The 15 Best Places to See and Swim With Turtles in Maui

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Written by Nina Phillips

Published: May 15, 2024

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Curious where the perfect places to see and swim with sea turtles in Maui are? There are many places where you can find local sea turtles in Maui. While you can find all sorts of turtles, Honu, or Hawaiian green sea turtles are the most common ones you’ll find swimming around.

When you swim with turtles, you can find many of them in the water during the day. However, if you want a chance to stumble across some lounging on the beach, then sunset is the best time.

There are some places better than others when it comes to meeting a cute little sea turtle, but almost every beach and reef in Hawaii offers a chance of stumbling into these creatures Take your time, be quiet and calm, look carefully and you’ll be sure to spot one during your visit.

Of course, if you want to be sure, you can’t go wrong with one of these 15 spots. Keep reading to find out which places in Maui are the best to visit so you can plan your trip around them.

1. Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay - Maui, Hawaii

The reefs, inlets, and sandy beaches are all prime places for sea turtles to explore.

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Kapalua is in the northwest part of Maui. It’s a very popular destination for tourists as there are many places to explore and try out. It’s also an amazing place to find sea turtles.

2. Makena Landing

This island is fairly sparse, as it’s not as popular as other islands.

©dronepicr / CC BY 2.0 - Original / License

Makena is south of Kihei and Wailea. This area is often quiet and peaceful, perfect for stumbling across a sea turtle or two.

3. Turtle Town

Though it’s called a town, this area is just the space around the southern coast of Kihei and Makena.

©Structured Vision/Shutterstock.com

With a name like Turtle Town, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best places to snorkel with turtles. Plenty of tours and boats will take you to the hottest turtle destinations.

4. Ho’okipa Bay

The night is the best time to explore Ho’okipa Bay, as many turtles will be grouped together at sunset.

©iStock.com/EAGiven

Ho’okipa, on the north shore of Maui, is another popular place for sea turtles. They enjoy taking some much-needed rest and relaxation on the beaches.

5. Olowalu Reef

Some reefs require more skills than others to visit, but Olowalu is relatively calm and mild.

©iStock.com/photographywest

Olowalu Reef is part of Lahaina. It’s a popular destination for snorkelers because the shallow water and lack of wind make it a calm place for any swimmer to visit.

6. Keawakapu Beach

Waves Washing Over Lava Boulders on Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA

There is a lot of open water around Keawakapu Beach to explore.

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Keawakapu Beach offers natural protection from predators, warm water, and plenty of food for sea turtles. This is a small 0.7-mile white sand beach at the end of South Kihei Road at the beginning of Wailea.

7. Maluaka Beach

Maluaka beach

This beach is just a little south of Wailea.

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Maluaka Beach is actually a subset of Turtle Town. It’s the most popular part of the Turtle Town area because of its calm blue water and sparkling white sand.

8. Honolua Bay

Summer is the best time to visit Honolua Bay if you want to see cute sea turtles. That’s when the water is often clearest.

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While there are plenty of turtles here, the surf sometimes makes for poor visibility. But if you get a clear day, you can see turtles and many other wild animals.

9. Ulua Beach

Green sea turtle swimming in shallow waters

Reefs are great areas to find and swim with sea turtles.

©iStock.com/Greg Sullavan

Hidden between condos and hotels, Ulua Beach is a hidden gem. It’s the perfect place to hand out with plenty of space and a reef or snorkeling. It’s even got trees for when you need a bit of shade.

10. Wailea

This is a beautiful beach, and you may even stumble across a few turtles while exploring.

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The sandy beaches of Wailea are another ideal spot for sea turtles to land for the evening.

11. Kihei

These rocky and sandy beaches are great places to find turtles. Just look closely, because they may blend in with the rocks.

©Michael Oswald / Public Domain - Original / License

Like Wailea Beach, Kihei is another popular destination. Several of the beaches here are hotspots for turtles.

12. Kaanapali

You will often find turtles more along the rocks than the pristine beaches above. They prefer to eat algae off of the rocks where it’s quieter.

©Eva Browning/Shutterstock.com

If you want to see turtles without swimming, Kaanapali is a great place to start looking for them. The coastline of Kaanapali is rocky, and home to many turtles. Sometimes they’re hard to find, but it’s common to see dozens resting on the rocks.

13. Lanai

Lanai used to be popular with tourists, but now it’s a great snorkeling spot.

©Frederick Millett/Shutterstock.com

Lanai is an island about a half-hour by boat from Lahaina, Maui. There are plenty of snorkel spots to choose from.

14. Molokini Crater

Molokini

is close to the harbors, making for a short trip to go and see sea turtles.

©Bluewater Photographer/Shutterstock.com

Molokini Crater isn’t a secret destination. In fact, it’s one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in all of Hawaii because of its visibility and diverse marine life.

15. Lahaina

This is a sight you may see often when snorkeling in Lahaina.

©Bryce Potter/Shutterstock.com

Lahaina is another popular snorkeling destination. It’s common to find green sea turtles along the reefs and swimming in the water while you’re snorkeling.


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About the Author

Nina is a writer at A-Z Animals, FIDIS Travel, and Giant Freakin Robot. Her focus is on wildlife, national parks, and the environment. She has been writing about animals for over three years. Nina holds a Bachelor's in Conservation Biology, which she uses when talking about animals and their natural habitats. In her free time, Nina also enjoys working on writing her novels and short stories. As a resident of Colorado, Nina enjoys getting out in nature, traveling, and watching snow hit the mountains from her enclosed porch.

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