If you’re looking for turtle time on Oahu, then you’re in luck! The island is home to six sea turtles, each with its favorite spots to hang out.
The most common type here is the Pacific green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), found all over the island. Four other types of turtles also call Oahu home:
- Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata)
- Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta)
- Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)
- Olive ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea)
While some species only visit during certain seasons or years, all six species can be seen throughout much of the year, especially during mating season from March through May when they come ashore en masse to lay eggs on beaches around Hawaii.
Best time of year to see turtles in Oahu
As you can imagine, the best time of year to see turtles in Oahu is during their mating season. While their exact schedule varies yearly depending on weather patterns and other factors, you can expect turtles to come ashore between May and October.
However, you may also see turtles during winter if you know where and when to look.
Where to swim with turtles in Oahu
The best time of year to see turtles in Oahu is between October and March.
You can swim with turtles in Oahu during this period at Turtle Bay Resort, Laniakea Beach, Waimea Bay Beach Park, and Makua Beach.
As an Amazon Associate and Booking affiliate, LoveForTraveling.com earns from qualifying purchases. We may receive a commission for purchases made via our links.
1) Turtle Bay Resort
One of the best places to see turtles in Oahu is Turtle Bay Resort, located on the North Shore.
In addition to having a beautiful beach and excellent dining options, Turtle Bay is home to a turtle hatchery and offers a guided tour of the area.
The tour begins with a short film explaining the importance of turtles and why they are an integral part of the ecosystem. Next, you will be taken to the hatchery, where baby turtles are hatching before your eyes.
The tour ends with an opportunity to interact with the turtles.
You can feed them and even hold one if you wish! Turtle Bay Resort is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu and offers many other activities, such as hiking, surfing, kayaking, and more.
2) Laniakea Beach
Laniakea Beach is a great place to see turtles. It’s on the North Shore of Oahu, only a short drive from Waikiki.
The Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving; it has calm waters and many coral reefs where you can explore underwater. It’s also one of the best places in Hawaii to get certified as a scuba diver!
If you’re looking for sea life while at Laniakea Beach, keep an eye out for green sea turtles.
They live all over Hawaii but are particularly common at this Beach because there aren’t many predators here (like sharks).
Even though they spend most of their time underwater, these turtles love basking in the sun on land, making them easy targets for poachers who want to sell them as pets or meat!
3) Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Bay Beach Park is located on the North Shore of Oahu. The Beach is popular with surfers and has a rocky shoreline perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
The park has a lifeguard station, bathroom facilities, picnic tables, and parking. It’s open 24 hours a day!
The Beach is home to the Waimea Bay Beach Break, a surfing competition that draws more than 100 competitors from around the world.
The Beach also hosts other events throughout the year, including the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s Surfing Championships and summer music festivals.
4) Makua Beach
Makua Beach is a remote stretch of sand that’s hard to reach but worth it. It’s famous for its turtles, who come here to lay their eggs in the summer months (April through September).
During this time, you can swim with dozens of sea turtles as they lay their eggs on the Beach and guard them until they hatch.
The best time to go is during nesting season; if you want to see hatching baby turtles in action, get there right after 4 pm when all the nests have been laid and start incubating overnight.
The area is only accessible by boat or hiking trail, so ensure you’re prepared before venturing onto this secluded stretch of shoreline!
Makua Beach is one of the best places in Oahu to see sea turtles in action.
You can swim with them as they lay their eggs on the Beach and guard them until they hatch, or check out some nests and watch them incubate overnight.
5) Kaupo Bay
Kaupo Bay is a great place to see turtles on the southeastern coast of Oahu. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and scenic views, it’s well worth visiting if you’re in the area!
The bay is surrounded by a reef that attracts much marine life. During the summer months, it’s common to see turtles swimming in the water or sunbathing on the Beach.
You can also find sea turtles nesting here as well. The bay is a great place to snorkel or swim, but take precautions when entering the water.
This area can get very choppy, so ensure you’re comfortable swimming in rougher waters before heading out!
The bay is located off Hau’ula Beach Road. There are several ways to get there, including driving or taking a bus.
If you’re driving, take the H-1 Westbound until it becomes Likelike Highway (Route 63). Take the second exit for Kaneohe and turn left onto Kamehameha III Road. Turn right onto Hau’ula Beach Road and follow it until you reach the bay.
6) Haleiwa Beach
Haleiwa Beach Park is a popular beach park on the North Shore of Oahu. The Beach is located in Haleiwa, Hawaii, and lifeguards are on duty during summer.
If you want to see turtles, this is probably your best bet because it’s not far from Turtle Bay Resort and other sites where they have been spotted. If you’re visiting Turtle Bay Resort (or using their facilities), it’s worth checking out their website to plan your time wisely.
The Beach is relatively small but sandy and has some nice waves. There are also showers and restrooms available on the premises. The parking lot can get pretty crowded during peak hours, so if you’re planning to go in the middle of the day during summertime, be prepared for a wait.
7) Electric Beach (Kahe Point)
Located on the southwest coast of Oʻahu, this Beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists. It has shallow waters and a sandy bottom, making it ideal for younger kids.
The nearby pier also offers excellent views of the ocean and coastline. The Beach is also well-known for its large population of green sea turtles.
You might even spot an endangered Hawaiian monk seal lounging on the shore if you’re lucky! The only downside to this Beach is that it can get crowded during peak hours.
8) Halona Beach Cove
Eternity Beach, also known as Halona Cove, is a great place to go if you want to see sea turtles on the southeastern side of Oahu.
It can be tricky to get there as it’s not right off the highway and requires some backtracking, but it is worth it! Halona Beach Cove is also excellent for snorkeling and swimming with turtles.
You’ll find lots of fish in this cove, so bring your camera and swim fins if you want to get some good shots!
You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards at the Beach. The water is calm and perfect for beginner snorkelers or those who want to relax by the shore.
This Beach is great for families with small children because of its shallow waters and abundance of sea turtles.
9) Ko Olina
Ko Olina is a resort area located on the southwestern tip of Oahu and adjacent to Ewa Beach. The site is home to several hotels, an 18-hole golf course, and a shopping center.
The beaches in Ko Olina are some of the best on Oahu because they are so clean, with little or no litter. The waters here are calm, which makes for great swimming and snorkeling. It’s also a great place to snorkel; many fish and turtles swim offshore.
10) Aki’s Beach
Aki’s Beach is located on the west side of Ohau. It’s a popular spot for surfers and snorkelers, but it also offers excellent opportunities to watch turtles swimming in and sunning themselves on rocks or sandy beaches.
This beach is one of the most accessible places on Oahu, where you can get close to wildlife without harming them.
If you love surfing, this is an excellent area for beginners because some gentle waves break along the coast!
If you’re not looking for something too challenging, go elsewhere; this area gets crowded quickly during the high season and is prone to riptides when conditions are right (usually after rain).