Whether you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time or you’re a returning island-lover, these Hawaii Landmarks are must-sees.
One way to see a majority of them at once is to take a Circle Island Tour with Discover Hawaii Tours, but until then here’s some fun facts about these Hawaii Landmarks; scroll through them all or click below to jump to your favorites.
Diamond Head, Halona Blowhole, Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater, Makapuu Lookout, Punchbowl Crater, Chinaman’s Hat, Kaaawa Movie Valley, Pali Lookout, Laie Point, Laniakea Beach, Turtle Beach “Lani’s”, Sunset Beach.
Hawaii landmarks on South Shore
Considered one of the most recognizable icons of Hawaii, Diamond Head Crater is an extinct volcano that irrupted briefly about 150,000 years ago.
For the adventurous type there is a medium difficulty hike leading up to the rim of the crater. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete the journey.
Learn more about Diamond Head.
A volcanic rock formation at the southeast shore, the Halona Blowhole is a natural geyser that shoots seawater over 30 ft in the air with the right conditions.
There is a parking lot and observation platform right off the road where you can view this exciting landmark.
Learn more about the Halona Blowhole.
When most people think of snorkeling in Hawaii they think of Hanauma Bay. This protected cove was once a volcano but is now an ideal snorkeling location with its calm shallow waters and abundant sea life.
The park is very busy with guests so you must get there early in the day if you wish to get in. The park has everything you need for a fun day on the beach but you may want to bring your own equipment.
Learn more about Hanauma Bay.
Another extinct volcano, Koko Crater is directly adjacent to the east of Hanauma Bay with the Halona Blowhole at its base. At its peak it stands 1208 ft. tall.
For an amazing view of Hanuama Bay and the surrounding coast line, there is a hike up Koko Crater that is made of wooden stairs going straight up the slope.
Learn more about Koko Crater.
On the very east tip of Oahu you can pull off the road to take in the amazing view that the Makapuu Lookout has to offer. You will see Manana Island and beautiful Makapuu beach.
The parking lot for the lookout is located directly off the road and provides ample parking.
Learn more about the Makapuu Lookout.
This extinct volcano also serves as the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It offers a wonderful monument in the center of the cemetery to the brave men and women who gave their service in conflicts of the Pacific.
It’s free to drive into the memorial and walk around. Some of the best views of Honolulu and Diamond Head are from the lookout point at the crater’s rim.
Learn more about the Punchbowl Crater.
Hawaii landmarks on Windward side
The tiny basalt island of Mokolii in Kaneohe bay is called “Chinaman’s Hat” because of the likeness to the chinese straw hat that many chinese immigrants wore.
This Hawaii landmark is very accessible right off the major highway, Kamehameha Highway, just outside of Kaneohe. There is a large beach park that has an extensive grassy area and parking lot to match; a great place to picnic.
Learn more about Chinaman’s Hat.
Visit the most famous valley in movie history! Kualoa Ranch offers Movie Site Tours that bring you through the locations where blockbusters like Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla and such prime time TV shows like Lost and Hawaii 5-0 were filmed.
The Pali Lookout offers a close encounter with the final battle that united the Hawaiian islands under one monarchy, the Battle of Nuuanu.
When you stand on the platform viewing the raw nature of the Pali cliffs, the ghosts of the past seem to come alive. You can almost see the brave Oahu warriors being forced the jump off the cliff to their deaths.
Learn more about the Pali Lookout.
Hawaii landmarks on North Shore
Brigham Young University-Hawaii and its sister institution the Polynesian Cultural Center are the staples of the Laie community. Our Polynesian Cultural Tours will give you a Laie experience you will not soon forget.
Out on a peninsula away from the attractions and tucked inside a neighborhood is Laie Point, a sandstone dune that has been compacted over time from the pounding surf and turned into a lithified dune that jets out into the ocean.
Learn more about Laie Point.
If you’re driving the North Shore in the summer or on weekends you’ve probably got stuck in traffic just outside Haleiwa. That’s because of Laniakea Beach and its resident sea turtles that many people stop to see.
The turtles can be seen sunbathing there only 50 ft from the road. This attracts many curious turtle-lovers to stop and take pictures. It is fun to get out and see them but don’t get too close; they’re an endangered species and protected by the government.
Learn more about Laniakea Beach.
Perhaps no Hawaii landmark is more aptly named then Sunset Beach. This expansive coastline offers a huge golden beach that faces west for some of the most spectacular sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Sunset beach offers beachside parking as well as a parking lot directly across from the beach on the other side of the road with restrooms and beach showers. Some of the North Shore’s best surf competitions are held at Sunset Beach.
Learn more about Sunset Beach.