Where to Watch Turtles on Oahu in 2024

Looking to find turtles on Oahu? You’re in luck! This beautiful Hawaiian island offers several spots where you can catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. This article will cover some of the top locations where you can find turtles on Oahu.

where to find turtles oahu

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1. Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach):

Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, is a must-visit if you want to see turtles on Oahu. This North Shore beach is famous for its frequent turtle sightings. You can often spot these gentle creatures coming ashore to bask in the sun. Remember to maintain a respectful distance to ensure the turtles’ well-being.

Parking: Finding parking near Laniakea Beach can be challenging due to its popularity. If you’re lucky, you may find a spot along the highway. However, it’s important to be cautious of parking restrictions and not block any driveways or entrances.

Kaena Point State Park

For a more secluded turtle-viewing experience, head to Kaena Point State Park. Located on the western tip of Oahu, this remote park offers a rugged coastal trail that leads to the point. Keep your eyes peeled as you hike, as you may spot turtles swimming in the turquoise waters or sunning themselves on the rocks.

Parking: There is a small parking area that will fill up early in the day and then you can park on the other side in a dirt area or on the side of the road.

2. Waikiki Beach

Even in the heart of Waikiki, you can find turtles! While sightings here may not be as consistent as at other locations, it’s not uncommon to see turtles swimming near the shores of Waikiki Beach. Snorkeling or swimming in designated areas might give you a chance to observe these graceful creatures in their natural habitat.

Parking: Check out the Waikiki Shell parking lot on Monsarrat Avenue. Come here if you’re looking for unlimited, 24-hour free parking. The lot is huge, so you’re most likely to find a spot! For more parking tips check out this article!

3. Shark’s Cove

If you’re an adventurous snorkeler, make your way to Shark’s Cove on the North Shore. This popular snorkeling spot is known for its abundant marine life, including turtles. Strap on your snorkel gear and explore the coral reefs, keeping an eye out for these magnificent creatures gracefully gliding through the water.

Parking: Parking is very limited near Shark’s Cove and many visitors will park along the road.

Need an Oahu Hawaii travel guide? Here’s a detailed guide and 7-day itineraries!

4. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

It’s tough to get tickets through the online reservation system but if you do, Hanaumua Bay is a great place to visit. Get there super early! They have a window of standby tickets to give to people that weren’t able to score a reservation online. After paying the admission fee and watching the mandatory orientation video, you’ll have access to the bay’s pristine beach and clear waters.

To increase your chances of seeing turtles, head towards the rocky areas on the sides of the bay, as these are the spots where turtles often swim and feed. Snorkeling is the best way to observe them underwater, so be sure to bring your snorkeling gear or rent some from the beach facilities. Remember to maintain a respectful distance from the turtles and refrain from touching or disturbing them, as they are protected species.

Parking: Parking at Hanauma Bay Preserve can be tough as spots are limited and there’s no time limit for parking spots. The parking fee is $3.

where to find turtles oahu
Photo by Amanda Phung on Unsplash

5. Understanding Turtles in Oahu

Oahu is home to several species of sea turtles, including the green sea turtle and the hawksbill turtle. These turtles are an important part of the island’s ecosystem and are protected under state and federal law. Visitors to Oahu can often see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, but it’s important to understand some basic facts about turtles before setting out to find them.

#1 It’s important to know that sea turtles are reptiles, which means they are cold-blooded and need to bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. They are also air-breathing, which means they need to come to the surface of the water to breathe. This is why you will often see turtles swimming near the surface of the water.

#2 Oahu’s sea turtles are protected by law. It is illegal to touch, harass, or disturb them in any way. This includes feeding them, as it can disrupt their natural feeding patterns and cause them to become dependent on humans for food. If you see a turtle on the beach, it’s important to keep a safe distance and observe them from afar.

#3 Always remember that sea turtles are an endangered species. This means that their populations are declining, and they need our help to survive. If you see a turtle in distress, such as entangled in a fishing line or trapped on the beach, it’s important to contact the proper authorities immediately.

Remember, when searching for turtles on Oahu, it’s crucial to respect their environment and follow guidelines to ensure their well-being. Keep a safe distance, refrain from touching or feeding them, and never disturb their nests. Enjoy the incredible experience of finding turtles in their natural habitat while preserving their beauty for future generations.

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