Where To See Sea Turtles In Oahu

Oahu, the third-largest Hawaiian island, is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life. One of the most captivating creatures that can be found in the waters surrounding Oahu is the sea turtle. These ancient reptiles, also known as honu in Hawaiian, have become a symbol of the island’s natural beauty and conservation efforts. If you’re planning a trip to Oahu and want to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, here are some of the best spots to see sea turtles:

1. Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is a popular destination for sea turtle enthusiasts. This beach is known for its large population of green sea turtles that frequently come ashore to bask in the sun. Visitors can observe these gentle giants from a safe distance and learn about their behavior and conservation efforts from knowledgeable volunteers.

2. Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort, situated on the northeastern tip of Oahu, offers a unique opportunity to see sea turtles up close. The resort’s protected cove, Kuilima Cove, is a favorite resting spot for turtles. Snorkelers and swimmers can often encounter these graceful creatures while exploring the vibrant coral reefs just off the shore.

3. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a marine life conservation area located on the southeastern coast of Oahu, is not only a popular snorkeling destination but also a sanctuary for sea turtles. The calm and clear waters of the bay provide an ideal habitat for these magnificent creatures. Snorkelers can spot sea turtles gracefully gliding through the water and feeding on the abundant marine life.

4. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world, is not only known for its golden sands and surfable waves but also for its resident sea turtles. While it may be surprising to find sea turtles in such a bustling tourist hub, these creatures have adapted to the urban environment and can often be seen swimming near the shore. Visitors can catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures while enjoying the beach or even while taking a surfing lesson.

5. Makapu’u Tide Pools

Makapu’u Tide Pools, located on the southeastern coast of Oahu, offer a unique opportunity to observe sea turtles in a natural setting. These tide pools are formed by volcanic rock and are home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles. Visitors can hike along the coastal trail and then take a refreshing dip in the tide pools while keeping an eye out for these fascinating creatures.

6. Electric Beach

Electric Beach, also known as Kahe Point Beach Park, is a hidden gem on the western coast of Oahu. This beach is famous for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, including sea turtles. Snorkelers can swim alongside these gentle giants as they glide through the warm waters, making for an unforgettable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Are sea turtles endangered in Oahu?

While sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act, their population in Oahu has been steadily increasing over the years. The efforts of conservation organizations and responsible tourism have played a significant role in the recovery of sea turtle populations.

2. Can I touch or feed sea turtles in Oahu?

No, it is strictly prohibited to touch or feed sea turtles in Oahu. These creatures are protected by law, and any disturbance to their natural behavior can have negative consequences for their well-being. It is important to observe sea turtles from a safe distance and respect their habitat.

3. What is the best time of year to see sea turtles in Oahu?

Sea turtles can be seen in Oahu year-round, but the best time to spot them is during the summer months. During this time, the waters are calmer, and the turtles are more active. However, it is important to note that sea turtles are wild animals, and their presence cannot be guaranteed.

4. Can I swim with sea turtles in Oahu?

While swimming with sea turtles is a magical experience, it is important to do so responsibly. Snorkelers can swim alongside sea turtles in designated areas, such as Hanauma Bay and Turtle Bay Resort, but it is crucial to maintain a safe distance and avoid touching or chasing the turtles.

5. How can I contribute to sea turtle conservation in Oahu?

There are several ways you can contribute to sea turtle conservation in Oahu. Firstly, you can support local conservation organizations through donations or volunteer work. Additionally, practicing responsible tourism, such as not littering and avoiding single-use plastics, can help protect the marine environment that sea turtles rely on.

6. Are there any guided tours available to see sea turtles in Oahu?

Yes, there are guided tours available that offer a unique opportunity to learn about sea turtles and witness them in their natural habitat. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide valuable insights into the behavior and conservation efforts of sea turtles. It is important to choose a reputable tour operator that prioritizes the well-being of the turtles and their habitat.


Oahu offers numerous opportunities to witness the beauty of sea turtles in their natural habitat. From the North Shore to the southeastern coast, these magnificent creatures can be observed while snorkeling, swimming, or simply enjoying the beach. It is important to remember that sea turtles are protected species, and responsible tourism is crucial for their conservation. By following guidelines, respecting their habitat, and supporting local conservation efforts, visitors can contribute to the preservation of these ancient reptiles for future generations to enjoy.