Best Beaches to See Sea Turtles at on the Big Island of Hawaii

By May 24, 2024About Hawaii, Beaches

Hawaii is one of the most popular locations in the world for sea turtles, or as they call them in Hawaii honu’s.  It is not known why Hawaii is a popular place for them.  Many speculate it has to do with their diet or preferred habitat.  Many of the largest sea turtles in the world have been recorded in Hawaii or off the shores of Hawaii with some reaching up to 4 feet in length.  On the Big Island of Hawaii you can find them at almost any beach, but there are a few beaches they seem to prefer and you are most likely to see them ashore.

Mauna Lani Bay

If you spend a day at Mauna Lani Bay you are highly likely to see a sea turtle.  For years, the Mauna Lani hotel raised sea turtles and then on July 4th they would have “Turtle Independence Day” where the turtles were released into the ocean.  Given that they were raised at Mauna Lani and released there, many choose to stay within those waters or even if they leave they come back.  If you are staying at Mauna Lani at places like the Mauna Lani Terrace, waking up in the morning and taking a walk in the beach is a great time to see them.  This is also a great time to snorkel once you adapt to the water being a little colder.

A’Bay at Waikoloa Beach Resort

The waters of the bay at Waikoloa Beach Resort seem to also be a popular place for sea turtles.  The popularity seems to be diminishing to an extent over the course of the last decade, but it is still a very popular place.  The decrease could be due to catamaran traffic and/or just more public use.  You are most likely to find them on the quieter, more south side of the bay.  If you are staying at Waikoloa Beach Resort at places such as Kolea, waking up early in the morning and taking a walk on the beach is a great time to see them.


49 Black Sand Beach at Mauna Lani Resort

49 Black Sand Beach is a secluded beach in the Mauna Lani Resort.  Given that it is secluded and not far from Mauna Lani Bay it makes sense that they choose to come ashore here.  It has also been noted that they seem to love the black sand.  Given that it is a bay, it is a good place to snorkel and see them in the waters just off the beach.

honu 49 black sand beach mauna lani

***Just as a note, in Hawaii it is illegal to touch or disturb sea turtles in the water or ashore.