Guide to Laniakea Beach, Turtle Beach Oahu: See Turtles in Hawaii

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One of the most popular attractions and activities when visiting Hawaii is to see the famous sea turtles in the area. Oahu is one of the places to do just that; plenty of visitors have this on their itinerary when visiting the North Shore, with Laniakea Beach in mind.

What Is The Best Place To See Turtles On Oahu?

If you’re looking for a place to see beautiful sea turtles in Hawaii, Laniakea Beach is the popular place to go. In fact, Laniakea is known as Turtle Beach simply because it’s one of the top Hawaiian landmarks to see the green sea turtles in Hawaii.

Laniakea means “immense heaven” in Hawaiian, and it’s easy to see why this beach was named after its stunning view.

Laniakea is on the North Shore of Oahu, and it’s a beautiful sandy beach with clear water. It’s good for sunbathing, surfing and snorkeling. And of course, it’s an ideal place to see turtles.

Here are some information on how to get to Laniakea Beach, what you can expect when you visit, and tips on how to spot turtles while you’re there.

Turtle sighting is the most popular activity at Laniakea Beach

What Are The Chances Of Seeing Turtles At Laniakea Beach?

Turtles are known to like to come ashore at Laniakea beach to soak in the sun and rest while digesting their food. The area is also surrounded by rocks and corals which are some of their favorite environment.

However, despite all the hype, there is no guarantee that you will always be able to see the turtles come on land here. They are ultimately wild creatures that can have unpredictable behavior.

If you are lucky, you will see them resting on the sandy beach. Sometimes you might just be able to spot them swimming in water. Other times, none at all. However, there are a few things you can take note of to have a higher chance of seeing these adorable creatures.

When Can You See Turtles At Laniakea Beach?

If you want to get a good chance of seeing turtles on your visit to Laniakea Beach, there are a few things to know and you can do.

Best Season To Visit To See Turtles At Laniakea Beach

Summer is the best season to see the green sea turtles come on land. The ocean is calmer and the weather is also warmer, thus more tempting for the turtle to surface and bask in the sun. May to August is the best time to visit if you want to see the turtles.

That said, winter offers the lowest chance of seeing turtles on Laniakea beach because the weather is colder and the waves are much stronger. Similar to humans, it is not particularly enticing for the turtles to hit the beach.

Best Time Of The Day To See Turtles At Laniakea Beach

On an individual day, the best time to see the turtles come on to Laniakea Beach is at mid-day when the sun is the hottest. Times between 11 am to 2 pm are popular timing to visit as the turtles come up to enjoy the warmth and sun.

However, prepare for having a crowd there, because everyone wants to come see these iconic green sea turtles at Laniakea Beach.

Another timing that is said to be pretty good for turtle sightings is just before sunset. There is usually a smaller crowd, which makes parking easier, but still offers a good chance of seeing some turtles. The other upside of visiting Laniakea Beach during this time is that the sunset at Laniakea Beach is pretty spectacular as well.

The beaming sun rays hit onto the ocean and beach floor, creating plenty of good opportunities. Even if you don’t see the turtles, you still get to enjoy an amazing sunset.

Sunset is also a good time to visit Laniakea Beach and maybe see some green sea turtles

Rules To Respect When Visiting Laniakea Beach To See Turtles

As Laniakea Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Oahu, Hawaii for turtle sightings, it’s important to be respectful when visiting.

The turtles are wild animals and should not be disturbed. Do not disturb or chase after the turtles. It’s also important to keep a safe distance from them- at least 10 feet away is a good rule to follow. There will usually be volunteers who will put red tapes or ropes to mark off the safe distance.

Do not feed the turtles. The turtles at Laniakea Beach are wild animals and should not be fed. Feeding them human food can disrupt their natural eating habits and also cause them to become reliant on humans for food, which is not good for them.

Do not touch the turtles. Touching them can result in the passing of bacteria from both you to them or them to you. It’s also important to remember that turtles are wild animals and can react aggressively if they feel threatened.

In addition, avoid using flash photography when taking pictures of the turtles. The bright light from the flash can startle them and cause them stress.

It’s going to be crowded and everyone wants their photo of the turtles. Be respectful and observe from a distance. It’s better for the turtles and it’s also more enjoyable for everyone.

How To Get To Laniakea Beach / Turtle Beach

Driving is the most convenient way to get to Laniakea Beach. You can use Google maps to navigate. Laniakea is located on the North Shore of Oahu, between Haleiwa and Turtle Bay.

Most visitors, particularly first-time visitors will likely be staying at Waikiki. The beach is about a 50-minute to an hour drive from Waikiki. It can take longer depending on the traffic, particularly during peak season and mid-day when everyone is trying to visit. Be sure to factor in some buffer time or go early.

What you can also do is stay over in towns near Laniakea Beach, giving you easier access to the beach the next day to see the turtles. This minimizes the traffic factor and is less of a rush.

You could also visit during sunset on the first day, stay over and have a second shot during midday the next day if you did not get lucky the first time. There are holiday houses like Haleiwa Cottage at Haleiwa for a comfy stay.

Is There Parking At Laniakea Beach?

There is a small parking area on the opposite side of the road. However, it is almost always crowded and you can be sure it will be during peak hours. Therefore, you should get there early if you intend to get parking.

Other Amenities At Laniakea Beach

Despite the popularity of Laniakea Beach, there are actually not a lot of amenities available on the beach. In fact, almost none. A few things to note are:

There are no public restrooms here, so be sure to go before you come. Similarly, there are no showers, so you won’t be able to rinse off after swimming.

There are also no restaurants or kiosks at Laniakea Beach, so you’ll have to bring your own food and drinks, and whatever you need. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, hats, and towels. Here is a beach packing checklist for some ideas.

There are also no lifeguards at Laniakea Beach so definitely keep an extra look out for your friends or families, particularly if you visit with kids.


How Long To Spend At Laniakea Beach For Turtles?

Unless you are planning to surf or snorkel, a couple of hours is probably good for spending some time on this beach.

As mentioned, there are not a lot of amenities here, so it will be difficult to stay for an extended period of time. And if you are visiting during the hot afternoon – which is the best time to see turtles, you will get warm pretty fast.

One plan is to arrive an hour early to get yourself set up and find a good spot for turtle sightings, enjoy the beach and turtles for a bit, and then head off after that.

Other Activities At Laniakea Beach

Seeing the turtles is the main reason many people visit Laniakea beach, and it is definitely worth the trip just for that.

Two other popular activities at the turtle beach are surfing and snorkeling. There are usually good waves here that attract experienced surfers. If you don’t surf, it can be fun watching them have a go at the waves.

It is also known for snorkeling, mainly because you might also get a chance to see the turtles in the sea. When the waves are not as strong and the water is clear, there is a good chance of seeing these marine creatures playing in the water. You will also get to see rocks and corals around the area.

If you don’t want to join in this touristic rush of sea turtle sightings at Laniakea Beach, there are snorkeling tours around Hawaii that are a fun way to still get a memorable encounter with these magnificent creatures.

Can you swim in Laniakea Beach?

That said, Laniakea Beach is actually not a particularly good spot for swimming due to the rocks around the area. The tides also tend to be strong here and there are no lifeguards. Therefore, if you plan on swimming, definitely excess extra caution. It is also advisable to wear some water shoes if you want to walk into the ocean, to protect your feet from any rocks.

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Other Places To See Turtles On Oahu

There are several other places in Hawaii where it is possible to see turtles. Some of the popular ones are Kannapali Beach in Maui and Brennecke’s Beach in Kauai. At Big Island, you can potentially check out Punalu’u and Kohala Coast.

If you have no luck in these natural habitats, don’t fret! There are also marine life parks and centers where you can see these beautiful creatures. Visit the Sea Life Park in Oahu or the Ocean center at Maui to see and learn about the turtle species common to Hawaii.

Activities In Hawaii

There are plenty of other activities that you can do to get closer to both nature and marine life in Hawaii. These are some of the things that Hawaii is known for. The region is a haven for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and stand-up paddle boarding.

You can also learn more about the Hawaiian culture through activities such as hula dancing and lei making. There are also traditional luaus that you can attend which offer an authentic Hawaiian dining experience.

Visiting Beaches In Hawaii

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, and Laniakea Beach on Oahu is one of the best places to see turtles in the state. This beach has become a popular tourist destination because of the sea turtles that can often be seen swimming and basking in the sun on the shore. 

If you want to see the turtles in Oahu, a visit to Laniakea Beach should definitely be on your itinerary. However, be sure to also check out some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii to relax, swim, surf, and engage in all sorts of water activities.




Book Your Flight

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Find Your Accommodation is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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