Turtles In Oahu

The Top Spots to See Turtles In Oahu

If you are wondering, where to see turtles Oahu, we’ve just got you the right options to explore. Oahu is not just known for its stunning beaches but also for what you can see on those beaches. Sea turtles are one of the popular options that most visitors visiting Hawaii go for.

From seeing turtles at the north shore beach of Oahu to the west side of Oahu, we’ve included all the options here. So what’s the wait? Without much waiting, let’s see the most popular spots for spotting the famous Hawaiian green sea turtle in Oahu.

Some Info About The Hawaiian Sea Turtles

Hawaiian Sea Turtles

The Hawaiian sea turtles are the most celebrated creatures on the entire island. The island of Oahu is a haven to find sea turtles of different species! With its warm waters and diverse marine habitats, this island is home to five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles.

While exploring Oahu’s coastal wonders, you can encounter hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle, and olive ridley turtle, although sightings of these rare species are less common.

Though sea turtles can be spotted year-round across Oahu’s shores, the summer months, from May to September, offer the optimal conditions for witnessing these majestic creatures in action.

However, among these fascinating creatures, the green turtle reigns supreme as the most beloved and frequently encountered species, setting the stage for countless unforgettable encounters.

In Hawaiian culture, green sea turtles are known as Honu. These turtles are native to Hawaii and are named due to their green-colored fat, which they get from eating their favorite algae, Limu. These turtles are said to be a symbol of good luck and long life, which is why respecting them is of the utmost importance.

How To Keep Sea Turtles Safe?

Sea Turtles Safe

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) stands as a crucial safeguard offering solid protection for threatened and extinct species, including the revered Hawaiian green turtle. Under the ESA’s provisions, these magnificent creatures receive comprehensive protection, ensuring their survival and the preservation of their delicate ecosystems. There are some steps you can take to keep these creatures safe on the island:

  • Avoid flash photography
  • Maintain a distance of 10 feet from the turtles
  • Don’t touch the turtles
  • Don’t feed the turtles
  • Don’t ride the turtles

Top 12 Best Spots To Watch Turtles On Oahu

When you are in Oahu, you’ll hear that sea turtles can be found on almost all the beaches. However, there are some places where we can guarantee that you can catch a glimpse of these beautiful and gentle giants. We’ve travelled and found these places to be the most appealing with having the most possibility of finding sea turtles along with other sea life.

1. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

Location: Honolulu, on the south shore of Oahu.

If you are not new to Oahu, you’ll know that Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous places on the entire island. People don’t come here just to get tanned under the sun on the shore but to watch the famous Hawaiian turtles as well.

Just head to the piers, especially during sunrise and noon, and you’ll see the beautiful sea turtles. If you want to relax under the shade with some delicious cocktails, you can visit the bars and restaurants nearby, making it a perfect spot to unwind and explore.

With the gentle waves lapping against the shore, the salty breeze, and the thrill of spotting these magnificent creatures gracefully swimming along the southern shores of Oahu are sure to make your day.

2. Turtle Bay

Location: Located on the North Shore of Oahu, near Turtle Beach.

The Turtle Bay is near to the Turtle Beach and acts as a breeding ground for Oahu’s sea turtles favourite food, Limu. Limu is a kind of plant that grows underwater and can be eaten by marine life. These plants are typically like algae, seaweeds, or those plants living near water bodies.

You can reach the bay simply by walking on the Turtle beach. Swimming with the turtles isn’t possible here as they like to rest at this location. However, it’s still an amazing spot to visit with your loved ones. Apart from watching sea turtles sunbathe, you can spend time here exploring the vibrant marine life that thrives in the shallow waters.

3. Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach

Location: Located on the North Shore of Oahu.

Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, is the best place to have the best turtle-watching experience. The name Laniakea translates to “wide sky,” and it stays true to its name. We love going to this beach, as it’s known as one of the prettiest beaches ever. You’re sure to see sea turtles here!

If you want to be up close with the turtles swimming, you can go for snorkeling here. The water’s extremely clear and shallow that anyone, even if you’re not super good at snorkeling, can get really close to the Hawaiian sea turtles.

Since the beach is quite popular, you can find many volunteers walking around to take care of the endangered species and their homes on the beach. Its rocky shore, crystal clear waters, and multiple green sea turtles coming to the shore make it the best location for tourists and locals to witness the famous creatures of Oahu.

4. Makua Beach

Location: On the west coast of Oahu.

When it comes to spotting sea turtles on Oahu, I prefer a quieter scene. That’s why Makua Beach is my go-to place when I feel like it. It’s away from all the crowd, so, you won’t have to deal with many people running around to catch a of glimpse of those majestic green sea turtles.

When you’re done relaxing and witnessing the turtles, go on and take a dip in the clear waters. In addition to sea turtles, you’ll also see many other colorful sea creatures and tropical fish swimming around.

Make sure you are attentive enough on this beach, as you won’t easily see a sea turtle here. And sometimes, they can be a bit tricky to find. If you’re up for a little adventure, get a boat and go out into deeper waters for a better chance of encountering these magnificent creatures.

5. Yokohama Bay

Yokohama Bay

Location: On the western coast of Oahu, past the town of Waianae.

Yokohama Bay, also known as Keawa’ula Beach, is a secluded beach that offers a serene and uncrowded escape for the people of Oahu and the tourists visiting Oahu. This place isn’t just a tranquil spot for sunbathing—it’s also a prime location for spotting sea turtles and getting on with snorkeling activities.

As you explore the waters near the coral reefs, keep your eyes peeled for these majestic creatures gracefully swimming by. Yokohama Bay is their go-to hangout destination, where they can often be seen gliding through crystal-clear waters.

6. Electric Beach

Location: Located on the southwest coast of Oahu.

If you want to discover something more than just Hawaiian green sea turtles, head to this beach! Kahe Point Beach Park, famously known as Electric Beach, gets its name from a Hawaiian Electric Power Plant. This power plant releases warm water into the sea that draws in much marine life into the electric beach.

So, while you’re strolling on the shore to look for turtles, if you are lucky enough, you’ll catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins ( trust me, we saw a few). Love snorkeling? Take this chance to dive into the clear waters and go on for a snorkeling adventure. You can also book a boat ride or just chill on the beach while watching the endangered species around you.

7. Haleiwa Beach

Haleiwa Beach

Location: On Waialua Bay, north shore of Oahu.

On Oahu’s north shore, sea turtle fans can have a truly turtle-tastic experience on Haleiwa Beach. Since the waters here are very chilly, it makes a great destination to spot sea turtles floating. I personally love swimming alongside these creatures.

Let me warn you, the water here can become quite cold after a while, so it’s best you wear a rash guard to be safe from the heat and the water. If you’re not a fan of going into the water, don’t worry! You can spot these turtles basking on the sand near the shore.

Now, something to always remember: since this beach can get a bit crowded with turtles, you need to be very careful. Whether you spot turtles on the shore or in the water, always maintain distance and respect them. These are endangered species, so we all need to take care of them and their natural habitat.

8. Makaha Beach

Location: Waianae, west side of Oahu.

Makaha Beach is another great destination where you can spot the majestic Honu. Of all the places mentioned on the list, this is where we encountered the most turtles. We also took the chance and swam with the gentle giants.

Yes, you heard that right! To see these creatures and get the best view, if you can, you should definitely swim out to the sea. And don’t worry, there aren’t any waves here, and the water currents are also very mild, so it is safe and comfortable for the activity. Just make sure you have your snorkel gear and fins ready all the time when you visit this beach because you never know when you might need it.

9. Ko Olina Lagoon

Ko Olina Lagoon

Location: West side of Oahu.

Not many people know about this place in Oahu, which is why it is also known as a hidden gem for spotting turtles. This place is especially best for kids to see turtles on Oahu, as the water here is shallow, and kids can easily watch the majestic creatures floating on top of the pristine water.

Because the place is hidden, navigating it can be quite a task. So, as you reach Lanikuhonua, look for parking spots around chain-blocking access, usually on the opposite side of the main entrance. You’ll then see a sandy path. Follow the path which will lead you to the hidden lagoon where you’ll see these amazing creatures.

10. Shark’s Cove

Location: Located on Oahu’s north shore, between Haleiwa and Sunset Beach.

As the name states, Shark’s Cove, don’t be afraid, as you won’t see sharks here. The name of this cove is given because of the reef’s outline, which looks like sharks scattered all around, way beyond the cove’s mouth.

A part of Pupukea Beach Park, this is one of the best places to snorkel due to its clear water and vibrant sea life. It is also known for the considerable number of sea turtles spotted here.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled among the rocky nooks and sea grass to see graceful sea turtles gliding peacefully in their natural dwelling place.

Remember to keep your snorkeling gear handy and apply a good layer of reef-safe sunscreen so that when you decide to go into the water for a snorkeling session, your skin is safe at all times, but it’s also safe for life underwater.

Here, throughout the day, you can encounter sea turtles, but to get a unique experience, stay on the cove till sunset, as they are more likely to show up during that time.

11. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Location: Located on the eastern side of Oahu.

Hanauma Bay is among the famous spots that tourists often go to when visiting Oahu. However, if you love sea turtles, this place for sure will not disappoint you. Even if you are planning a trip here just to relax, during the course of the time on the beach, you’ll definitely get to see amazing animals all around you.

Wait for the sun to dip a bit below the horizon and look at Hanauma Bay’s shore. You’ll see a number of sea turtles emerging and basking in the fading light. When you get this view, don’t forget to capture it, but do it from a distance and give them enough room to move back to the ocean.

12. Ka’ena Point

Location: Located on Oahu’s north shore, between Haleiwa and Sunset Beach.

Ka’ena Point is another great location where sea turtles love to spend time. It’s a picturesque location, so get your cameras ready not just to click pictures of the beloved creatures but of yourself, too!

If you have the time, try staying here until sunset to wait for the protected species to come on and rest for the remainder of their day. As you move around the place, you’ll be exposed to diverse marine life on the way, which is sure to end your day with a lasting memory of Oahu. Remember, that while you are walking on the sandy shores, respect the turtles space and keep a distance from them.

What To Do When You Encounter A Sea Turtle? (Best Tips)

Encounter A Sea Turtle

So, you’ve visited some places to see turtles in Oahu but are not sure what to do after you’ve encountered one? We’ve brought you some tips based on our experience that are safe for you, as well as the sea turtles.

  • One of the most common things I saw was to stay still or move very slowly when encountering one. Let them move towards you rather than you moving towards them. If you feel you have to move, do it very slowly, as if it’s unnoticeable. Doing this will not scare them off, and you can watch them closely and safely.
  • Talking about closeness, don’t get too close to them. Always try to maintain a distance of 10 feet from them.
  • Often, people get too excited and loud when looking at these gentle creatures. But don’t make this mistake! Look at them from a distance (as mentioned) and keep your voice low. Loud noise can scare them off, and you wouldn’t want that to happen.
  • Even if you feel considerate of the turtles, don’t make the mistake of feeding them. They have a fixed diet, and eating anything outside their diet will cause them to have several digestive issues. Also, it’s against the Hawaiian law to feed them, so you don’t want to land in any trouble.
  • When clicking pictures, don’t forget to turn off the flash. Flashlights can disturb them and disrupt their peace.
  • If you see any sea turtle swimming rapidly or trying to get away quickly, it’s better to leave the place. The turtle might be in distress and could be harmful to you.
  • When walking along the shore, if you see sea turtles, give them enough space to move around. Don’t block their way on their own habitat.
  • As you protect the turtles, remember to take care of yourself too. Apply a generous amount of reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin as well as the coral reefs and the vast biodiversity around you.


What time of year is best for turtle sightings in Oahu?

While turtles can be seen in Oahu year-round, the best time for sightings is generally during the summer months, from May to September. During this time, the waters tend to be calmer, and turtles are more active.

Is it possible to see turtles from the shore, or do I need to go snorkeling or diving?

While snorkeling or diving offers the best chances of seeing turtles up close, it’s also possible to spot them from the shore, especially at locations like Laniakea Beach, where turtles frequently come ashore to bask in the sun.

How can I reach the best spots to see Hawaiian green sea turtles in Oahu?

You can travel around Oahu by car or even ride on the local transportation available. For more freedom, you can book two-wheelers such as scooters, mopeds, or bikes to visit these spots.

Can I touch sea turtles in Oahu?

However tempting you feel to touch these beautiful creatures, refrain from doing so. It is illegal to do so, and you might face adverse consequences for doing so.

Multiply Your Oahu Visit With The Alluring Sea Turtle On Oahu

Oahu offers a unique opportunity for people to witness the beauty and grace of sea turtles in their natural habitat. Whether it is the iconic Waikiki Beach or the tranquil shores of Yokohama Bay, each location presents a unique and memorable encounter with these magnificent creatures.

But whenever you are here, remember to respect the creature’s privacy and space. Don’t bother them or their natural habitat, as it might disrupt their freedom.

With proper care and appreciation for these gentle giants and majestic Honu, your turtle-watching experience in Oahu is sure to leave a lasting impression. It will foster a deeper connection to the island’s natural wonders and the importance of conservation efforts to protect them for future generations to enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for? Get on with your turtle-spotting adventure in Oahu today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Leave a Reply

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

Free Delivery in Waikiki