Hawaiian monk seals are amazing marine mammals and primitive creatures that have been around for millions of years.
They can be found lingering on beaches all over Hawaii, making it easy to spot them if you know when and where to look.
For this reason, we've compiled the 5 best beaches in Oahu where you can see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
Where to Spot Monk Seals in Oahu - The Best Beaches
These gentle giants can weigh up to an incredible 450 pounds, and they're an endangered species native to the Hawaiian Islands.
Oahu is the perfect place to spot them, with plenty of rocky shores where they love to rest and soak up the sun.
To make sure you see as many seals as possible, head to one of the five best spots on the island.
Here below, we'll go through all the best beaches in Oahu where you can see the monk seals.
Ka’ena Point State Park
Ka’ena Point State Park is the perfect spot to take a stroll and catch a glimpse of these cute creatures.
The park is not only home to an array of unique hiking trails and mesmerizing tide pools, but it also offers an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the world's rarest seal species.
The entire hike takes around 5 miles. You should wear comfortable shoes as some areas can be a bit steep and the rocks can be slippery when wet.
Keep your eyes peeled, as you might also see nesting Albatross and maybe even a few whales if you're lucky!
Ka'ena Point State Park is a great spot for a 5-mile hike, offering the chance to see rare seal species, nesting albatross, and even whales if you're lucky!
Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, where you can bask in the warmth of the Hawaiian sun while enjoying surfable waves and exciting snorkel spots.
On top of that, you will spot some monk seals and sea turtles bobbing around in the crystal-clear waters.
Monk seals give birth and raise their pups for several weeks in this beach. You will see them sleeping on the beach, sunbathing offshore, or swimming underwater.
Make sure to come early and keep an eye out for these beautiful creatures as they nap on the sandy beach or play in the water.
Kaimana Beach in Waikiki is the perfect spot for sunbathing, surfing, and snorkeling with the added bonus of observing monk seals and sea turtles playing in the crystal-clear waters.
Hanauma Bay is a gem on Oahu's coastline, making it a popular choice for tourists from all over the world.
The reef surrounding the beach attracts all sorts of sea life, from tropical fish to sea turtles, and monk seals.
You will see them resting or sunbathing on the beach during your snorkel adventure.
This beach also has an incredible tide pools - to make sure that you won't miss it. While you swim, please wear your swimming shoes because there are sea urchins in the water.
This beach on Oahu is a popular tourist spot, with stunning coral reefs and tide pools that are home to an abundance of sea life, including tropical fish, sea turtles and monk seals.
Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, for some sea creature spotting. This hidden gem is around 40 minutes from Honolulu.
While most people are focused on the sea turtles, if you keep walking down the beach, you may be spot some Hawaiian rare monk seals.
Just be cautious if you go for a swim, as the water can be rough and more suitable for surfing. If you do decide to snorkel, be sure to wait for calm waters and bring some swimming shoes and goggles.
Laniakea Beach is a hidden gem filled with opportunities to spot a variety of sea creatures, including Hawaiian monk seals, but swimmers should be cautious due to the rough waters.
Pokai Bay Beach Park
It's a local hotspot for family-friendly fun. With calm and clear waters, this beach is perfect for all skill levels.
In addition, this beach is famous for spotting monk seals in their natural habitat. Many people see them swimming beneath the waves, while others have spotted them sunbathing on the sand.
Luckily, keep an eye out for playful pods of dolphins passing by, Pokai Bay Beach Park has it all.
Pokai Bay Beach Park is a great place for family-friendly fun, with calm waters perfect for swimmers of all skill levels and plenty of chances to spot monk seals and dolphins.
Where Else to Spot Hawaiian Monk Seals in Hawaii?
There are several other spots where you can spot Hawaiian Monk Seals around the the Islands.
Other popular spots include the northern shores of Molokai, Kauai and Niihau, and the Big Island.
They are seek out less crowded areas and you may be see a sleepy seal lounging on a rock or swimming in the surf.
We provide the 3 other spots where you see the monk seals in Oahu.
The Big Island
The Big Island is a good choice to see the monk seals. However, there are many beaches in the big island that you can visit and see the monk seals closely.
First, the Kau coastline, located south of the island and near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kau Forest Reserve, is your best bet.
Secondly, Kawa Bay, a location that's near Ka Lae, a stunning place to chill for a while.
Lastly, Honokohau Beach is another place where you might find a seal or two, along with some turtles if you're lucky.
Before going there, please make sure to ask the locals for tips on where to look, too.
The Big Island offers great opportunities to spot monk seals, with the Kau coastline, Kawa Bay and Honokohau Beach being recommended spots to visit, and locals providing useful advice.
Molokai is also one great spot to see the monk seal.
You can head to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park where is a remote region of Hawaii was once used as a leprosy colony, which allowed sufferers to remain isolated from the rest of the population.
You may feel this area is sound dark; however, the area is now a hub for seal sightings, with local and NOAA scientists studying the seal population.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Molokai is a great spot to see the monk seal, and scientists are there studying its population.
Kauai and Niihau
Kauai and Niihau are a safe bet to spot Hawaiian monk seals. These two smaller islands, located to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands, are closest to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where these seals are most abundant.
With a small population on each of them, Kauai and Niihau are home to the largest colonies of these seals in the region.
To help protect and monitor the seals on Kauai, the Kauai Monk Seal Watch Program has been established. If you see yellow tape cordoning off an area of the beach, it's probably their volunteers keeping a watchful eye over a seal.
Kauai, Poipu Beach is a great spot to see the seals while soaking up the local beach vibes. Just watch out for the rocks.
In addition, if you want to see the stunning beach view, just head to the Napali Coast on the northwest side of the island.
Kauai and Niihau are the best spots to see Hawaiian monk seals, while also enjoying the picturesque views of the Napali Coast.
Experiencing Hawaiian monk seals in their natural habitat is an incomparable opportunity and a must-do when coming to Hawaii.
You can choose the one of the best locations mentioned above to witness the majestic animals up close and personal.
Although there are only 1,100 seals left in the wild, that figure has been on a positive incline due to conservation initiatives.
Seeing these remarkable creatures will be an experience that will linger with you forever!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can spot Hawaiian monk seals on Oahu's North Shore, Maui's Makena Bay, Kauai's Poipu Beach and Napali Coast, and Big Island's South Kona.
Hawaiian Monk Seals are often seen sunbathing at Poipu Beach during the day.
However, sightings depend on their feeding schedule and weather conditions.
Sightings of Hawaiian Monk Seals are quite special as they're one of the world's most endangered marine mammals with an estimated population of 1,100 left in the wild.
The presence of baby seals varies depending upon breeding seasons.
For current information about specific locations like Kaimana Beach, you should check local wildlife reports or news updates.
It's important to remember to keep your distance.
By state and federal laws, it's a serious crime to touch or harass a monk seal.
Not only can this result in $50,000 fine, but it can also land you up to 5 years in prison.
So, keep a safe distance of at least 50 feet (15 meters) away from the seals or 150 feet (45 meters) away from the pups.