The Hottest Spots To See Sea Turtles in Hawaii

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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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