Where there are towering mountains and sparkling seas, there are also secret spots where you can see it all from a bird’s eye view. Whether you’re in pursuit of the perfect Instagram shot or simply want to soak in a panoramic view of Hawaii sans electronics, these Oahu lookouts should be on your itinerary! Keep reading to learn where to find them. Don’t forget to consult our complimentary Oahu Travel Guide for more of our best local recommendations!
6 of the Most Breathtaking Oahu Lookouts
Stairway to Heaven
The fear factor of hiking the illegal Stairway to Heaven on Oahu (also known as the Haiku Stairs) is why it has remained a thrillseeker favorite! Even now that the official entrance has been closed to the public (sneaking in can result in fines up to $1,000 per incident), people find ways to achieve the experience. Be sure to read our Stairway to Heaven blog post to learn the legal way to access this infamous Oahu lookout.
Hanauma Bay Lookout
Most people know Hanauma Bay as Oahu’s prime snorkeling destination, but it’s also home to a fabulous bird’s eye view. As you arrive at Hanauma Bay, keep your eyes peeled for two short trails that lead to lookout points. One is located near the entrance and the other can be found farther east. From either high-altitude spot, you’ll be able to see the enormous coral reef below that more than 450 species of tropical fish call home.
Also known as the Makapu-u Lighthouse Trail, this East Shore lookout is one of the most incredible lighthouse hikes on Oahu. This short hike is just under two miles round-trip! It’s also paved, making it more accessible for those with disabilities. The lighthouse, which was built in 1909, is still functional and can be seen from the summit of this iconic lookout. Makapu-u Lookout is an ideal spot for whale watching on Oahu!
Diamond Head Crater
If you’re looking for a stunning view of the entire South Shore, hiking Diamond Head State Monument is a must. Though under a mile in length, the trail’s incline is steep. Once you’ve made it to the top, you’ll notice that you’re actually on the edge of an enormous crater. From the crater rim, you’re treated to a jaw-dropping view of Waikiki and the Honolulu skyline. It’s well worth the sweat!
One of the best Oahu spots for seeing the sunset is Mount Tantalus. This South Shore spot was cheekily named for its steep incline, but almost anyone can enjoy this panoramic view of Diamond Head, Punchbowl Crater, and Honolulu. Mount Tantalus is an extinct cinder cone that features a crater summit, much like Diamond Head. Once you’ve reached the top of the 2,020-foot high crater, be sure to snap a photo of the city nearly a mile below.
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
An unforgettable view of the Ko’olau mountain range awaits at the Nu’uana Pali Lookout! From the 985-foot cliff summit, you’ll be able to see the lush greenery of the East Shore as well as Chinaman’s Hat, Kailua, and Kaneohe.
These Oahu lookouts are exciting adventures you’ll want to experience with all of your family and friends. After a fun day of exploring, there’s nothing finer than returning to your Hawaii Beach Homes vacation rental, where you’ll continue to enjoy incredible ocean views. Our properties on the North and South Shores of Oahu seamlessly blend modern luxury with timeless natural beauty. We also offer plenty of special offers and discounted rates on our homes to help you save money for making memories on the island!