When people imagine the stunning hues of a sunrise or sunset, the first place they picture is a Hawaiian island. Oahu, Hawaii, is home to some of the most jaw-dropping backdrops on the planet! Nothing beats watching nature’s dramatic introduction to or finale of a day well spent reflect in the shimmering ocean, palm trees gently swaying in the distance. The only challenge is finding the perfect spot to encounter such a captivating moment. Here are just a few of our favorite places to catch an incredible sunrise or sunset on Oahu! To help you spend less time planning and more time experiencing, we compiled a hand-picked list of the region’s best restaurants, shops, and seasonal events. Access our free Oahu Travel Guide today!
The Best Places to See a Breathtaking Sunset on Oahu
With “sunset” in the name of this beach, why would you want to end the day anywhere else? This famous North Shore beach offers unparalleled views and access to charming Haleiwa Town. We recommend making an all-day event of a visit to Sunset Beach! From your rental on the North Shore, head into town for some garlic shrimp, a sweet treat or two from Ted’s Bakery, and end the day hunkered down on the shore to watch the sun go down. There’s no better way to spend quality time relaxing. Not surprisingly, Sunset Beach is also one of the best spots to watch the sunrise over Oahu!
Ala Moana Beach Park
An Ala Moana Beach Park sunset on Oahu is unforgettable. If you prefer to spend some time in the heart of Honolulu’s urban center, this spot is the perfect place for you to end a full day of fun and adventure. In addition to stunning views, this park offers plenty of people-watching and nearby things to do. Ala Moana Beach Park is where local urbanites take a break from their evening run, bike ride, or shopping spree and take in the view as the sun sinks below the horizon. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget! Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the best places to watch the sunset near Waikiki; it’s within walking distance of this popular region of Oahu.
China Walls is a stretch of lava-rock ledges and cliffs that hang above the ocean and a true hidden gem for sunset chasers! Just off the beaten path of Koko Kai Mini Beach Park and nestled within a residential Hawaii Kai neighborhood, China Walls offers panoramic views of the surrounding ocean. Choose this short Oahu sunset hike and you might even see some cliff jumpers along the way! Enjoy the view, but don’t venture too close to the edge of the cliffs here. The footing can be slippery and the waves below can occasionally prove powerful!
Kualoa Beach Park
Kualoa Beach Park on the windward coast of Oahu is one of the very best places to experience a breathtaking sunset. This park features an array of natural spots perfect for relaxing with the family and simply taking in the view. We recommend taking the trip out to nearby Mokoli’i Island, which is nicknamed “Chinaman’s Hat” for its unique shape. From this tiny island, you’ll witness the most spectacular sunsets! You can access this island by paddling out in a kayak or on a surfboard.
The Best Spots to Catch the Sunrise on Oahu
Lanikai Beach is one of Oahu’s most amazing sunrise spots. It’s also often touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so be sure to get there long before the sun actually rises (to avoid crowds). The clouds over the ocean often help create an incredible display of color here as the sun rises. You don’t want to miss it! Finding Lanikai Beach can be a little tricky, but that’s part of what makes it the perfect off-the-beaten-path Oahu attraction!
The Diamond Head Road Lookout
If you have plans early in the morning or simply aren’t able to hike out to a vantage point, try the Diamond Head Road Oahu lookout! All you have to do is hop in the car and drive uphill on Diamond Head Road, park, then await the sunrise. If you don’t mind walking, you can also park at the bottom of the road and enjoy a nice uphill climb! <etered parking at the park is free until 10 a.m., and it costs nothing at the lookout itself.
Makapu’u Beach Park
It’s hard to go wrong watching the sunrise from any place on Oahu, but Makapu’u Beach Park is an especially stunning spot. As the site of one of Oahu’s best lighthouse hikes, this park offers incredible views of the island’s rocky coastline. Makapu’u Beach Park is also an excellent place to enjoy some Oahu whale watching! Simply take the Lighthouse Trail (with plenty of water, a sweater, and other hiking essentials) for an unforgettable sunrise view.
Up for a real challenge? If hiking a strenuous trail in darkness sounds like your kind of adventure, a Koko Head sunrise needs to be on your bucket list! The nearly 2-mile trail on the rim of a crater consists of over 1,000 steps. You’ll need a small backpack filled with a flashlight, lots of water, a sweater or light jacket, and a snack. It’s no secret that the sunrise views from the top are incredible, so be prepared to face a crowd even before daylight.
See It All From Your Very Own Private Beach!
After a full day of exploring stunning natural wonders, dining on local cuisine, and becoming one with Oahu, come back to the comfort and luxury of one of our beachfront accommodations! Each one of our bright and airy rentals boasts ocean views and premium amenities found nowhere else on the island. At Hawaii Beach Homes, we’re dedicated to making you feel right at home during your trip. There’s no better place to experience Aloha than on your very own private home on the beach! Choose between our North Shore and South Shore properties. No matter where you stay on Oahu, you’ll be just a short drive away from everything the island has to offer.