What Are the Best Scenic Lookouts Around the Islands?

The Hawaiian Islands have some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. From large sea cliffs, vertical mountain ranges, and amazing coastlines there is just so much to see. Mark Twain described the islands as, “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.” Along with many other famous authors, the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands is admired around the globe. Throughout the islands there’s a panorama of viewpoints that can easily be seen from public lookout areas. Here are our 5 favorite scenic lookouts we see on several of our tours. Waimea Canyon Located on the island of Kauai, Waimea Canyon is the largest canyon of the Pacific, stretching 10 miles long and 1 mile wide. From a glimpse, it closely resembles the Grand Canyon with dramatic cliff drops and massive carved out valleys. The canyon walls display a long history of flooding rivers and volcanic eruptions that sculpted the 3,500 ft gorge. We enjoy the canyon so much, we made it the theme of our Kauai Tour, the Waimea Eco Adventure Tour. Insider Tip: Keep your eyes out for the Waimea Canyon Waterfall that flows during the rainy season Makapu’u Lookout On the most eastern point of Oahu, Makapu’u lookout offers terrific views of the beautiful windward coastline. The steep cliff drops below you lead to the pristine bay of Makapu’u Beach, where you can get aerial views of body boarders surfing a fierce shore break. Perfect wind conditions offer a premiere ridge soaring site where hang gliders fly above you’re head. Smaller rocky islands hug the coastline that serve as bird sanctuaries. In the winter months, you can see whales leaping out of the ocean all over the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful picturesque Makapu’u Lookout is a stop on several of our Oahu Island Tours. Insider Tip: Have your camera ready in case whales start surfacing. Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook Not too long ago, the mile wide Kilauea Iki Crater was a massive lake of hot lava. In 1959, the largest of eruptions in the area occurred with lava spewing over 400 meters into the air. Today the scenic area is tranquil with dried lava fields and high viewpoints that allow you to see the Big Island coastline from miles away. The Kilauea Iki Crater sits on the Mt Kilauea summit, part of the Volcanoes National Park, and is a highlight on our Big Island Volcano Tour. Insider Tip: You can see smoke rising in the air from where Mt. Kilauea’s stream of lava meets the ocean off in the distance. Keanae Lookout On the world-famous Road to Hana of Maui, the Keanae Lookout gives you fantastic views of the Maui coastline and Keanae Peninsula. Beneath you are taro patch farms making a checkered landscape in the distance. Waves violently crash into the black lava rock coastline with steep sea cliffs and lush tropical foliage. Gaze back and you’ll see the windy coastal road above the sea cliffs that you just rode up on. You can see this magnificent lookout on our own Road to Hana Tour. Insider Tip: The small structures you see in the distance are old Hawaiian villages on the Keanae Peninsula. Nuuanu Pali Lookout The Nuuanu Pali, meaning “cool height cliff,” is rich in history and considered the best scenic lookout on Oahu. It was here in 1795, where King Kamehameha defeated the Oahu Army pushing them over the cliff sides, thus resulting in the unification of the Hawaiian Islands. Today you can stand on the same area of the historical battle while witnessing breath-taking views of Oahu’s east coast. Looking out you’ll see the jagged edged Koolau Mountain Range, lush tropical rainforests, and the pristine Kaneohe Bay. You’ll feel the cool trade winds blowing hard as wind tunnels form around the steep mountain sides. Witnessing the awe-inspiring  Pali Lookout is a great experience and can be seen on several of our island tours on Oahu. Insider Tip: The trade winds can be chilly at times, so bring something warm in case you get cold. All these lookouts make up the the incredibly diverse landscape of Hawaii. From steep mountain ranges, volcanic craters, massive canyons, to sparkling blue waters, the scenery around you is amazing. Every island has different landscapes to see that’s unique from the rest of the world. The lookouts, owned by the state, offer fantastic views around the islands, with little to no hiking necessary. Come experience these stunning view points with us and see the natural highlights of the Islands.

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