Hawaii is a bucket list location for pretty much everyone. Despite that, whenever we planned a trip to Hawaii, we always ended up in Europe or Mexico or Asia instead for some reason. We finally booked a big trip to the Big Island and Kauai last year and Covid shut it down (which is why we ended up in the Florida Keys!), but another opportunity came up this year and we ended up in Oahu for a while. We did a lot of research to prepare and saw as much of the island as we could. Hoping to share all the research we did and provide the best guide possible, we reached out to other travel bloggers, Instragrammers and lots of locals to create the most comprehensive guide to the best photo spots on Oahu that you can find on the Internet. We hope it is helpful.
We would also love to hear your favorite locations that we missed or see your images of Oahu. Join in the discussion at our Facebook Group!
Here are all the best photo locations in Oahu one map. Feel free to save it and use it on your vacation.
We have separated Oahu into five regions to make it easier to navigate. The Central region includes north of Honolulu and the interior of Oahu. The South includes Honolulu moving east down the southern coast. The Windward region is the eastern coast. The Northern region includes the north coast. Finally the Leeward region includes the western coast and the area along the southern coast that is west of Honolulu.
Pearl Harbor is the main draw in Honolulu. Unfortunately, the NPS has made it very hard to visit the USS Arizona memorial now (there are other museums you can still visit without tickets). Hopefully, they get the system fixed soon. There was no way to buy advanced tickets at the time we planned out trip. The only option was to log in at 3:00 pm each day and try to get tickets for the next day. We tried right at 3:00 every day we were there, but the tickets were gone before we could ever get them in our cart. It was very frustrating and huge bummer as we are big WWII buffs and this was a main point of our trip that didn’t happen.
If you are lucky enough to get tickets, go and enjoy. We have heard it is a bit of a let down for those not super interested in the history, but we have also heard that it can be a very memorable experience. Below is an image contributed by Gabriel Marangoni.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden
This beautiful 27-acre garden features a tropical forest full of native Hawaiian plants. It is located just south of the Dole Plantation in the interior of Oahu. It is a great place to enjoy an easy stroll through nature and, unlike most of Oahu, it is a free activity!
The beautiful image below from Art Roberto highlights the famous Rainbow Eucalyptus trees that no trip to Oahu is complete without.
The image below from travel blogger Justin from @justintensitysworld highlights some of the bamboo you can find.
Aloha Swap Meet
The Aloha Swap Meet is where you want to go to find all your souvenirs. You will find almost anything you see at the tourist shops around Oahu for a much cheaper price. There is a small admission fee. I think it was like $2 per adult. It is located at the Aloha Stadium and wraps in a circle around the entire outside of the stadium. It is only open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday so plan ahead and check for any schedule changes too.
You can see what to expect in the image below from Katie Juhl Whitestone and her traveling family!
There is also a decent amount of good food to be found at the swap meet, like the fresh fruit featured in the image below from Jenny with @homegypsy.
Another vendor is featured below in the shot from Zoomy Tea.
The Dole Plantation is is located just south of the North Shore and is a great stop on your way to or from the North Shore. We stopped by on our way back and enjoyed a couple hours before evening. There is a large gift shop with Dole Whip and food and some grounds you can explore for free. Beyond that, you can buy tickets for the maze, botanical gardens or train ride. The maze and botanical gardens looked incredibly boring and we did not get good reviews from people who had done them, but the train was worth the money.
We really enjoyed the narrated ride that took us through pineapple fields, shown below, and through a bunch of other things while providing lots of history and interesting facts.
The front of the gift store provides the perfect photo spot that is easy to miss coming from the parking lot. Make sure you stop by and get this great image, as seen below from popular travel account @helenatraveller.
No trip to the Dole Plantation would be complete without a shot in the pineapples, like the one below from travel vlogger Joanna Nacar.
Stairway to Heaven/Moanalua Valley Trail
The Stairway to Heaven trail is one of the most iconic places in Oahu and I was pumped to conquer it. Sadly, the trail is illegal now with the entrance blocked off, guards posted and heavy fines issued. I have been told there is still a legal way to access it from a different route, but it adds quite a bit of hiking and nobody was willing to undertake that journey with me. If you want to give it a try, make sure you do your research and ensure that the route you are taking is still legal and safe.
The iconic images from the Stairway to Heaven show how the climb takes you into the clouds, as you can see in the image below provided by by Kathy Kim La.
You can see the amazing views along the trail in the shot below from local resident Kim Charters. Seriously, check out her Instagram feed for amazing images all over Oahu!
Another shot showcasing the amazing views and tough stairway hike is seen in the following shot from photographer John Machacon.
A final shot from the trail was provided by traveler Vanessa Cavanaugh.
Hawaii’s Plantation Village
Hawaii’s Plantation Village is a collection of 25 historical homes and buildings located on a 19th century plantation. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00. Entrance is $17 for adults and $8 for children. Entrance tickets cannot be prepurchased online, but tours do need to be reserved early.
You can see one of the beautiful plantation homes in the image below from Jamie CKP.
I love the beautiful shot of the plantation below, which was provided by digital creator Glenn Nishida.
Green World Coffee Farm
Coffee is a big deal in Hawaii and the beautiful farms are becoming easier to find. Green World Coffee Farm is a convenient stop off the highway just south of the Dole Plantation. Travel blogger Alice did a great job showing off the coffee plants and beautiful trees in the shot below.
Waimano Falls is a waterfall located at the north end of Pearl City north of Honolulu. It is just under 3 miles, half of which is easy and half of which is steep and difficult. Parking is limited as the trail starts at the end of a residential street with no parking lot. As you can see in my photo, it is not the most scenic falls on the island, but it is a fun hike and the falls are good for playing.
You can get in the water at the base of the falls, but it also cascades down to a bigger pool that is deeper for swimming and has a rope swing.
The coolest part of the hike is pictured below where you climb down (or up) a good stretch of exposed tree roots.
The other impressive part of the hike are the beautiful views of canopied jungle.
Duke Kahanamoku Statue
Duke Kahanamoku is a big deal in Honolulu. Famous for his pioneering of surfing and his Olympic swimming history. His statute off at the beach in Waikiki always has people posing for pictures and is worth the stop if you are in the area.
The image of the statue below was provided by traveler Kylie.
Ala Moana Center
Outdoor malls are common in Honolulu, but the Ala Moana Center is probably the biggest. If shopping is your thing, you will want to check it out. The image below was provided by Maica Heiress Rubia.
The Iolani Palace was built in 1882 and was the palace for the last royal family of Hawaii. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, but the tour options vary day by day so be sure to check out the schedule. The self guided tour is $25 for an adult and the prices vary for the guided tours based on what level you purchase.
This first image of the palace came from Sandy Whitlock Dwan.
A closer view of the palace was provided by Artist Richard Socarrás.
The palace grounds make a great place to relax, as you can see in the image below from Ling Kuo.
Mari of @marichinchan provided us a great shot of the interior of the Palace.
Kaka’ako Farmer’s Market and Murals
Kaka’ako Farmer’s Market is held every Saturday from 8-12 at Ward Village in southern Honolulu. It is a true farmer’s market with lots of local produce and vendors; however, the market is really known for its collection of murals. There are many murals located there. Below, we provided a small sampling of what you can find.
The next image, which demonstrates the fun you can have interacting with the murals, came from Reporter Jenn Boneza.
Na Ala Hele
Na Ala Hele can be a bit confusing because it is the name of the Hawaiian hiking trail system, but there is also a trail that bears the name Na Ala Hele, located just outside Honolulu in Tantalus Lookout State Park. As you can see in the image below from Kyssa Paras, the trail offers fantastic views.
The Lyon Arboretum is located just up the road from Manoa Falls. The Arboretum is a research center connected to the University of Hawaii. It is open to the public weekdays from 9:00 until 3:00. Reservations are required. Admission is technically free, but they encourage a $10 donation.
Traveler Nayeong starts of our collection of images showcasing the beauty of Lyon Arboretum.
The Arboretum is a great way to experience the beautiful valley against the mountains, as shown in the image below provided by Heather Nelson.
Instagrammer Dawn shows off the beauty of the giant trees inside the Arboretum.
The great aerial view provided by Instagrammer The Lonely Drone shows off the jungle canopy and the views of Honolulu.
Manoa Falls might be my favorite hike in Oahu. It is an easy walk through absolutely beautiful jungle that ends with a surprisingly impressive waterfall. I highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting Oahu. This shot of our group shows off the height of the falls, that I did not expect from other images I had seen.
This next beautiful shot of Manoa falls was provided by Maria of @mariaclaro_.
Unlike many waterfalls in Honolulu, Manoa Falls discourages swimming (due to disease), but the pool at the bottom is beautiful for photography, as you can see in the shot below from Instagrammer @tusrosales.
Plenty of people get in the water so I am sure it can’t be too bad, but as you see in the shot below provided by digital creator Katie Schmidt, the pool isn’t deep enough for much.
I also wanted to include some shots of the hike because it is amazingly beautiful.
The beach at Waikiki is the most crowded beach on Oahu because it is by all the resorts and hotels. It is a beautiful beach with nice water and small waves, but be ready for lots of people.
I am not sure how traveler Jessica Myers got this beautiful image without crowds behind her, but you can see the beautiful Diamond Head Crater that looms above Waikiki.
KCC Farmer’s Market
The KCC Farmer’s Market is located just east of Diamond Head, in the parking lot of Kapi’olani Community College. The market is only open from 7:30-11:00 each Saturday. It features 80 vendors selling local produce, goods and lots of yummy food.
The below image of the farmer’s market was provided by Sabrina Hardisty.
Jennie shows off some of the yummy food options in the image below.
Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head Crater is probably one of the most well known places in Oahu. It is located just east of Waikiki. It is a state park and, as of June, 2022, they required advanced reservations. It is a short, but steep hike to the top of the crater, offering beautiful views. Don’t plan on shooting sunset from the top though as they close down and kick you out before the sun sets.
You can see one of the many great views from Diamond Head in the shot below provided by Digital Creator Mignonne.
Another great view can be seen in the image below from Shaylee Heistad.
Kaka’ako Waterfront Park
We talked about the Kaka’ako Farmer’s Market and murals above, but don’t skip out on the waterfront park as well. The Park provides beautiful views of the ocean, but is most famous for Point Panic located at the southern end of the park, where you can get an awesome view of surfers.
The first image below was provided by local resident John Vedder, who was kind enough to help with several photos in this article.
This great action shot at Point Panic was provided by photographer Josh of @pdxploration.
Ka’au Crater Trail
The Ka’au Crater Trail is a beautiful trail featuring waterfalls, ocean views and jungle in one loop trail north of Diamond Head. The six mile loop is difficult with lots of climbing. Don’t try it after or during rain. Alltrails reports that it is on private property, but that has been disputed by others so use caution and maybe do some more research before you head on the hike.
The next two images, highlighting the beautiful views, waterfall and steep hike, were provided by local hiker Chenay Noelani Borja.
Another shot showing the fun climb and amazing view came from blogger Tracy.
Just east of the Ka’au Crater, you can try out the Wiliwilinui Hike. This 4.7 mile out-and-back hike is steep, but not overly difficult. The trailhead is located inside a gated community, but the guardhouse will let you in and provide you a parking pass. The number of passes are limited though so get there early if you want to ensure entrance.
This hike is all about the views, as you can see in the shot below from blogger Juanjo Echenique.
Another beautiful image, this one shows Marianne Lavoie descending the trail.
It’s not just the views looking down though, the views of the surrounding mountains are also pretty impressive, as you can see in the image below from Diana Yurkova.
Cromwell’s Beach and Rock Pool
Cromwell’s Beach is somewhat of a secret spot located at the edge of a nice neighborhood just east of Diamond Head Beach. In addition to pristine beaches, there are manmade rock pools perfect for swimming. There are also coral reefs for snorkeling and tide pools.
The first shot below came from track athlete @joyhano.
The beautiful swimming water at one of the rock pools is easily seen in the shot below provided by Aleah Fischer.
Doris Duke’s Shangri La
Philanthropist Doris Duke built this beautiful property in the 1930’s. It is now open to the public and houses a museum of Islamic art.
I love this shot highlighting the unique and beautiful architecture from local photographer Amber Caires.
Another shot of the beautiful architecture. This one was provided by Instagrammer @mnkrstn.
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
The Pali Lookout is a must stop location when you are driving to or from Kailua on Highway 61. It is just off the road and offers fantastic views. There is also a short and steep ridge hike you can conquer here. I am still processing my good images from this amazing location, but the shot below was a quick panorama image from my phone.
The next image was provided by Traveler, Wanderer & Explorer @lostwithlucas.
If you have a daring side, you can make a great portrait, like the one below provided by Claire.
Pali Notches is a short, but difficult, .7 mile hike located near the Pali lookout. I am really mad at myself because we drove by this a million times and I always assumed it was a much longer hike based on the images I had seen. Definitely going to knock this hike out on the next visit. Just look at the incredible image below from blogger Bill of @billzhou.png.
Another shot of the same location showing it on a sunny day. This image came from Samantha Austin.
Kuliouou Ridge Trail
The Kuliouou Ridge Trail is located along the eastern ridge of the Kuli’ou’ou Forest Reserve. The trail is a challenging, steep 4.7 miles out and back.
The challenging hike rewards the effort with fantastic views, like the one the the shot below provided by Sandra Lancheros.
You can see another great view in the image below from artist Angela Cho_.
Hanauma Bay is the most sought after snorkeling site on Oahu. It is a pain to get access though. It is closed Monday and Tuesday to let the coral reefs refresh. To get access, you need to log in at 7:00 am 48 hours in advance of when you want to visit. The tickets sell out quickly. You want to get access for as early in the day as possible because the parking lot fills up early and you have to wait for people to leave. We logged in right at 7:00 and only managed to get tickets to enter the park at 12:30. That only gave us 3 hours at the Bay. It also costs $25 per person. It was worth it though as it was by far the best snorkeling we had.
As a word of caution, the Humuhumu fish do bite. Here Mallory is reenacting the bite she got on her leg. We found out quite a few people had been bit that day. They are beautiful though so it is worth the risk.
The aerial shot below from Instagrammer Maxxxxxx shows how much coral reef you get to snorkel in. There are fish literally everywhere in those reefs.
If you are lucky, you will get to see a sea turtle. We didn’t get that luck, but Emma Darfo did and provided us the image below.
The Halona Blowhole is a great natural attraction with a roadside stop between Sandy Beach and Halona Cove. It is worth taking a couple minutes to pull off the road and watch for an eruption.
The shot below came from local David Taylor-Garcia.
Sandy Beach is another place right off the highway that is worth a stop. You can spend 5 minutes watching the crazy waves or an hour or more like we did. There are tons of people boogie boarding and body surfing here, but the waves are crazy powerful and the lifeguards will keep you out if you don’t look like you know what you are doing. The beach is nicknamed broke neck beach and broken necks, broken backs, disclocated shoulders and so forth. We saw at least one person being helicoptered out on a stretcher and we talked to a lifeguard that said he did seven saves during his shift that day.
The shot below was provided by local resident John Vedder.
Halona Beach Cove/Eternity Beach/Cockroach Cove
This next location is a beautiful little cove right next to Halona Blowhole. I have heard it called Halona Beach Cove, Eternity Beach and Cockroach Cove. It is a small little picturesque cove. It is difficult to get down there and there are no entrance signs posted, but there always seems to be a handful of people. It is small and not ideal for swimming, but you can capture some great images.
The epic aerial shot below came from Instagrammer Sloane.
This next image was provided by model Brooklynn Crites.
This final image capturing a beautiful sunset came from blogger Maria Christiansen.
Just a short distance from Hanauma Bay, you will see the giant Koko Crater. The trail to the top of Koko Crater is a very popular trail that follows old railroad ties over 1,000 steps straight up and down the crater’s wall. It is only 1.6 miles, but with the steep incline and no shade, it is a rough challenge. The summit rewards you with views of Hanauma Bay all the way to Moloka’i.
You can get a good view of the trail in the image below from Instagrammer @Hkinsisiengmay.
The views from the top are awesome as seen in the shot below provided by Rachel Portelance.
Another great shot from the top. This one was provided by Instagrammer Zoe.
North of Sandy Beach and south of Kailua are a number of beaches. One of the most popular is Sherwood Beach. The beautiful beach lies between the ocean and forest. There is white sand and waves big enough for good boogie boarding without risking your body to the level of Sandy Beach.
A beautiful sunset and cozy hammock are on display in the shot below from Marisa.
The shot of Sherwood Beach below came from Alex.
Lana’i Lookout is a beautiful photographic opportunity between Hanauma Bay and Halona Beach Cove. There is a small pullout off the highway for easy access.
Photographer Mark Avila absolutely nailed the perfect longer exposure on the beautiful shot below to capture the movement of the water.
It is also a great place to capture a portrait, like the one below from C.L.
Or this one, which was provided to us by Travel Company Things to See.
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse is a very scenic lighthouse hanging on the cliffs of the ocean. The paved hike says it is 2 miles, but we recorded it as a little more than that. Either way it is a pretty easy hike with fantastic views of Koko Crater to the south, the ocean out to Moloka’i to the east and Kaohikaipu Island to the north. There are also some cool tidepools that you can swim or soak in down below if you want to climb down. At the end of the trail, you can see the lighthouse, though you can’t get very close to it.
This is the view of the lighthouse as you get near the end of the trail.
And, this is the view from the end of the trail above the lighthouse. The image below was came from Maddie Corneil.
Alan Davis Beach
Alan Davis Beach can be reached from the same trail as the lighthouse, but it breaks off early before you start the ascent. The beach is popular for cliff jumping as you can see in the shot below provided by local Brady Arneson.
Bellows Field Beach
Bellows Field Beach is just north of Sherwood Forest Beach and features the same idyllic white sand and fantastic views, as you can see in the image below from Michelle Nguyen.
Lanikai Pillbox is a fun little hike just above Lanikai Beach. The 1.7 mile hike takes you to two old military bunkers. There are fantastic views along the whole route, but it is best to do it early or on a cooler day as there is no shade. The shot below is from the trail and shows the town and the Mokes (the two islands) off the beach.
This shot shows the trail between the two pillboxes.
This is the view from the upper pillbox.
The shot below, featuring the Mokes, came from traveler Dave Turcotte.
Another great shot from the pillbox, this one from digital creator Claire.
The color of the waters are just insane, as you can see in the image below from Elena Ruscitti.
This final shot came from local realtor Kinga Mills.
Lanikai Beach isn’t a very busy beach because there is no parking or easy access. You have to find somewhere legal to park in the residential area and then walk to one of a few access points. Notwithstanding, it has been rated as a top beach in the world by many sources.
The amazing color of the waters, the soft sand, and good snorkeling are obvious reasons why.
I’m sure the view of the Mokes is another reason the beach is so beloved. You can see them in the shot below, another from John Vedder.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens is located west of Kailua. It is open every day except Christmas and New Years and is free to enter.
The scenery at the gardens is hard to match, as seen in the image below, which was provided by Nikole Simons.
Another beautiful shot from the gardens, this one from filmmaker Mason Kashefzade.
Kaneohe Sandbar is a unique feature off the coast of Kahaluu. It is a group of small islets that form a sandbar at lower tide, surrounded by coral reef. You can only reach it by boat, kayak or SUP so it is an amazing way to get top-level snorkeling without the crowds.
The aerial shot below from Sailor James shows the sandbar at higher tides.
The shot below was provided by local digital creator Rachel.
The next image came from Tina Sibley.
The final image below was provided by fashion designer Kristin of @ms.thairish.
Just north of Lanikai Beach, in the town of Kailua, is Kailua Beach. It is a popular beach with great sand, small waves and a launching point to kayak to the Mokes or Popoia Island.
The image of Kailua Beach below was provided by blogger Samadhi Herath.
The sunset shot below came from travel photographer John Jung.
The Mokes are what people commonly call the twin islands of Moku Nui and Moku Iki. They are both bird sanctuaries and access is only permitted on Moku nui. It’s about 1.5 miles of some pretty tough kayaking, but it is well worth it. This is one of our favorite places in all of Oahu. We saw a handful of turtles while kayaking, but we also saw some snorkeling that were content to just swim along with us. It was amazing. We also saw a seal on the beach, and enjoyed some cliff jumping.
Below is an image from Marylène Boivin. This image shows Moku Iki from the shore of Moku nui. That area between the islands before the waves get rough is where we saw all the turtles!
In the image below, you can see Queen’s Bath, which is an 8 foot pool on the south side of Moku Nui. The island used to be off limits to all but the royal family and the stories say this pool was used as a bath by the queen. The great shot was provided by Kayaker Kali Wilding.
The Byodo-in Temple is a Buddhist temple located in the Valley of Temples Memorial Park. Both the Byodo-in Temple and the the Valley are impressive. The temple is set against an amazing backdrop of mountains and is well worth the visit. Entrance to the temple is $5 and it is open daily from 8:30 to 4:30.
Another great shot comes from travel enthusiast Rabina Mdr.
The interior of the temple features a large statue of the Lotus Buddha.
The temple is also famous for its 3-ton brass bell that you can ring. It really does make a beautiful, peaceful sound.
Kualoa Ranch is a scenic paradise, made especially famous due to the filming of Jurassic Park. There are a lot of activities there, but they book up well in advance, so plan ahead. You can see the beautiful cliffs of Kualoa Ranch in the image below, provided by Instagrammer @jordihouad.
There is plenty around that links back to Jurassic Park, like the spot in the image below, provided by Instagrammer @exploreexperienceeat.
Another Jurassic Park shot. This one came from filmmaker Lindsay Mysior.
Mokoli’i, also called Chinaman’s Hat, is a basalt island located in Kane’ohe Bay. It is part of Kualoa Regional Park. You can reach the island by kayak or boat.
The amazing view of Mokoli’i with the mountains in the background was provided by travel and adventure photographer Mikey🇨🇻.
Lulumahu Falls is a great little falls that is not so great to find. Do your research because the trail is not easy to find or follow, and it also is on private property so you may get hit for trespassing.
The great shot below showcasing the waterfall came from Angel of @angelckim.
Another great shot of the falls, this one was provided by Tamara Goebbert.
The final shot below was provided by the Jet and Scout Instagram Account.
Located along the hike to Lulumahu Falls, you can also find the remains of King Kamehameha III’s summer home. You can see a great image of the ruins in the image below, provided by Tigre Libre.
The next shot of the ruins comes from Biologist Barista Samantha.
Olomana Ridge Trail
The Olomana Ridge Trail is one of the most popular trails on Oahu based on just talking to people we met everywhere. It is a very difficult 4.4 mile hike, much of which is along narrow ridges. Plan accordingly with good shoes and good weather!
You can see the views along the ridge is incredible. The image below came from Instagrammer Bree.
As I said, the hike is not an easy one, but the views are worth it, as you can see in another shot of Instagrammer Bree.
Another great action shot showing the amazing peak in the background. This one is from Stacy Iler.
Spitting Cave is a popular place for beach jumping and catching the sunset. It is located near a residential neighborhood at the end of Lumahai Street, west of Hanauma Bay.
You can see beautiful sunset hitting the cool rock formations in the image below, which was provided by Craig Hull.
The great shot below showcasing the cliff jumping was provided by blogger Lexi Paulson.
This 2.8 mile hike rewards you with a nice little waterfall and pool. Unfortunately, the trail is closed off until the summer of 2023. You can see the falls in the shot below from Sophia Ha’ane Hogan.
Waimanalo Bay is where you find Sherwood and Bellows Field Beaches, which you can see in the shot below. This shot of the bay from above showcases the draw of getting up high. This image was provided by musician Tony.
The North Shore is popular for people looking for more relaxed beaches. The secret has gotten out though and crowds are crazy. You will want to get to these locations early early in the morning to get parking and avoid long traffic jams.
Turtle Bay is home to the biggest resort on the North Shore. It is a beautiful bay with a rocky beach, as you can see in the shot below, provided by designer @maribickmoredesign.
Kawela Bay Beach
Kawela Bay is the next bay west from Turtle Bay. It features a more sandy beach, as you can see in the shot below from Thomas Bugarin.
Chun’s Reef Beach
There is some surfing at this beach as you can see in the background of this fund shot from Instagrammer Jess.
Kahuku Land Farms
If you want to enjoy a fresh drink, some fresh fruit or other yummy bites, be sure to stop by the food stands at Kahuku Land Farms. The shot below was provided by blogger Sandrine Lopes.
The image below was provided by the good people at 808 Corn Stars. be sure to stop by and get some delicious BBQ corn.
Sunset Beach is one of the many beaches along the North Shore. This beautiful sunset shot came from Hannah Riker.
In the next image, you can see the very photogenic palm tree that graces Sunset Beach. This shot was provided by Chenyang Li.
Shark’s Cove is a popular snorkeling spot north of Waimea Bay. Don’t worry, there are no sharks-it gets the name from its shape. Be sure to go during high tide for good snorkeling. Low tide is more tide pools.
This first shot, showing great snorkeling at high tide was provided by local resident John Vedder.
Another snorkeling shot from Shark’s Cove. This one is from Nicky Ecker.
Waimea Bay is a very popular spot for beaching and cliff jumping. The tiny parking lot fills up super early so get there by like 7 am to ensure you can get a spot. There are a few paid parking lots if you don’t mind walking a bit.
The cliff jumping image below came from Yellowtail Productions.
Laniakea Beach is what people are referring to when they say turtle beach. It is your best opportunity to see turtles, as you can see in the image below from blogger 세 린.
The next amazing shot shows how lucky you can get at this beach. This image was provided by Tripstagram 2k22.
The beach is also a beautiful place to catch the sunset, as you can see in the next shot from traveler Amber Nicole.
If Shark’s Cove doesn’t have a high enough tide, check out Three Tables right next door. It has some good snorkeling, but the waves can be a bit rough.
Laie LDS Temple
The Laie LDS temple near the Polynesian Cultural Center is a great stop if you are in the area. You can walk the grounds, which are about the most amazing lead up to a building you will ever see with the long pathways and descending fountains.
The image below was provided by traveling Instragrammer @janatravels75.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie is a must for all visitors to Oahu. It is quite expensive, but when you compare it to other Luau venues, it is not much more, but gives you so much more. Get there right when it opens so you can hit as many of the island experiences as possible–you won’t be able to do it all in one day. We also recommend getting the traditional luau. Finally, don’t skip the night show–it is amazing!
The Luau has pineapple smoothies that are delicious!
I ate the crap out of that pig!
Ko Olina Lagoons
There are four lagoons along the coast, west of Kapolei, that together make up the Ko Olina Lagoons. They provide scenic beaches that are great for photography. You can see one of the lagoons in the image below from Instagrammer @aimeemia5.
Another shot of the lagoon. This one from Nima Asgharbeygi.
Ka’ena Point Beach
Ka’ena Point is a State Park that features hiking and a beach. The beach is less of a swimming beach (those are nearby) and more of scenic beach that is great for photography, as you can see in the image below provided by Alexander Irvine.
Just south of Ka’ena Point State Park is Makua Beach, one of the most secluded beaches on Oahu. You will find beautiful white powder sand beneath a scenic mountain, as you can see in the image below, which was provided by Riley Jones.
There are also some fun features apart from the sandy beach that you can enjoy, like this pool in the image below from Gabby Toledo.
If you want a hike on the Leeward side, Ka’ena Point State Park offers a 3.5 mile moderate trail. There isn’t much shade for most of the hike, as you can see in another shot from John Vedder.
The Leeward side is much more desert, as you can see in the below image of the Ka’ena Point Trail, which was provided by Angela Demaree.
Paradise Cove is a great little swimming hole. It is also the location of a popular luau. You can see the great swimming spot in the image below from Miranda Sites.
The Mermaid Caves are one of the coolest attractions on the Leeward side of Oahu. I’ll let the images show you why.
The image below shows how picturesque the caves can be. It was provided by Mary from the nearby Big Island. If you want to see more of the Big Island, check out her Instagram and our Photography Guide of the Big Island.
Another shot, showing the view looking down in the caves. This one came from local college student @tiaaalynnn.
A final shot of the caves shows how big they are, easily fitting 5 people in one opening. This image was provided by Siena Coughlin.
That is the last of our favorite spots on Oahu. I am sure we missed plenty so please share some of your favorites with us in our Facebook group and please Pin this to share with others or save to read later!