caves home. There are frogfish, Reticulated fish, and turtles outside the cave.

This dive should only be attempted by experienced divers and only in the calmest sea conditions.


Tourists who venture to these caves often leave with exciting stories about the Hawaiian culture and the caves themselves. Like the rest of the island’s natural attractions, these caves deserve respect.

We hope you enjoy your next trip to some of the caves in Hawaii. Which of these caves stand out the most for you?

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