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Where to find sea turtles on the Big Island
If you’re looking for the best place to see sea turtles on the Big Island, you’re in the right place. Here are 6 locations to find sea turtles when you’re visiting the Big Island. If you want more Big Island travel tips, maybe sure to read to the bottom of the post where I’ll link more Hawaii Island blog posts.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles
There are so many fantastic marine species in Hawaii, including the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, or Honu. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are listed as both a threatened and endangered species.
It’s illegal to be closer than 10 feet away from a sea turtle, so make sure to keep your distance. Not only is it illegal, but it’s just wrong to bother or harass these beautiful creatures.
It’s their home, and you are a guest, so try to keep that in mind. As long as you know the rules and respect the wildlife, you’ll have a great time viewing sea turtles on the Big Island!
Where to find sea turtles in Hawaii
Most of these locations are within easy access of the Kona and Kohala area, where most guests of the Big Island stay. You’ll need a rental car to visit most of the locations, depending on where you’ll staying. As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I always recommend a rental car on the Big Island. You can read why I recommend a rental car here, or check out my favorite Big Island Resorts. Now, let’s get to it. Here’s where to find sea turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kiholo Bay is one of the best places to see sea turtles on the Big Island. Located about 30 minutes north of Kona, it’s not as easy to access as some of the other locations it is is worth it.
Kahalu’u Beach Park
Located just south of Kona, Kahalu’u is a great place to spot sea turtles. It’s also an excellent spot for beginner snorkelers. Just remember to keep your distance from the wildlife.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
Punalu’u is the most popular black sand beach on the island, and arguably the most beautiful. Its easy access makes this beach very popular, and it’s also very popular for turtles! You will almost always see sea turtles sunning themselves on the warm sand or swimming in the shallow water.
Punalu’u is about an hour and a half from Kona and a great place to stop on the way to or from Hawaii Volcanos National Park. Check out my Guide to Volcanoes National Park to plan your visit!
Kekaha Kai Beach Park
Kekaha Kai Beach Park is my favorite beach on the Big Island. Although it’s just north of the airport, it’s not as busy as some of the other beaches due to the drive to the beach. The road is a bit rough, but you can make it in a car if you drive slowly.
I’ve spotted sea turtles many times at Kekaha Kai, making it one of my top recommendations for where to find sea turtles on the Big Island.
Anaeho’omalu Bay is located about 30 minutes north of Kona. Make sure to check out Lava Lava Beach Club, especially if you’re visiting during Happy Hour! You can also check out more of the best happy hours in Kona here.
Honaunau Bay, also known as Two-Step, is one of the best places to snorkel on the Big Island. It’s also an excellent place for spotting sea turtles! Honaunau Bay is about 20 minutes south of Kona. Make sure to bring your snorkel gear if you love to snorkel. While you’re in the area, check out the ancient City of Refuge located right next to Two-Step.
Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park aka the City of Refuge.
The best place to see sea turtles on the Big Island
I hope that this list of where to find sea turtles on the Big Island helps you spot some turtles on your next Hawaii island vacation. If you’re looking for more Big Island travel tips, check out more of my Big Island posts below.
- 7-day Big Island Itinerary
- The best restaurants on the Big Island
- 7 Best Big Island resorts
- The 7 Best Things to do on the Big Island
- 25 best things to do in Kona
- 100 things to do in Hawaii
- Best Happy Hours in Kona
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- The questions you’re afraid to ask about Hawaii
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Make sure to contact me or go ahead and fill out a custom travel request, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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We’re getting ready for a Hawaiian vacation in Sept. 2021. We have friends that live on the Big Island and we’re planning a month long stay. Hawaii is my 50th state and I’m so excited to finally be checking it off my bucket list! Your blogs are extremely helpful! We are getting a rental car but how far in advance should we get one. Prices are so high here in the states right now. How far in advance would you recommend?
Hi Bonnie. Thanks for the kind words!! I would go ahead and reserve a car now. If you use Discount Hawaii Car Rental (https://www.amyfillinger.com/discounthawaiicarrental) you don’t pay upfront and can cancel and re-book if the price goes down!