If you’re on vacation in Oahu, seeing turtles is most likely on your bucket list!
There are so many places to see turtles on Oahu, but the most popular place to go is Laniakea Beach, better known as Turtle Beach to some people.
This beach is named after the creatures that call it home—the magnificent green sea turtles. It’s a popular place amongst tourists since it’s one of the best beaches on the North Shore of Oahu.
This blog post will provide an overview of Turtle Beach, discuss the best times to see turtles, provide additional recommendations on where in Oahu you can go to see turtles, and so much more.
Overview of Laniakea/ Turtle Beach Oahu
Turtle Beach is officially known as Laniakea Beach, but this article will use the names interchangeably. We might use Turle Beach more since this is what most tourists call the beach.
Turtle Beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu along the 7-mile miracle stretch of sandy beaches.
It’s a pretty popular site on Oahu because of its perfect surfing conditions in the wintertime, the beach’s significance to Hawaiian green sea turtles, and some of the best snorkeling on the island of Oahu.
Many people often come here to spot the magnificent green sea turtles, and we can’t blame them at all.
What makes Turtle Beach so special? Most people believe that more turtles live on Turtle Beach than on any other beach on Oahu.
You can find multiple turtles of various sizes basking in the sun, relaxing, and digesting. The warm sand helps them digest the algae they eat off the rocks in the water.
While there is a bigger chance of spotting sea turtles at Turtle Beach, that doesn’t mean that you will always see turtles when you go there.
Keep in mind that turtles are wild animals, which means their behavior is unpredictable. There are times when you will see none at all.
We came here in February of 2022 and didn’t see any turtles however, we saw some in April 2021.
Just have an open mind when you go, so you are not disappointed if you don’t see any.
Again, there are other places you can spot green sea turtles on the island, so you don’t have to be limited to one option. Who knows, maybe you might get lucky and see them somewhere else!
Green Sea Turtles on Oahu
Turtles in Hawaii are a threatened species and thus protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which makes it illegal to touch, feed, harass, harm, or take them from their habitat.
They can be found all over the Hawaiian islands, but they reside in specific areas more than others.
You’ll find both juvenile and adult sea turtles with varying shades of green, brown, or black on their shells with lighter, yellow underbelly.
Things Not to Do While Visiting Turtle Beach Oahu
Don’t do the following while you are at the beach:
1) Touch: It’s illegal to touch sea turtles, so do not disturb them by touching them. I know it can be tempting, but please resist the urge and protect the wildlife.
2) Feeding: Don’t feed the turtles under any circumstances. They might seem cute and hungry, but we don’t want to harm them by feeding them things that aren’t supposed to be a part of their diet.
3) Disturb: This might seem a bit obvious, but it’s important not to disturb the turtles while they’re basking/resting on the beach.
4) Get too close to the turtles: Always stay at least 10 feet away from the turtles. Respect the honu’s (turtles) and give them some space. At Laniakea Beach, sections with red ropes act as a sign for people not to cross over. You will also see volunteers who keep people from crossing the ropes at the beach.
Best Time to Spot Turtles at Laniakea Beach
The best time to see turtles in Hawaii is summer (May-October). During this time, the waves are calm, and the water and sand are much warmer than in the winter months.
The best time to spot sea turtles is between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Most of them will come out when the sun is the hottest.
That doesn’t mean that you can only see turtles during these times, it just means that your chances are higher in this timeframe.
In all honesty, we have seen turtles in Hawaii at different times, including close to sunset. As mentioned previously, turtles are wildlife and can be unpredictable sometimes.
Laniakea Beach Facilities and Amenities
- Free Parking is located across the street
- No showers or bathrooms
- No lifeguard on duty: Please take extra precautions, especially during the winter months, as the waves here are much stronger in the wintertime and can change very quickly. A lifeguard station is near the Chunn’s Reef Beach area if you want to try swimming there.
- Limited shade: There is little shade available under trees if you are the type that prefers shade. I know I definitely need the shade, so bring an umbrella if possible!
Laniakea Beach Hours
Laniakea Beach doesn’t have any set hours. It is open 24/7; however, we recommend swimming during daylight hours only for safety reasons.
During the summer months, the beach can be very crowded, and it’s advised that visitors come early or late in the day to avoid crowds.
How to Get to Laniakea Beach
The best way to get to Laniakea Beach is to rent a car and drive. As I always mention in my posts, put the address in Google Maps, which should take you right to your destination. Google Maps never disappoints!
Otherwise, here are the instructions.”
From Waikiki, you will need to take the H1-W to I-H-201 W, then I-H-1 W, and I-H-2 N to HI-80. Take exit eight from I-H-2 N. You will then need to Take HI-99 N to HI-83 E.
The whole drive should take you about 53 minutes from Waikiki.
Swimming at Laniakea Beach
Yes, you can swim at Laniakea Beach. However, we do not recommend swimming here in the winter (November- April) due to the strong currents and large waves.
Please use caution when swimming, as the ocean can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Do You Need Tickets for Laniakea Beach?
Tickets are not required for Laniakea Beach. The beach is open to the public, and anyone can enjoy its beauty without needing a ticket or any other form of payment. However, if you are taking a tour, there might be a cost associated with the tour.
Where Else Can You See Turtles on Oahu?
Many people would be surprised to learn that there are many other places on the island of Oahu where you can spot sea turtles. Below are some of the places we have been able to spot turtles on the island.
If you find yourself on one of these beaches and don’t feel like driving all the way to the North Shore, you might be able to see the famous green sea turtles right at your favorite beach. Again, it’s not guaranteed, but you might get lucky and see some.
Here is the list of additional places to see turtles on Oahu:
Aweoweo Beach Park
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Aweoweo Beach Park is one of our favorite beaches on Oahu. Multiple people have said that Turtles are almost guaranteed at this beach.
Sharks Cove on the North Shore of Oahu is another popular place to snorkel, but it’s also known for spotting turtles too!
Located on the windward side of Oahu, Hanauma Bay is one of the best places to snorkel in Oahu. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Here you can actually swim with the turtles; just remember to keep your distance and respect the honu (turtles).
Electric Beach (Kahe Point Beach Park)
Located on the Leeward side, Electric Beach is much less crowded than Hanauma Bay and Turtle Beach, but it’s an excellent spot for snorkeling.
Paradise Cove Beach
Paradise Cove Beach is located on the windward side of Oahu. This beach is also less crowded than the others mentioned in this article.
Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach
If you are already here (which many people will most likely be due to the popularity of the beaches), you might get lucky and spot one of these magnificent creatures.
What Else Can You Do Close to Laniakea Beach?
There are many things to do on the North Shore besides seeing sea turtles. From visiting fascinating beaches to eating some of the best foods on the island, the options are endless.
Here is a list of some of our favorite activities to do on the North Shore. All these activities are not too far from Turtle Beach, so why not add them to your activity list if you are already in the area?
Visit Turtle Bay Beach
Turtle Bay Resort is home to the famous Turtle Bay Beach, one of the best beaches on the North Shore of Oahu.
Not to be confused with Laniakea Beach, this is a good beach not too far from Laniakea Beach. Turtle Bay Beach is a great place to see sea turtles, and it’s also an excellent beach for swimming and relaxing on the beach.
See Also: 15 Best Beaches in Oahu You Should Visit
Go to Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is located in the famous North Shore surfing area. There are tons of things you can do here, including watching surfers ride some of Hawaii’s biggest waves and watching one of Oahu’s best sunsets.
Spend Some Time in the Historic Haleiwa Town
Haleiwa is a great historic town and one of the most popular destinations on Oahu’s North Shore. There are great places to eat, relax, or grab a souvenir.
Eat at Some of Oahu’s Best Food Trucks on the North Shore
Visit Waimea Bay and Waimea Falls
Waimea Bay is one of the most spectacular beaches on Oahu’s North Shore. It is famous for its large waves that host surfers riding every winter season.
If you are visiting in the summer months and want to cliff jump, Waimea Bay is an excellent place.
Waimea Falls is located across the street from Waimea Beach. Be sure to stop by to check out the waterfall; if you are up for it, you can swim in the waterfall pool.
Hike the Ehukai Pillbox Hike
The Ehukai Pillbox Trail is one of the best hikes on the North Shore of Oahu, as well as one of the easiest hikes in Oahu. Be sure to check it out if you want some additional exercise after admiring turtles at the beach.
Go to the Dole Plantation
The Dole Plantation is a great place to learn about pineapple history, tour the plantation and eat some delicious pineapple food (just like all of Hawaii).
It’s not far from Turtle Beach, so why not stop by the next time you are close to the area?
Restaurants Near Laniakea Beach
There are multiple restaurants to choose from near Laniakea Beach. We recommend going to one of the many food trucks in the area.
Kahuku Food Trucks has a lot of options. Also, Haleiwa Town is only a few miles away and offers plenty of restaurants to choose from, plus some fantastic food truck options.
Our favorite restaurants are:
The Sunrise Shack
This restaurant is known for its vegan, gluten-free smoothie bowls, bulletproof coffee, and fresh cold-pressed juices.
Everything they use is locally-grown and organic. They also offer unusual superfood ingredients, like spirulina and matcha, to give their bowls spectacular green and blue tints.
Haleiwa Bowls offers acai bowls made from only locally-sourced organic ingredients.
Each bowl comes with the standard toppings of fresh coconut flakes, homemade granola, honey, and Hawaii’s famous apple bananas. You can, however, choose your own toppings for an additional cost.
Kono’s is known to prepare quality local cuisine with a modern and creative take.
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Matsumoto Shave Ice is Oahu’s most famous shave ice spot. They are known for their fantastic shave ice flavors that range from traditional to more creative ones, like coconut and lime green tea. This spot is great for a mid-day sweet treat!
The Wrap Up
As you can see, Turtle Beach (Laniakea Beach) is one of the best places in Oahu to see turtles.
However, remember that this isn’t the only place on Oahu to see turtles. There are tons of other beaches you can check out to spot these majestic creatures, such as Sharks Cove, Hanauma Bay, Lanikai and Kailua Beaches, and many more.
The next time you are on Oahu, make sure to check out Turtle Beach and all the other places we mentioned in this article!
Mahalo for stopping by! Until next time, Aloha, and happy turtle-sighting in Oahu!