Turtles in North Shore Oahu

Great Spots You Can View Turtles in North Shore Oahu

When you are visiting Oahu, you’ll surely be visiting some of the stunning beaches on the island. But to have an overall amazing experience, you need to check out the popular Hawaiian creatures, which are Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Hawaii hosts five species of sea turtles, but the Honu (green sea turtle) is the most common on Oahu. If you want to see turtles North Shore Oahu, check out our favorite spots to spot them on Oahu!

Things You Need To Have To See Turtles on Oahu

See Turtles

If you are visiting Hawaii and planning to spot turtles, you need to have a few things on hand. There are many beautiful beaches on Oahu to snorkel and where you can easily see the turtles floating above the water or see them resting by the shore. Still, if you feel adventurous and want to dive in and swim along with them, you need to have some mandatory gear with you.

Snorkel Gear

Having snorkel gear doesn’t mean you need to carry the entire kit; just a mouthpiece and goggles will suffice. Both the gears will help you look at the turtles more easily and for a longer period of time.

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Regular chemical sunscreens are harmful to fish and other sea creatures. Therefore, it is mandatory to use reef-safe sunscreens. These sunscreens protect coral reefs, turtles, and fish and allow them to live longer.


At times, turtles may not be seen near the beach, and you might have to swim far from the shore. Carrying a set of fins with you will help you swim easily without getting too exhausted, and your purpose in visiting Oahu’s north shore will be successful.

Waterproof Camera

Finally, you can’t do with a camera, and if you are going underwater, you must have a waterproof camera with you. When you find sea turtles under the water, you can easily capture them with this camera. Just a tiny note: refrain from doing any flash photography as sea turtles have sensitive eyes, and the flash might disorient them.

Best Beaches To Spot Sea Turtles On Oahu’s North Shore

Now that you know what you should have, let’s move forward and see the beaches that are home to these wild animals.

Laniakea Beach

Best Beaches To Spot Sea Turtles

Laniakea, also known as the Turtle Beach in the Hawaiian language, means “wide sky.” The name matches the view around and is one of the best spots to see sea turtles in Oahu.

While the picturesque beach is unique for its looks, the main reason it got its name as Turtle Beach is because of the large number of turtle sightings here.

Laniakea Beach is one of our go-to beaches whenever we feel like a turtle-watching session because we can easily see them here. The water is pristine, clear, and shallow, so turtles are easily seen. Even those with less snorkeling experience can go inside the water with their snorkel gear to see turtles swimming alongside them.

The beach is a popular location, so it can be quickly crowded. You’ll also encounter volunteers who care for these Hawaiian turtles on the beach and enforce the Endangered Species Act to protect them (and other sea creatures) and their natural habitat.

Puaʻena Point Beach Park

Many locals or tourists do not talk much about this place because it is a hidden beach on the North Shore that introduces you to a vast number of Hawaiian sea turtles.

North Shore beaches are mostly known for surfing, and this was the same reason we visited this beach. Once we were done with the session, we suddenly saw all the turtles popping up from below the surface, making it our first encounter with these beauties on this beach.

If you are planning to visit this beach, don’t expect it to be like other beaches on the island. The water isn’t as clear as some other spots around the island, but it’s way less crowded with tourists. We loved the scenery and the chill vibes here.

This little cove at the park is packed with turtles coming to eat. Remember to keep your distance—stay at least 15 feet away so you don’t disturb them. We saw some tourists bothering the turtles and ignoring the rules.

If you need a break from the city hustle, this spot is perfect. It’s awesome to get a close-up look at the majestic creatures. Even if you’re not swimming, just hanging out on the beach and watching them is a great way to pass the time.

Haleiwa Beach

Haleiwa Beach

If you want to catch a glimpse of turtles in Oahu, Haleiwa Beach on the North Shore is the place to be. Haleiwa Beach Park is perfect during the summer when the water’s clear and is one of the most common beaches on the island, where turtles love to hang out and chill on the sand.

We found the water to be a bit chilly here, but we didn’t care much as we spotted some beautiful Hawaiian green sea turtles. While we were swimming, we even found these creatures swimming with us. Just a heads-up, though, since the water here is cold, don’t forget to put on your rash guard if you go inside the water.

Since this beach is mostly crowded with sea turtles, make sure to give them their space. Refrain from feeding or touching them. They are different from your pets, so don’t treat them like one!

Once you’re done with your turtle-watching session, we highly suggest you go around Haleiwa Town and visit the shops to buy yourself some unique souvenirs.

Kuilima Cove

Kuilima Cove shares its beach with the North Shore’s fancy Turtle Bay Resort. The beach is right next to the hotel, and Kuilima Cove has its fair share of turtles.

While you might not see as many turtles here as in other spots, you could still spot a few. To catch a glimpse, you’ll need to get in the water and keep your eyes peeled since they rarely come ashore at Turtle Bay.

When you’re snorkeling at Turtle Bay, watch out for the sharp rocks and coral! We saw some big sea turtles that were not too far out. The cove is shared with the Turtle Bay Resort and is calm enough for swimming and snorkeling.

This small, well-protected cove is perfect for beginner snorkelers, with picturesque waves in the distance. You can see plenty of juvenile reef species just yards from the beach. Beyond the breakers, we even spotted a large turtle taking a nap under an overhang.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

Waimea Bay Beach Park

While this beach is a gem for snorkeling, it is also a great place to spot the protected species. This was probably our favorite beach on the North Shore. It is a beautiful sandy beach close to town. We soaked up the sun, swam, and saw sea turtles.

We also watched people lining up to jump off the giant rock. The sand is super soft and deep—maybe a bit too soft. When you snorkel to the left of the rock, you’ll be in for a treat with a good variety of fish and many schools swimming around.

Waimea Bay Beach on Oahu’s North Shore is wide and super clean, right where the Waimea River meets the ocean. It’s a total hotspot for surfers in the winter because of the high and big waves.

The only downside is the parking. The lot is small, and there’s always a long line of cars waiting for a spot. Street parking is limited, but we were lucky to snag the last spot. If you can find parking, you’re in for a great time.

Chun’s Reef

Chun’s Reef is a killer North Shore beach for everyone, with its long stretch of sand and super fine white grains. Plus, there’s a freshwater pond that’s perfect for the little ones (Keiki).

It’s just a couple of miles north of Haleʻiwa Beach Park, right smack in the middle of all the North Shore surf action. Beginners and pros alike dig it for catching waves.

But what’s really cool about this beach is the awesome sea life it shows off. The rocky shores on each side are prime for exploring tide pools and checking out some amazing Hawaiian sea creatures, including the famous Hawaiian green sea turtle.

You’ll have to struggle a bit to see these creatures. We scrambled down the rocks along the beaten path toward the other beach and caught some sea turtles taking a snooze.

Pupukea Beach Park

Pupukea Beach Park

Another North Shore Beach we discovered for turtle-watching is Pupukea Beach. This beach is awesome. The view? Top-notch. And the water? Yup, you guessed it, amazing, too. But the crowd was massive.

We spent almost an hour snorkeling, and it was unreal. We saw a bunch of colorful tropical fish and even bumped into a honu (that’s a sea turtle, by the way). The turtle wasn’t bothered by us at all; it just kept on munching away as we watched them from a safe distance.

We also spotted a Snowflake eel, about 18 inches long, and tons of local fish. Seriously, it’s an excellent spot for kids. Fish were everywhere: big schools of about 400, green sea turtles, eels, and a bunch of parrot Fish.

The pools aren’t super deep; mostly, you can walk around in them. Snorkeling is best when it’s not low tide with calmer waters, so make sure to check first. And definitely pack those protective shoes if you’re planning to snorkel.

Mokuleia Beach Park

This beach was seriously gorgeous and not packed at all. It’s a bit out of the way, and you’ll need a car, but the drive is totally worth it!

Mokuleia Beach is stunning, with crystal clear waters. The scenery of this beach stretches out for miles, and even on the weekends, it’s not packed. If you head to the east side of the beach, you’ll see a seal crew at the end of the road!

We’ve spotted Hawaii’s sea turtles here plenty of times, chilling around the rocks. We also saw some big ones out in the ocean. We even got to swim alongside these turtles in the surf. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some whales!

Overall, this beach ended up being our favorite along the North Shore. It’s not crowded, especially on weekdays, and the long sandy stretch is perfect for leisurely walks. Plus, there are plenty of spots to swim or snorkel without hitting any rocks.

Shark’s Cove

Shark's Cove

Shark’s Cove is a beautiful spot on Oahu’s laid-back north side of the island. These rocky tidal pools in Pupukea’s Marine Life Conservation District are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Despite the name, you won’t find any sharks here. Instead, you’ll see an amazing variety of marine life, like schools of fish, octopuses, sea turtles, and vibrant coral. Scuba Diving Magazine even rated Shark’s Cove as one of the top 12 shore dives in the world.

We had the best snorkeling experience ever! Our afternoon was filled with tons of fish and giant sea turtles, which definitely made it one of our unforgettable experience.

Three Tables Beach

Keeping the best for the last, another great snorkeling spot nearby is Three Tables Beach. It’s located between Waimea Bay Beach and Pupukea Beach, which has a sandy beach. The name comes from the three flat reefs you can see just off the coast, especially during low tide.

Three Tables is one of the best spots for snorkeling since the three big flat rocks there protect the beach, and there’s live coral and tons of fish within the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District.

We spotted a few green sea turtles near the rocks on both the left and right sides of Three Tables. The beach wasn’t crowded, which was a big plus for us.

The variety of fish was excellent, and the water visibility was superb. The beach does get pretty busy, so get there early to snag a good parking spot without having to walk too far.


What’s the best time to see turtles on Oahu?

Turtles can be seen year-round in North Shore Oahu. However, the summer months (May to September) are perfect for snorkeling and seeing turtles due to calmer ocean conditions.

Is it safe to swim with turtles in North Shore Oahu?

Yes, it is generally safe to swim with turtles in North Shore Oahu, but it is important not to be in close proximity and respect their space. Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet to avoid disturbing them, and do not touch or feed the turtles.

What other wildlife might I see while viewing turtles?

In addition to turtles, you might see a variety of marine life, such as colorful fish, sea urchins, and sometimes even Hawaiian monk seals. During the winter months, you might also spot humpback whales off the coast.

Pack Your Bags And Spot Sea Turtles!

Whether you’re snorkeling, surfing, or just lounging on the beach, North Shore Oahu offers plenty of opportunities to see these amazing creatures up close. For a more comfortable experience, remember to book tours offering turtle watching. With our favorite spots listed for you, pack your bags and get ready to spot some sea turtles!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Delivery in Waikiki