Sea Turtle
The Turtle Bay turtle icon

Ultimate Guide to Sea Turtles in Hawaiʻi

When you hear our resort name, you assume turtles (honu) are here - and you're right! Check out our guide on Hawaiian sea turtles, including where to see and swim with sea turtles, turtle nesting season in Oʻahu, and more.

A woman snorkling near a sea turtle

About Our Local Sea Turtles

The two types of sea turtles most spotted at Turtle Bay Resort are green sea turtles (honu) and Hawksbill sea turtles (honuʻea). Turtle nesting season in Hawaii is typically mid-April through early October, but can sometimes extend into December. And you're probably wondering when the sea turtles hatch? After about two months in their nests, hatchlings will emerge.

Sea Turtle Etiquette

Before we share where to see sea turtles in Hawaiʻi, make sure to review these guidelines on how to act around our friendly endangered species.

  1. Keep your distance. Stay at least 15 feet away from honu and honuʻea, and don’t block their access to or from the ocean.
  2. No touching! It is illegal to touch sea turtles.
  3. Don’t harass the sea turtles. Don't chase them, swim directly at them, make loud noises in their presence, or feed them.
  4. Do not use flash photography. When snapping photos, make sure flash is off. We recommend using a GoPro - which you can rent here at Turtle Bay's Surf House for free.

Close up of a sea turtle swimming under water

Where To See Sea Turtles at Turtle Bay Resort and Around O‘ahu

There are three main locations on the property to spot honu and honuʻea, plus a few places around the North Shore and driving distance from Turtle Bay.

Kuilima Cove

A man snorkling near a sea turtle

Photo: Zachary Delacruz

Honu are often spotted in this cove located right next to the resort's main building. Grab your snorkel set and explore! (Masks are available for rent or purchase at the resort.) Make sure to check in with our beach staff for current weather and water conditions before you dive in.

Stables Beach

A sea turtle sunbathing on the beach

Our local sea turtles are known to enjoy napping on the warm sand and basking in the sun at Stables Beach, the shoreline between our resort and our horse stables. Be sure to say “howdy” to our horse friends while you're there, too.

Kawela Bay

A woman in a kayak near a sea turtle

Located about a mile from the resort's main building, Kawela Bay is home to dozens of sea turtles. Book a Turtle Kayak tour and spot turtles in their natural habitats. 

Shark's Cove

A woman snorkling near a sea turtle in coral reef

Photo: Zachary Delacruz

14-minute drive from Turtle Bay Resort. Despite its name, you’re more likely to see more sea turtles and fish, rather than sharks. Shark’s Cove is a Marine Life Conservation District and marine life flourishes here - which makes it a great place to snorkel and explore tidepools during the summer months.

Haleiwa Aliʻi Beach Park

A sea turtle swimming under water

Photo: John Starrett

22-minute drive from Turtle Bay Resort. Aliʻi Beach Park is located in the historic Haleiwa town, and probably one of the best places to check out sea turtles, besides Turtle Bay Resort. The shallow water and reefs close to the shore showcase the sea creatures feeding on seaweed and coming up for air. (Or simply napping on the shore.)

Electric Beach

The silhouette of a sea turtle swimming in the ocean

60-minute drive from Turtle Bay Resort. Located on the west side of Oʻahu, the official name of this beach is actually Kahe Point - but locals know it by its nickname, Electric Beach. The beach is next to an electric power plant, which warms the water and attracts plenty of marine life, including turtles and spinner dolphins.

Waikiki Beach

A sea turtle swimming in the ocean

70-minute drive from Turtle Bay Resort. We recommend bringing your swimsuit and snorkeling gear when you visit the world-famous Waikiki - you'll want to dive right into the shore to spot sea turtles.