Where To See Sea Turtles in Kauai: 6 Spots Locals Love

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No trip to the Hawaiian islands would be complete without spotting some turtles in the wild. In Hawaiian culture, sea turtles, or honu, are thought to symbolize good luck. Though many different types of sea and land turtles are native to Hawaii, you may have to be intentional with your destinations to ensure a turtle sighting.

Can You See Sea Turtles in Kauai?

You’re visiting Kauai — congratulations! You’re really in for a treat. This stunningly beautiful island has so much to offer its visitors, including white-sand beaches, gentle turquoise waves, and rich local culture awaiting you at the island’s many establishments for food, drink, and entertainment.

There’s no question that you’ll have a fantastic time during your trip to this island, but can you see sea turtles in Kauai? The answer is yes! Sea turtles are commonly spotted in several locations on Kauai, and the island is home to multiple species. If you’re scouring the shores for sea turtles, Kauai is known for three specific varieties: the Hawksbill turtle, the Leatherback turtle, and the Hawaiian Green Sea turtle.

Looking for the best place to see sea turtles in Kauai? You’re in luck! There are multiple spots along the island where sea turtle sightings are a daily occurrence. Take a look at this list of where to see turtles in Kauai so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Where to See Turtles in Kauai: 6 Best Places

1. Poipu Beach

Located on the south shore of Kauai, Poipu Beach is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. By day, the beach is packed with visitors enjoying the waves. By night, sea turtles come up to the beach by the dozens to rest for the night.

The best time to spot Poipu Beach turtles is to visit around sunset and just after. You’ll be able to spot lots of turtles climbing along the shore. Make sure to follow the directions of the volunteers who watch over the turtles on Poipu Beach, as they’ll be informing beachgoers to stay an appropriate distance. You won’t regret staying late to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Kauai turtles at Poipu Beach in the moonlight.

2. Brennecke’s Beach

Brennecke's Beach is close to Poipu Beach on the southern edge of Kauai. This beach is a perfect destination for swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding, but it’s also a well-known place to spot sea turtles. It’s common for swimmers to see a sea turtle nearby while splashing in the water!

Though many visitors to Brennecke’s Beach see turtles near them during the day, the best time to spot these remarkable creatures is at dusk or just after nightfall.

3. Lawai Beach

Lawai Beach may not be the best option for swimming or surfing, thanks to its rocky shores (although some areas have long stretches of clear sand). However, there’s no doubt that this beach is a great place to spot turtles in Kauai.

Visitors commonly spot the beautiful sea turtles Kauai is known for lounging on the many large rocks that dot the shoreline. Diners at the oceanside eatery on Lawai Beach and Beach House Restaurant often report seeing sea turtles in the water or on the rocks right in front of the establishment.

4. Anini Beach

As you’re figuring out where to see turtles in Kauai, don’t overlook Anini Beach on the island’s north shore. This area is quieter than some of Kauai’s more populated beaches, so it’s the perfect place to spot some sea turtles while enjoying a laid-back beach day.

Anini Beach is also unique for its specific attraction to sea turtles. They come to this beach so that the local fish can help clean algae off their shells, which is why Anini Beach is known around the area as a “turtle cleaning station.” Hawksbill turtles, one of the rarest sea turtle species, can be seen around Anini Beach.

5. Turtle Cove

Another lesser-known Kauai turtle beach on the island’s north shore is Turtle Cove. Inside Turtle Cove, Kauai sea turtles are on full display along the sand, where they often come to rest or eat.

This hidden area is located near Queen’s Bath, another popular cove along the island's north side. For many years, locals considered Turtle Cove to be the best place on Kauai to spot sea turtles.

6. Sheraton Caverns

If you’re passionate about scuba and want to spot sea turtles during your dive, book an excursion at Sheraton Caverns. This popular scuba diving site is located on the island's south side and is a great place to swim with the turtles.

Keep in mind that you must be prepared to scuba dive if you’re visiting Sheraton Caverns. Casual swimming is not allowed in this area.

Tips for Spotting Sea Turtles in Kauai

Knowing where to see turtles in Kauai is the first step to a memorable nature experience. However, there are a few ways to increase your likelihood of spotting the cherished Honu.

  • Be Aware of Nesting Season:   Starting around mid-April and usually ending in October, the nesting season takes place throughout the summer, and you are much more likely to spot sea turtles during these months.
  • Choose Your Location Wisely:   There will be many more turtles around to spot if you’re scuba diving or visiting quiet beaches rather than swimming or wading in crowded waters.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Sea turtle sightings are much more likely in less-traveled areas, and you’ll need a reliable rental car to get there. Plan an affordable trip to the island of Kauai with help from Discount Hawaii Car Rental.

With our Kauai car rentals, you’ll experience the unforgettable beauty of Kauai and all its unique wildlife while saving money along the way! Learn more by exploring our car rentals!