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Best Beach To See Sea Turtles On The Big Island

If you’re dreaming of spotting sea turtles in their natural habitat while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, you’re in for a treat! In this guide, we’ll explore the best beach to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal. So, grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in to uncover the ultimate sea turtle hotspot!

When it comes to encountering sea turtles on the Big Island, one beach stands out above the rest. Drumroll, please… It’s the famous Punalu’u Beach! This stunning black sand beach is not only a haven for swimmers and sunbathers but also a prime location to spot these gentle marine reptiles in action.

Punalu’u Beach’s unique black sand, formed from volcanic activity, is a magnet for sea turtles seeking a safe haven. As you stroll along the shoreline, keep your eyes peeled for the telltale signs of turtle activity, such as their distinctive tracks in the sand. But be careful not to disturb them – remember, we’re just visiting their home!

So, get ready to embark on an exciting turtle-watching adventure at Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island. This beach offers not only incredible natural beauty but also the chance to witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Join us as we uncover fascinating facts about sea turtles and the best practices for observing them responsibly. Let’s dive right in!

best beach to see sea turtles on the big islandSource: bigislandguide.com

The Best Beaches to See Sea Turtles on the Big Island:

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its stunning beaches and diverse marine life, including sea turtles. As an ocean lover, you may be wondering which beaches provide the best opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. In this article, we will explore the top beaches on the Big Island to see sea turtles and delve into the unique characteristics of each location. So grab your snorkel gear and get ready for an unforgettable turtle encounter!

Kahalu’u Beach Park:

Kahalu’u Beach Park, located in Kona, is a beloved spot amongst locals and visitors alike for encountering sea turtles. This beach is known for its pristine, turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, making it an ideal habitat for these magnificent creatures. The calm waters at Kahalu’u Beach Park are perfect for snorkeling, providing an up-close and personal experience with the turtles. Keep a respectful distance and observe these gentle creatures as they gracefully glide through the water.

In addition to sea turtles, Kahalu’u Beach Park boasts an impressive variety of marine life. You may encounter colorful tropical fish, vibrant corals, and even spinner dolphins during your visit. The park offers convenient amenities such as restrooms, picnic areas, and ample parking, making it a popular destination for families and snorkel enthusiasts.

Pro Tip: To maximize your chances of spotting sea turtles, plan your visit during early morning hours when the water is calm and visibility is at its best. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear, reef-safe sunscreen, and plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your beach adventure!

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach:

When it comes to unique and picturesque beaches, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach takes the spotlight. Located on the southeastern coast of the Big Island, this beach offers a memorable experience with both black sand and sea turtles. The stunning contrast between the ebony sands and the turquoise waters creates a striking scenery that is truly one-of-a-kind.

At Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, you can spot sea turtles basking on the warm sand or swimming close to the shore. It’s essential to keep a respectful distance and refrain from touching or disturbing the turtles, as they are protected by law and their well-being should always be a top priority. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, admire the unique volcanic rock formations, and enjoy the tranquility of this remarkable destination.

Pro Tip: Remember to pack a camera to capture the breathtaking beauty of Punalu’u Black Sand Beach and the sea turtles. But be sure to never use flash photography as it can harm the turtles and other marine life.

Laniakea Beach:

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Laniakea Beach is another must-visit destination for sea turtle enthusiasts. This beach is known as Turtle Beach due to its high number of turtle sightings. Laniakea Beach is not technically on the Big Island, but it is easily accessible by a short flight from the Big Island or by ferry.

As you arrive at Laniakea Beach, you’ll likely notice a crowd of people gathered near the shore, eagerly observing the sea turtles. It’s essential to maintain a respectful distance and follow the guidelines provided by local volunteers to ensure the safety and well-being of the turtles. The volunteers play a crucial role in educating visitors about sea turtles and their conservation efforts.

Pro Tip: Before visiting Laniakea Beach, check the local turtle monitoring programs or talk to beach volunteers to ensure you are aware of any specific rules or regulations for interacting with these beautiful creatures. Remember, it’s our responsibility to protect and preserve their natural habitat.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area:

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is renowned for its wide sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, making it a fantastic spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, and of course, encountering sea turtles. Located on the northwestern coast of the Big Island, this beach offers excellent visibility and calm waters, providing the perfect conditions for observing marine life.

While swimming or snorkeling at Hapuna Beach, keep an eye out for sea turtles gracefully swimming beneath the surface. Remember to give these gentle creatures plenty of space and avoid touching or disturbing them. Appreciate their beauty from a distance and let them continue their journey undisturbed.

Pro Tip: Hapuna Beach can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. Arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to secure a prime spot and increase your chances of having a peaceful encounter with the sea turtles.

Ka’anapali Beach:

Ka’anapali Beach, located on the northwest coast of the Big Island, is famous for its golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and world-class resorts. This stunning beach is not only a popular vacation destination but also a fantastic spot for spotting sea turtles in their natural habitat.

Grab your snorkel gear and explore the waters of Ka’anapali Beach, where you’ll have a chance to encounter sea turtles swimming gracefully amidst the vibrant coral reefs. Keep in mind that these turtles are protected by law, and it’s crucial to maintain a respectful distance to avoid causing them any distress.

Pro Tip: If you prefer a more secluded experience, visit Ka’anapali Beach during the early morning hours or in the late afternoon. This way, you can enjoy the beach at its most serene moments and potentially have a closer encounter with the sea turtles.

Mauna Kea Beach:

Mauna Kea Beach, located along the Kohala Coast, is often referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. This stunning white sand beach is not only picturesque but also offers opportunities for encounters with sea turtles and various marine life.

While the calm azure waters of Mauna Kea Beach may beckon you for a refreshing swim, keep an eye out for sea turtles gracefully gliding through the water. Respect their space and allow these magnificent creatures to continue their peaceful journey undisturbed. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Mauna Kea Beach while keeping in mind the importance of conservation and responsible tourism.

Pro Tip: Mauna Kea Beach can have strong currents at times, so it’s essential to assess the conditions before entering the water. If you’re not confident in your swimming abilities, it’s best to enjoy the beach from the shore and admire the sea turtles from a safe distance.

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The Importance of Protecting Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are not only fascinating creatures but also play a vital role in maintaining the health and balance of marine ecosystems. They contribute to the wellbeing of coral reefs by grazing on seagrass beds, which prevents the overgrowth of algae and ensures the survival of other marine species. However, sea turtles face numerous threats, including habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, and illegal poaching. It is essential for us to take collective action to protect these majestic creatures and their fragile habitats.

Tips for Responsible Sea Turtle Encounters

When visiting the beaches of the Big Island to see sea turtles, it’s crucial to prioritize their well-being and practice responsible tourism. Here are a few tips to ensure a safe and respectful encounter:

  1. Observe from a distance: Maintain a respectful distance of at least 10 feet from sea turtles both on land and in the water.
  2. No touching or disturbing turtles: Touching sea turtles can cause stress and harm to them. Always keep a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural behavior.
  3. No flash photography: Using flash photography can disorient and distress sea turtles. Respect their natural habitat by refraining from using flash or any bright lights.
  4. Respect signs and guidelines: Follow any posted signs or guidelines provided by local authorities or volunteers. They are there to ensure the well-being of the turtles and their environments.
  5. Dispose of trash properly: Never leave trash behind on the beach or in the water. Marine debris can be harmful to sea turtles and other marine life.
  6. Spread awareness: Share your knowledge and enthusiasm for sea turtle conservation with others, and encourage responsible behavior when visiting their habitats.

The Role of Conservation Efforts

Conservation organizations and volunteers play a crucial role in protecting sea turtles and their habitats. Through research, education, and community involvement, these initiatives aim to raise awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation and implement effective strategies to safeguard their populations. By supporting or getting involved in these efforts, we can contribute to the preservation of these beautiful creatures and ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.


Witnessing sea turtles in their natural habitat is a truly awe-inspiring experience that allows us to connect with the beauty of the ocean and the importance of its conservation. The Big Island of Hawaii offers a variety of beaches where you can observe these gentle giants, from Kahalu’u Beach Park in Kona to the unique black sands of Punalu’u Beach. Remember to always prioritize the well-being of the sea turtles by observing from a distance, avoiding any disturbance, and following responsible tourism practices. By doing so, we can enjoy these incredible creatures while ensuring their continued presence in our oceans.

Best Beach to See Sea Turtles on the Big Island

  • Hapuna Beach is one of the best beaches to see sea turtles on the Big Island.
  • Kahaluu Beach Park is another great spot to observe sea turtles in their natural habitat.
  • Punaluu Black Sand Beach is known for its black sand and the frequent turtle sightings.
  • Keauhou Bay is a popular location for snorkeling with sea turtles.
  • Kiholo Bay is a secluded beach where you can often spot sea turtles swimming close to the shore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for the best beach to spot sea turtles on the Big Island? Look no further! Here are some commonly asked questions about finding the perfect spot.

1. Where can I find the best beach to see sea turtles on the Big Island?

The Big Island offers several beautiful beaches where you can spot sea turtles. One popular beach is Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, located on the North Shore. Another great option is Punalu’u Beach, famous for its black sand and resident sea turtles. Both of these beaches provide great opportunities for turtle sightings.

When visiting these beaches, it’s important to remember that sea turtles are protected species. It is illegal to touch or disturb them in any way. Be sure to keep a safe distance and observe these magnificent creatures from afar.

2. What time of day is best for seeing sea turtles on the Big Island?

Sea turtles are most active during the daytime, so your best chances of spotting them are between morning and early afternoon. It’s a good idea to arrive at the beach early in the day when they are most active and searching for food.

Keep in mind that turtles may also come ashore during the evening hours, especially during nesting season. If you’re looking to witness this incredible event, be prepared for a late-night or early-morning beach visit.

3. Can I snorkel with sea turtles on the Big Island?

Snorkeling with sea turtles is a popular activity on the Big Island. One of the best spots for this is Kahaluu Beach Park, located south of Kailua-Kona. The calm, clear waters of this beach offer great visibility for snorkelers, and it’s common to see sea turtles gracefully swimming by.

Remember to respect the sea turtles’ space while snorkeling. Keeping a safe distance and avoiding touching or chasing them ensures a peaceful encounter for both you and the turtles.

4. What precautions should I take when visiting beaches with sea turtles?

When visiting beaches with sea turtles on the Big Island, it’s important to follow a few guidelines to protect these endangered creatures. Firstly, never touch or approach a sea turtle, as it is against the law and can disturb their natural behavior.

Additionally, be mindful of your surroundings and avoid standing or lying on the turtles’ nesting areas. Keep the beach clean by picking up any trash or litter, as it can harm the turtles and their habitats. Lastly, always obey any posted signs or regulations specific to the beach you’re visiting.

5. Can I volunteer to help protect sea turtles on the Big Island?

Yes, you can get involved in protecting sea turtles on the Big Island by volunteering with local organizations or research projects dedicated to their conservation. These organizations often offer educational programs and opportunities to join beach clean-ups or nesting surveys.

Reach out to the Sea Turtle Recovery Program or other environmental groups on the island to find out how you can make a difference. Volunteering not only allows you to contribute to the well-being of sea turtles but also provides a unique and rewarding experience in the beautiful surroundings of the Big Island.


Are you excited about seeing sea turtles on your trip to the Big Island? Here are the top three beaches where you have the best chances of spotting these incredible creatures. Punalu’u Beach, with its black sand, is home to a large population of green sea turtles. If you’re looking for a unique experience, head to Mauna Lani Bay, where you can snorkel with sea turtles in calm waters. And don’t forget about Hapuna Beach, known for its stunning sunsets and occasional turtle appearances. So pack your sunscreen and get ready for a turtle-tastic adventure!

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