The Best Places To Find Sea Turtles in Maui

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How to Find Sea Turtles in Maui, Hawaii

When I booked my trip to Hawaii, I told myself I wouldn’t leave without finding sea turtles in Maui. Coming from the concrete jungles of New York, this would be a first for me, and honestly, who can resist those cute little heads bobbing out of the water for a quick breath of air?

We had 5 days in Maui, and I was determined to find sea turtles, and now I am sharing that with you!

Sea Turtle in Maui Hawaii
Swim with sea turtles with 5 days in Maui

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Before You Look For Maui Sea Turtles

Before I dig in too deep, please keep in mind to give turtles their space, and not to disturb them while they are resting on the beach or in the water. They recommend not to approach turtles any closer than 20 feet.

If they happen to be swimming toward you just move out of their way and enjoy their beauty. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and it’s illegal to touch or harass them.

By following these rules, we will all be able to enjoy their graceful presence for years to come!

Swimming with Sea Turtles at Kaanapali Beach
Swimming with Sea Turtles at Kaanapali Beach

Finding Sea Turtles in Maui

Ok, Ok… so let’s get to the point where you can find sea turtles in Maui. Throughout my trip, I learned that Maui is full of sea turtles, but here are the two spots I particularly loved seeing sea turtles, and it is totally FREE.

Of course, this is the ocean, so while these are Green Sea Turtle hot spots, you are not guaranteed to see them. I think the chances are really good, however.

Both locations only required snorkel gear, although Maui also has some of the best diving in Hawaii.

Black Rock Beach, Maui

The first spot was actually at my hotel, The Sheraton at Black Rock. I was lucky enough to have Black Rock Beach right in my backyard. I rented my snorkel gear for the week and dove in. Within minutes I spotted not 1 but 4 green sea turtles!

As you can imagine, I felt like a kid on Christmas that just found out I got a puppy. I learned that the turtles were here around 7 am and 2:30 pm, like clockwork munching on the algae-filled rocks.

Aside from green sea turtles, this is one of the best places for snorkeling in Lahaina, so you can expect to see a large array of fish!

One downside, however, is that it’s a very popular place to snorkel. Because of this, people were huddling over the turtles, which broke my heart to see people not giving them their space to swim freely.

Please don’t be this person. The great thing about Black Rock is that they have been coming here for many years, so consider these sea turtles regulars.

Sea Turtle in Maui Hawaii

Mokuleia Beach, Maui

 The second place I recommend is the Honolua-Mokuleia Bay Marine Life Conservation District (Slaughterhouse Beach) but not to worry it’s safe.

The nickname “slaughterhouse” comes from the Honolua Ranch slaughterhouse and tanning/storage shed that was torn down in the 60’s, but the “wonderful” name stuck.

I love Honolua-Mokuleia Beach and I stumbled here by accident. This beach is close to mile marker 32 on Highway 30.

It’s part of the Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District with a sign pointing out to not disturb the wildlife or take anything from the beach, not even the sand.

I didn’t see a sign that says Mokuleia Bay or Slaughterhouse Beach, but you will see cars parked off to the side in what looks like a gravel lot (which piqued our interest to stop and find this gem).

Just look for a green-painted metal fence, and you are likely in the right spot. At the far end of the railing, there are concrete steps that lead down to the cove.

This is a nice secluded beach with a local feel and my favorite spot for finding sea turtles! We went down to the far left side and swam by the rocks close to the shore and saw 4 sea turtles just swimming around the rocks!

The water was super clear, so we watched them for hours. In one spot, we were able to just stand and look down at the turtles.

Subsequently, I was later bathing in Maui Vera Aloe with my entire back as red as a lobster. Although this aloe is a miracle worker (and organic), keep applying your sunscreen, especially if you’re snorkeling!

Hawaii Travel Tip: Our favorite sunscreens are Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 and Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer which are coral reef safe. You need reef-safe sunscreen to go into the water in Hawaii.

 Maui, Hawaii Green Sea Turtle in swimming by.

Finding Sea Turtles in Maui: Wrap-up

This wraps up on finding sea turtles in Maui! Also note, that during winter months, the surf can be high and not safe for snorkeling, so make sure to check before going out. If you find you know of any other great places to find sea turtles in Maui, we would love to hear!

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Finding Sea turtles in Maui Hawaii
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Sam Opp

Sam Opp (Samantha Oppenheimer) is a New Yorker based in Raleigh, NC. She is a travel writer, blogger and content creator who loves traveling, photography, coffee, and pizza. When she's not traveling, you can find her cuddling with her pup, Marley, and blogging all about her recent travel experiences.

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