The Hottest Spots To See Sea Turtles in Hawaii

The Hottest Spots To See Sea Turtles in Hawaii

Sea turtles, also known as “honu”, are some of the most beautiful and fun marine life creatures around, and if you want to see sea turtles in Hawaii, then you’ve come to the right place!

When visiting the islands during your Hawaiian vacation use this quick guide to find the best spots to see sea turtles.  As you pack your snorkel, waterproof camera, and head to the beach, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to see these friendly denizens of the deep.

Without further delay, here is the best spots to see sea turtles in Hawaii.

1. Laniakea Beach, Oahu

a.k.a. “Turtle Beach”

Laniakea Beach on the North Shore of Oahu
Laniakea Beach on the North Shore of Oahu


Located on the north shore, Laniakea Beach is known as Turtle Beach. You’ll get to see these fun creatures while snorkeling in the water and on the beach. Look for volunteers from the non-profit organization “Malama na Honu” who are there to answer questions and share all kinds of cool information about the sea turtles.

Laniakea Beach is one of 11 stops on our tour Island and You!

Join an Island and You bus tour of Oahu to see Oahu’s best little-known sights and sample delicious island foods.

Learn More about Island and You

2. Maluaka Beach, Maui

Maluaka Beach, Maui
Maluaka Beach on the island of Maui


Locals who say ‘Turtle Town’ are specifically referring to Maluaka Beach which is known as the best snorkeling beach in the area. Just south of Wailea at the end of Makena Road, you’ll find tranquil blue water filled with colorful marine life and of course, lots of green sea turtles!

If you’ve got kids in tow, this beach is pretty kid-friendly. Just go to the far south end and head to the little cove that’s a bit further south. Make sure everyone has swim shoes to brave the lava outcropping as there isn’t much sandy shoreline. But once you’re there, wait for your marine friends to pop their heads up and say hello!

3. Kiholo Bay, Hawaii

Kiholo Bay, Hawaii
Kiholo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii


Kiholo Bay is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re up for the adventure then you’ll get to see tons of sea turtles at one of the best places on the Big Island. Located in Kohala to the north of the Waikoloa Resort, this bay hosts these beauties next to a pond where there is a rocky beach for snorkeling when the surf is calm. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen since you’ll be making a long trek from the highway down a long, hot trail.

4. Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii

Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii
Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii


Finally, if you’re hoping to see turtles on land instead of in the water, the black sands of Punalu’u Beach Park on the Big Island are a great place to find turtles catching some sun rays on the sand. Don’t try and snorkel here as the ocean here is too rough, but stay on shore and sunbathe alongside some Hawaiian green sea turtles coming out from the sea.

There are a lot of great places to see Sea Turtles in Hawaii
There are a lot of great places to see Sea Turtles in Hawaii


A few notes if you’re heading out to see these beautiful creatures:

  • Be careful of urchins, and other things that might be lurking near the turtles.
  • The law prohibits touching, chasing or riding these endangered turtles, so be careful. They are quite easy-going but you do not want to interfere with them and their habitat.
  • Wear the right gear. Turtles are often found on rocky beaches, so have some swimming shoes to protect your feet.

Snorkel with wild sea turtles and Dolphins with Dolphins and You!

Join a Dolphins and You guided dolphin swim tour to snorkel with dolphins and sea turtles on the west coast of Oahu. The half-day tour also includes hula entertainment, an ocean water slide and taro bun burger lunch!

Learn More about Dolphins and You

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Madison Cunliffe

    Great information thank you! I’m coming from Australia in November and hiring a car and this was really useful information

    Any further suggestions regarding snorkelling and things to do, email me – it would be greatly appreciated:

    Thank you

  2. Jessica F.

    Great information, i definitely saw plenty of turtles thanks to this info. #1 spot to see turtles is Laniakea Beach, it’s a tiny beach , tiny parking, lots ot people and turtles.
    Kaiona beach park also a good place to see turtles and snorkel with a lot less touristy crowds, and of course Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve ($7.50for non residents) has tons of fish and a few turtles.

  3. Very nice information ….Enjoy the amazing private boat cruises in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii with rocking party and lip smacking dinner. Party boat cruises coupled with private dinner by Diamond Head Cruises.

  4. NONE

    TAKE THIS ARTICLE DOWN! Laniakea is not the #1 place to see the turtles. Its the absolute worst. Write about something factual. Come on people…You will have to wait in about an hour of traffic because ignorant people cross the road irresponsible to harass the turtles that once resided at this beach. Over the past few years tourist have ruined the Turtles habit intoxicating the waters with sunscreen etc. there are very few turtle left in this locations. WHO WANTS TO WAIT IN HOURS OF TRAFFIC when visiting the North Shore? NO ONE. Who ever wrote this article is knows nothing about Marine life/behavior.

  5. Yvonne

    replying to “None” I feel sorry for you. Not everyone lives on or near a beach. Unfortunately not everyone is has the opportunity to see creatures such as the sea turtle…so yet we would sit in an hour of traffic, easily, to see them! Take a Xanax or smoke a bowl and chill out. I don’t cry about things I can’t control in my own state.

  6. Scott Hill

    This is a nice post, no matter what criticism you might have received from others. Thanks for taking the time to share this information with us. Finding tourist spots like these are amazing, the vibe is different and the sites extraordinary. Hawaii is know for all this alongside ziplining spots, biking, trekking and parasailing.

  7. Daniel

    i like butter

  8. Mar

    Because of articles like these places where creatures used to go to are overrun with people and traffic, sometimes HUNTED. It’s not THE best place, you’ll be wasting hours in traffic just to see a thousand tourists waiting for turtles that won’t go to the sand to lay in sun because humans are everywhere.

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