Must-See Scenic Spots in Oahu
Oahu is Hawaii's most populous island, home to Hawaii's largest city - Honolulu. This, combined with the island's award-winning beaches, lush mountains, and jungle forests, make for wanderlust-inducing photos. Here are our picks for some of the most scenic places in Oahu.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
Just the entrance into Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is jaw-dropping. It's a popular spot for it's views of the Ko'olau Mountains and abundance of flora from all over the globe. Check out our Ho'omaluhia Travel Guide to learn more! Just be mindful: if you're driving, stopping for photos along the road is prohibited, and can result in a fine. Once you’re inside you can enjoy activities such as fishing, kayaking, camping, or just exploring around.
Kualoa Regional Park
Kualoa Regional Park is a perfect spot for everyone. Suitable for families for the perfect family portrait, or for those looking to get vast views of the mountains and ocean - this place is a small slice of Hawaiian paradise.
Kaka'ako - Honolulu's art district - is covered with large murals by local artists. Each year, artists paint murals on the neighborhood's old warehouses and buildings, creating a vibrant backdrop for the town.
At Tantalus Lookout, the views of Honolulu are legendary. Seated above Honolulu, you'll be able to see far and wide. This is one of the most iconic views in Hawaii!
Leonard’s Bakery might be known for their malasadas, but that's not the only thing that's photogenic at this popular bake shop. In addition to the addicting donuts, the cute pink boxes and neon Leonard's Bakery sign are just as exciting.
The Royal Hawaiian “Pink Palace” Hotel
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel - also known as the Pink Palace - is a historic accommodation in the heart of Honolulu. If you're walking along the beach in Waikiki, you can't miss it! While you're there, stop in for a quick peek. The building is about 100 years old! Visit while you're wandering around on our Heart of Waikiki walking tour - in fact, it's one of the tour stops!
Tucked away in the valleys behind downtown Honolulu, Mānoa Falls is a lush paradise just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city. A short and easy trail leads to a towering 150 foot waterfall, with a pool for swimming.
Yokohama bay is the closest thing to a “road trip” one can get on the island of Oahu. Located at the very end of Farrington Highway and framed by the magnificent Wai`anae mountain range, Yokohama bay or “Yoks” is a secluded stretch of heaven.
Makapu`u Tide Pools
Off the paved Makapu`u Lighthouse trail is a set of crystal clear pools deep enough for a swim and of course jaw dropping photos from this spectacular spot. Take a right down the mountain at the humpback whale signs, and make your way to these picturesque tide pools. However, this area is right on the Ka Iwi coast and the waves that fill these pools are unpredictable; make sure to always keep an eye on the swells!
Waimānalo beach is what you need for ultimate relaxation. It’s our favorite stop on the Shaka Guide South Shore Tour. With old Hawaiian fishponds acting as a barrier from the outside waves, “Nalo” as we call it, is blessed with calm and pristine waters making it a great place to break out the floaties, lay back, and cruise.
Pipeline, the surf spot located at Ehukai beach park, is a bipolar beauty. In the summer, this spot is like a lake, with deep and calm waters lined by palm trees and open stretches of sand. In the Winter, that same stretch is flocked with spectators of the North Shore’s massive surf, lining the beach to watch 40 foot waves and the famous Billabong Pipe Masters. Lots of the most popular and featured photos of Hawaii are from this very beach!
Crouching Lion Hike /Kahana Bay
The Crouching Lion hike, named after the rock formation at the top of the mountain, overlooks Kahana Bay - which we pass on the Shaka Guide Circle Island Tour. Get vertical (and sweaty!) on this 30 to 40-minute hike straight up to this panoramic view of the North Shore.
Hale`iwa is a favorite for any foodie, with great small shacks lining the roads. Our favorite is the Sunrise Shack. This cute yellow hut houses a health-conscious menu - with items like papaya boats, kombucha, and cold brews. Definitely a foodie’s top choice for scenic spots on Oahu.
China Walls, under the guise of Koko Kai Mini Beach Park in Hawaii Kai, is the local’s go-to for watching the sunset. With great views, a cliff jumping spot, and reflective pools for photos, it’s worth the daily crowds. Koko Kai is a good place to remember the power and unpredictability of the ocean, with waves crashing straight on the coast.
These are just a few of the many beautiful, scenic spots on Oahu! No matter where you are, you're never too far from an amazing view.
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