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Best Spots for Sea Turtles in Hawaii

a turtle swimming under water

Best Spots for Sea Turtles in Hawaii

Sea turtles are one of the most ancient and mesmerizing creatures alive today. Their graceful movements resemble flying as their flippers glide through the water. Most people consider themselves lucky to snag an encounter with these oceanic reptiles. If that’s you, then it’s time to check out the best spots for sea turtles in Hawaii. Whether on the beach or among the coral, you’ll never forget your encounter with these endangered primeval swimmers.

One of the best spots for sea turtles in Hawaii
This ancient creature has not changed since the age of the dinosaurs

Sea Turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii

Check out ample sea turtle activity along the west coast of the Big Island, including so-called A-Bay (Anaeho’omalu Bay) where turtles can be seen basking in the hottest part of the day. Keep your eyes open, as turtles like to nestle into the sand and can be harder to see as the sun begins to set. It’s important to keep your distance as sea turtles are a protected species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Spotting Sea Turtles on Maui

Maluaka Beach is one of the best spots for sea turtles in Hawaii. Green sea turtles swim along the shore in shallow water that can be accessed by walking into the calm, blue sea. There’s a reason this stretch of beach is known as Turtle Town!

If you are looking to snorkel with turtles, grab your gear and head out to Black Rock Beach near Lahaina. The turtles are at ease with swimmers and cliff divers, but keep an eye out for the ocean current. You’ll see turtles of all ages seeking food and playing in the water.

Oahu: Spot the Honu

“Honu” is the term Hawaiians use to talk about the Hawaiian green sea turtle. Drawings of this old symbol appear on local petroglyphs and connect residents to the sea, bringing good luck and connection. Honu are special animals that you won’t want to miss during your vacation.

If you’d like to find this connection to the honu, check out the best spot for sea turtles in Hawaii on Oahu: Laniakea Beach. Your optimal visit time is between 11 am and 1 pm to get a prime viewing opportunity of these turtles sunning themselves on the sand

Bring your camera and keep your distance to protect the honu and ensure they thrive for a long time. Some turtles live over 100 years!

Sea turtle enjoys a sandy beach in Kauai
Sea turtle enjoys a sandy beach in Kauai

Kauai: Family Friendly Turtle Times

Sea turtles can be seen by even the littlest adventurers at Poipu Beach on Kauai’s south shore. Take the kiddos to Brennecke’s Beach and you’re very likely to spot a turtle either on the beach or in the shallow water. This beach provides a children’s swim area as well as boogie boarding and more. 

If you walk or wade into the water, be sure you are using environmentally friendly sunscreen to protect the wildlife. 

No matter which island you visit, there are great spots for sea turtles in Hawaii.