Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach – Stop by to See Turtles and Stay for the Oahu Oceanside Views
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Whether you’re staying at the Turtle Bay Resort or just passing by, Turtle Beach is definitely worth a stop. Set right along Kuilima Cove, this beach serves as a popular spot for fishing, surfing, and scuba diving adventures. As the name suggests, turtles are the star of the show, for sure, although they don’t always arrive centerstage for your pure enjoyment.

- The Local Expert Team

Have you always wanted to watch sea turtles live their best lives in paradise? If so, you definitely need to take a trip over to Laniakea Beach. Set on North Shore Oahu, this beach puts you in the front row of the sea turtle show on every visit. So, it’s no wonder that people want to call this spot Turtle Beach despite the sandy shores near Turtle Bay Resort already claiming that moniker.

No matter what you call it, the turtles definitely claim this beach as their own. All the action hits peak cuteness by around 11 am and keeps going until about 3 pm each day. To avoid getting stuck waiting for parking, try to come by early in the morning and go beachcombing until the turtles start to make their appearance. If you want a quieter turtle viewing experience, consider landing at the beach around 3pm instead. With that move, you can stick around to see the sun go down behind the horizon.

Whenever you arrive, you can watch in awe as the magnificent turtles graze on seagrasses in the shallows and catch some rays on the sandy shores. Just remember to not get too close though because these creatures remain highly protected. In fact, you have to stay at least 10 feet back – and never, ever touch the turtles – or a fine could come your way. As long as you abide by those rules, you’re good to go and can watch the turtles for as long as you want. Want a closer look? Get out your camera and snap a few photos, so you can zoom in on their cute little turtle-y faces.

You will need to park in the resort lot, however, before making your way to the sandy shores along Kuilima Cove. Fortunately, parking is free for all, although the trek can prove a bit daunting if you’re not up for a long walk. Remember to wear closed-toe hiking shoes to maintain steady footing as you make your way to the path. Consider bringing along a pair of water shoes as well, so you can walk around the water’s edge without getting bit by the sharp rocks.

Once you make your way down the path, you can restore your energy with a tasty drink and bite to eat from the oceanside café. After that, the sky is the limit in how you might want to spend your time. If there are turtles nearby, take in the view, snap a few photos, and simply admire them to the fullest before they make their way back into the water. You never know when they’ll head back out, after all, so don’t leave that experience for last.

Sometimes, there are no turtles around at all. When that happens, you might just want to settle in on the sand and watch the action on the water instead. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see experienced surfers riding the waves and showing off their tricks. Fishermen might be nearby as well, giving you quite a show whenever they reel in the big one.

When it comes to the rest of the beach experience, it’s not exactly the top spot for swimming, snorkeling, or even boogie boarding, for sure. Unless you catch the shores on a quiet day, the powerful waves often play way too rough for all that. Although, don’t be surprised if you see scuba divers pop out of the water. There is a reef just offshore filled with amazing marine life of all kinds, including moray eels, tropical fish, and crustaceans. By getting into the water, the scuba divers also have a better chance of catching sight of the gorgeous sea turtles. If you’re experienced in the water, you can join all the fun. But it’s important to keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach. So, entering the water is at your own risk. If you’d rather play it safe, you can stay on the shore instead and enjoy other ocean-side activities.

There are no bathrooms or showers onsite. So, plan accordingly to avoid getting stuck with a full bladder during your visit. The trek back to the resort is long and difficult, especially if you need to relieve yourself. Want to rinse all the sand off before getting back in your vehicle? Put a big jug of water in the trunk to use as an impromptu rinsing station.

How To Get There:
Park at the Turtle Bay Resort: here. You can also direct yourself to Turtle Beach by putting it into your GPS: here.

Insider Tips:
-There’s not much shade near the beach, so bring your own umbrella for whenever you want a break from the sun.  
-Do not stop on the shoulder by the beach for loading and unloading. Otherwise, you could get a ticket or even end up getting towed.
-Although the turtles will instantly capture your gaze, watch your step to avoid slippery rocks, sea urchins, and other hazards.
-There’s no official crosswalk across the highway. You have to wait for a clearing or drivers on both sides to stop for you before crossing.