What to Do in Hawaii: Scenic Lookouts on Oahu

So you’re on Oahu, online at your hotel (or condo, or beach-side private home, doesn’t matter!) and you’re planning what to do in Hawaii for a full day of sightseeing. We’ve got just the perfect destinations for you! Five scenic lookouts on Oahu: attractions that have you wishing your vacation never ends. Get your pen (or tablet) ready for some heavy note-taking. Let’s check out the best things to do in Hawaii!

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Located off the Pali Highway in Central Oahu, the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout will blow you away—literally! Winds here can reach up to 80 mph, so hold onto your hats on your visit to the Pali Lookout. Historically, the Pali Lookout is one of Hawaii’s most significant locations. Here, King Kamehameha I and his army fought a fierce, bloody battle in an effort to unite the Hawaiian Islands as one nation. Kamehameha succeeded, consequently sending thousands of enemies over the steep cliff. When the Old Pali Highway under went construction in the late 1800s, nearly 800 bodies of warriors were found at the base of the mountains. It’s not all grim, however. The views of Kailua and Kaneohe—sister towns in Windward Oahu—are breathtaking. The ridges of the Ko’olau Mountains to the left of Pali Lookout make for an stunning photo opportunity. Don’t miss this stop on your vacation!  Click here to learn more.

Laie Point State Wayside Park

You’re not up the mountains at this scenic Oahu lookout, but it’s definitely one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean on the island (and here’s why). Feel free to walk about the area, where rocky flats stand high above crashing ocean waves below. Locals love to fish, cliff jump, and play music with friends here at Laie Point. To the left, you’ll see one of Oahu’s greatest natural wonders: an offshore island with a puka, or hole, in its center. The forces of Mother Nature once hit the island so hard that a hole was dug right through the middle! It’s been the most memorable landmark of Laie Point ever since. You’ll want to stay here a long time. We don’t blame you! Join us on your next trip to Oahu

Hanauma Bay

For a small admission fee, you can park in the Hanauma Bay parking lot and walk to one of Oahu’s most popular lookout points. (With a tour, all admission fees are included, even better!) On a clear day, you can peer into the waters below and watch snorkelers exploring the coral reefs teeming with tropical marine life. The water is a crystal blue-green, and the waves crash gently at the bay’s crescent opening, making their way slowly to shore. Hanauma Bay is one of the must-see things to do in Oahu. Click here to book your trip to Hanauma Bay.

Makapu’u Lookout

Are you finding yourself asking this question: What is there to do in Hawaii between Laie Point and Hanauma Bay? Plenty! But if there’s one stop you must make along the way, it’s the Makapu’u Lookout. You don’t want to miss this gorgeous scenic lookout! As the most eastern point of Oahu, Makapu’u Lookout offers views of offshore Rabbit Island, Waimanalo Beach Park, and humpback whales off in the distance on a clear day. And if you have time, be sure to hike up to the top (about 45 minutes roundtrip) and experience the lookout near Makapu’u Lighthouse, sitting atop the rocky cliffs. If you want to experience Makapuu Lookout on your vacation, leave that to us!

Diamond Head Crater Lookout

Last but not least: Diamond Head. You have two choices for an amazing scenic lookout on this remarkable mountain. Hike your way to the top, or check out Diamond Head Crater lookout. The hike is best in the late afternoon or early morning—you’ll experience a sky bursting with the colors of dusk (or dawn). The lookout is just the same, and is a great place to finish your circle island tour of Oahu.

So much more to discover

That was just the top five most popular lookouts. For more on what to do in Hawaii, join us on an Oahu Circle Island Tour. Click the button below to discover Oahu at its best!

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