With the right location and framing, everyone can take an ordinary photo and turn it into a beautiful picture. Make sure your next trip to Hawaii comes with a ton of gorgeous instagram images. Here’s a guide to the 30 best places to take pictures in Oahu. With lots of photography tips!
Oahu is an island that offers unforgettable sights and experiences to everyone, including some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But if there’s too much to see and so little time… where do you start looking for the most instagrammable places in Oahu, Hawaii?
Let us show you with this easy guide!
Instagrammable Places in Oahu North Shore
Laniakea Beach – The Incredible Turtle Beach
The name Laniakea means “immense heaven” in Hawaiian. It’s no wonder why this place is one of the most instagrammable in Oahu!
Laniakea Beach is also known as Turtle Beach. It is in fact home to turtles year round.
You will find them more easily in summer, spring and fall.
This gorgeous Hawaiian beach can get crowded at times.
That’s because it’s one of the best places to take pictures in Oahu. Every year there are thousands and thousands of Instagram posts geo-tagged there!
Once you get to Laniakea Beach, make sure you do not disturb the endangered Hawaiian sea turtles.
They enjoy munching on the green grass of the rocky outcrops. So you can also take a few videos that you can share on your socials. Provided that you don’t scare them, of course!
How to get to Laniakea Beach
Turtle Beach in Hawaii is located on the North Shore of Oahu. Only 1 hour from Waikiki.
The easiest way to get there is by adding the following address in your GPS or phone: 61635 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, Oahu.
Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Beach Park is a wonderful beach on the North Shore Oahu region.
The scenic view of the waves crashing against the rocks makes it one of the best Oahu photoshoot locations!
Waimea Bay has clear blue-green water and white sand. Because you will find public bathrooms and outdoor showers, it’s also an ideal place to visit with your family.
The most popular activities on this beach are snorkeling, surfing, boogie boarding… and of course taking tons of pictures!
Because Waimea Bay can be crowded, and the parking area is pretty small, make sure you get there early in the morning.
How to get to Waimea Beach Park
Waimea Beach Park is located past Haleiwa Beach, at 10 minutes from Waimea Falls.
Type the following address in your GPS or phone to get there: 61-31 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Oahu.
Sunset Beach – Sunrise Shack & Surf
Sunset Beach is a Mecca for surfers, and one of the instagrammable places in Oahu if you’re interested in sunset shots.
This is also one of the most “dangerous” beaches in Hawaii. Due to powerful waves year round, but especially in the winter.
Only the most experienced swimmers and surfers venture into the water when the waves are up.
That also means that the photographers who love action shots will have a blast here!
The Sunrise Shack at Sunset Beach is another one of the most instagrammable places in Oahu.
This vibrant café has 3 locations on the island, but this one is by far the most popular!
You can find the other two inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, and at Shark’s Cove in Haleiwa.
This picturesque spot is very much loved also by the locals. So expect it to be pretty busy.
It takes some patience to get a great crowd-free shot, but it’s definitely worth your time!
How to get to Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is located at 59-104 Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa, on the North Shore Oahu region.
One of the most beautiful places in Oahu for a hipster photoshoot is Haleiwa.
This is a super popular destination for hippie surfer travelers, backpackers, and those who are looking for a splash of color on their feed.
Haleiwa Town is great for street photography. You’ll also get to meet locals and people who are visiting from all over the world.
The first instagrammable spots you should hit in Haleiwa are the Haleiwa surfer signs.
Created by Carole Beller, a California-based artist, they are great places to take pictures.
The surfer girl Haleiwa sign is located at 62-330 Kamehameha Hwy, while the surfer boy sign is at 62-400 Joseph P. Leong Hwy.
The angel wings mural in Haleiwa Town is another one of the popular places to take pictures in Oahu.
It’s similar to the instagrammable murals in Miami, and it was painted by the world-famous artist Colette Miller.
Use your phone to find it, at 62-620 Kamehameha Hwy.
It’s on the side of a green building, next to the Rainbow Bridge Gift Shop.
Haleiwa is also one of the best places on the North Shore Oahu Region when it comes to instagrammable food and restaurants.
Once there, you have a few options you should absolutely check out. So… make sure you’re hungry!
Matsumoto Shave Ice is possibly the most famous shaved ice stand in Haleiwa. And in Oahu.
Not only this shaved ice is a hit with the locals. It has also become popular among actors and V.I.P.s who are visiting Oahu on a Hawaii vacation.
Helen and Mamoru Matsumoto opened their shaved ice stand in 1951!
Another instagrammable treat you do not want to miss is the açai bowls at Haleiwa Bowls.
The cute foodies spot is located at 66-030 Kamehameha Hwy and has a convenient parking lot behind the store.
If you just want a snack, consider buying a small bowl (still great if you want to take a few photos) and share! That’s what me and Al did, and it was still large enough for the two of us!
How to get to Haleiwa Town
The best way to get to Haleiwa is by using your rental car.
That’s the address for the city center you can use in your GPS or phone: 66-165 Kamehameha Hwy (13,024.36 km), 96712 Haleiwa, Oahu.
The trip takes just over an hour without traffic from Waikiki.
Insta-Famous Beach Swings in Oahu
I’m sure you’ve already seen these gorgeous pictures with a cute beach swing and the blue ocean in the background.
Well, the beach swings are some of the best kept secret photo spots in Oahu!
Several beach swings are scattered along Kamehameha Highway. We found several while road tripping along the North Shore.
They can be a fantastic photography spot, but they can also be tricky to get onto. Make sure you get some help: in our case, because I’m super clumsy, I couldn’t have done it without Al!
Where is the giant beach swing in Oahu?
Our favorite beach swing in Oahu is at 53-936 Kamehameha Highway Hauula, Oahu.
Ka’ena Point – A Dramatic Lava Shoreline
Kaena Point is the perfect place to take pictures in Oahu, if you’re interested in going for a lovely hike.
Because the only way to get to Kaena Point is on foot, this is one of the secret photo spots in Hawaii you’ll love.
Not many tourists get there and that’s what makes it even better!
Kaena Point is a sacred spot for the Hawaiian people. It is said to be where souls jump off the Earth plane to meet the souls of their ancestors.
There are two hiking trails you can use to get there. Keep your camera ready, because you’ll see lizards, butterflies and lots of birds!
The lucky ones might even catch a glimpse of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal on the beach!
If not, don’t worry: Kaena Point offers sweeping views of the ocean, with the rugged Waianae Mountains in the background.
How to get to Kaena Point
There are two trails that you can use to get to Kaena Point.
From the north side, drive to the end of Farrington Highway and park at the trailhead. This is the hardest trail, due to the fact that it’s always very hot.
From the south side, drive to the end of the road, past Yokohama Beach, up to the trailhead.This hiking trail will let you take gorgeous pictures of white sand beaches and possibly even dolphins!
The Best Honolulu Instagram Spots (+ immediate surroundings)
Honolulu’s Chinatown – The Best Street Photography
The Chinatown historic district in Honolulu is home to a large Chinese-American community. This is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the U.S.A. and among the great Oahu photo spots you can’t miss.
Especially if you love street photography!
There are two different parts to Chinatown in Honolulu.
The Art District, which goes from Fort Street to Maunakea Street and from King Street to Beretania Street.
It’s the Diamond Head side of Chinatown.
The Art District is full of restaurants, boutiques, cafés and studios.
Make sure you stop at the Hawaii Theater for some amazing pictures!
The other part of Chinatown, the more traditional one, is located further west. Here you’ll find lei shops, Chinese herbalists, fruit booths and a big open air market.
How to get to Chinatown in Honolulu
Chinatown is located in Downtown Honolulu.
You can use this address on your GPS or phone, then park your car and explore the area: 100 N Beretania Street, Honolulu, Oahu.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout – For Stunning Views
Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout is one of the most instagrammable places in Oahu for landscape photography.
This cliff in fact offers a panoramic view of Oahu’s northeast coast.
With sheer rocky cliff faces and a lovely view of Honolulu in the distance, this is also a great spot to enjoy the great outdoors in Hawaii.
Nu’uanu Pali is also the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian History. Take some time to read the placards that explain all about the Battle of Nu’uanu!
Entrance to the lookout is free. Yet you will have to pay for parking.
How to get to Nuuanu Pali Lookout
This gorgeous photography spot in Oahu is just about five miles (8 km) from Honolulu.
Use this address on your GPS or phone to get to the parking lot: Nuuanu Pali Drive, Kaneohe, Oahu.
Foster Botanical Garden – A Fairytale Butterfly Oasis
The Foster Botanical Garden can be considered one of the secret Honolulu instagram spots. Tourists have a lot on their plate, so they don’t usually crowd this gorgeous garden.
Make sure you add it to your itinerary!
The Outdoor Butterfly Garden is a unique experience. You’ll get up and close with some colorful (and huge!) butterflies. Get ready to capture that perfect shot!
Admission to Foster Botanical Garden is $5 for adults and just $1 for children 6-12 (children under 5 can visit for free).
How to get to Foster Botanical Garden
Foster Botanical Garden is located at 180 N. Vineyard Blvd. Honolulu, Oahu.
ARVO Cafè – Stylish + Minimal
If you’re looking for instagrammable places in Oahu where you can take pictures of cute food spreads, head over to ARVO!
ARVO serves creative breakfasts, like toasts with unique (super colorful and healthy) toppings or lattes. Here we found stuff we’d never heard of before, like the Lavender latte. Yummy and ig-perfect!
ARVO is an Australian slang word that means “afternoon“.
Which is also when this cafè is most crowded.
Visit as soon as they open in the morning or before they close, to get the most out of your photo session!
How to get to ARVO Café
The Australian-inspired café is located within SALT AT Our Kaka’ako.
Use this address in your GPS or phone: 324 Coral St Suite 1A-104b, Honolulu, Oahu.
Manoa Falls – The Most Fascinating Waterfall in Oahu!
Manoa Falls refers to a popular hiking trail which ends in a gorgeous waterfall. It’s one of the great Oahu photoshoot locations you should add to your itinerary!
The 1.7 miles (2,7 km) trail is moderately difficult and requires good shoes. We did use our hiking boots, as we read that it can get muddy.
When we visited there was no mud at all but we still felt glad to have our boots on!
Parking at the Paradise Park lot will cost you $5. Consider at least a couple of hours to get to the waterfall and head back.
Note: Swimming in the waterfall is not allowed. Make sure you check the trail condition right before you start your hike, as there are occasional flash flood warnings.
How to get to the Manoa Falls Trail
To get to the Manoa Falls parking lot, type in this address in your GPS or phone: 3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, Oahu.
Spitting Cave Trail – Awesome Ocean Views
Spitting Caves is one of the hidden gems in Oahu that not even many locals know about.
It’s a great spot for landscape photography, which is rarely crowded.
The Spitting Cave Trail offers stunning views of rocky cliffs and of the waves crashing against the cave entrance. The colors are absolutely amazing!
Why this name?
Well, there’s a small cave down below, that causes the waves to “spit” up. And that’s it!
Note: Swimming at Spitting Cave is very dangerous. Also make sure to be on the lookout for slippery and uneven rocks!
How to get to the Spitting Cave Trail
The trailhead starts in a residential neighborhood, at the end of Lumahai Street.
There’s a yellow marker with the number “119” on an empty lot.
If you’re using GPS, here’s the address: 7 Lumahai Street, Honolulu, Oahu.
Pearl Harbor Memorial – To Capture History Today
While Pearl Harbor is considered one of the most popular Honolulu instagram spots, it’s not the main reason why we visited.
Both me and Al have a keen interest in history, and so visiting Pearl Harbor was a must for us.
This is an important landmark in U.S. history. Make sure you add it to your itinerary and also please, be respectful throughout the visit.
Pearl Harbor is still a fully-functioning naval port.
The area you can visit houses fascinating artifacts and offers great views of the harbor, especially on sunny days.
You won’t be able to bring any bag inside Pearl Harbor. So make sure to use your smartphone to take pictures. Or bring a tiny camera like a GoPro, that you can just keep in your pocket.
How to get to Pearl Harbor
The right address to get to Pearl Harbor is 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, Oahu.
Beware: typing “Pearl Harbor” on your GPS or phone will take you to the active military base and not to the Visitor Center!
Tantalus Lookout – The Greatest Night Views
The Tantalus/Round Top area is a great photography spot in Oahu. Here you can shoot pictures overlooking Honolulu. If you’re planning to visit Waikiki at night, make sure you also hit this spot. The view is absolutely breathtaking!
Millions of lights shine in the dark, there’s the ocean in the distance and if you’re lucky, also the perfect sky.
How to get to the Tantalus Lookout
To get to the Mount Tantalus Lookout, type in the following address in your GPS or phone: Nutridge Street, Honolulu, Oahu.
From Waikiki, take Ala Wai Boulevard to McCully Street. Then make a right on McCully until you reach Beretania Street, then turn on your left.
Instagrammable Spots in Waikiki and Waikiki Beach
The Royal Hawaiian – The Most Popular Luxury Resort in Waikiki
While scrolling your feed, looking for the most instagrammable places in Oahu, you’ve surely seen a pink hotel.
That’s The Royal Hawaiian, the best place to take pictures in Waikiki!
Everything at the Royal Hawaiian is… pink. Even the delicious dishes they serve.
Like a stack of cute “Pink Palace Pancakes“, which are also absolutely instagrammable.
Since you’re already there, make the most out of your stay!
The most instagrammable and popular area at the Royal Hawaiian is the Coconut Grove.
That’s where you can take great pictures of the property’s Historic Wing, dating back to 1927. As well as the iconic “Royal Hawaiian” sign.
Bonus: from this hotel you can also take amazing pictures of Waikiki Beach!
How to get to the Royal Hawaiian
The Royal Hawaiian is about 9 miles (about 14 km) from Honolulu International Airport.
If you have rented a car, use the following address on your GPS or phone: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu.
The Sheraton Waikiki – The Largest Infinity Pool!
The Sheraton Waikiki has the largest oceanfront infinity pool in North America.
And that’s already enough to be listed as one of the best places to take pictures in Oahu.
To this, add that from this hotel in Waikiki Beach, you can take amazing photos of Diamond Head. Which also makes the perfect backdrop for an amazing Honolulu photo session.
Unfortunately, to access their stunning infinity pool, you will need to spend at least one night at the Sheraton Waikiki.
Once there, make sure you get up early in the morning.
The infinity pool will open at 8AM. You need to be there by then to make sure you can take the best pictures for your feed!
Sunset is also a great time to take pictures at The Sheraton Waikiki. You can choose between the infinity pool (but it’ll be crowded), a tropical cocktail while sitting at their bar, or a photo session outside with Diamond Head in the background.
How to get to the Sheraton Waikiki
The Sheraton Waikiki is one of the beachfront luxury hotels in Waikiki Beach, Oahu.
Find it at 2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu.
Moana Surfrider – Endless inspiration awaits You!
The Moana Surfrider is another one of the super popular Honolulu instagram spots.
This luxury beachfront hotel opened in 1901 and it was the first hotel along Waikiki Beach!
That is why the locals often mention it as the “First Lady of Waikiki“.
Among the best photography spots at the Moana Surfrider there’s its gigantic banyan tree. As well as its colonial-style architecture, often used as a cool background also for stylish photo shoots.
Make sure you order a cocktail at the Beach Bar for some colorful and tropical Hawaii pictures.
If you’re staying at The Moana Surfrider you’ll also want to hit the historic Banyan Wing.
There are so many inspiring places where you can shoot photos for your ig feed!
How to get to the Moana Surfrider
The Moana Surfrider is located in the center of Waikiki, steps away from the legendary Waikiki Beach.
If you’ve rented a car, use this address in your GPS or phone: 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu.
Waikiki Beach – For Iconic Beach Pictures
On our first trip to Oahu, Hawaii, me and Al decided to walk to Waikiki Beach as soon as we got to our hotel.
It was sunset and the view, as we finally stepped on the beach, was breathtaking.
The actual shore is one of the most instagrammable places in Oahu and possibly the most popular beach in Hawaii.
It spans about 2 miles (1.6 km) and offers great views of Diamond Head on one side. And of the luxury hotels on the other side.
While Waikiki Beach is absolutely amazing, no matter when you go, it can also be pretty crowded.
There are quite a lot of hotels, restaurants and shops pretty close, so all the tourists make sure to take a stroll with their feet in the white sand.
Make sure you get to Waikiki Beach early in the morning, if you want to take pictures without having to dodge the crowds.
Another good time (but you’ll probably need a tripod and a decent camera) to take pictures is after the sunset, when tourists move towards the restaurants in the area.
How to get to Waikiki Beach
In case you are driving there, try to park your car at Kalakaua Avenue, and then walk to the beach.
All Oahu beaches are free to the public, so you won’t need to pay a ticket to take lots of pictures on the sand!
Leonard’s Bakery – The Most Delicious Malasadas
One of the things we absolutely wanted to eat in Oahu was a “coco puff“.
Leonard’s Bakery is the most popular place in Oahu where you can order delicious malasadas.
They’re Portuguese deep fried donuts, without a hole, and filled with delicious custard.
The coco puffs are obviously filled with coconut custard. But there are so many different ones, like chocolate, guava or macadamia nuts.
Throughout the years, Leonard’s Bakery has become one of the cute places to take pictures of Oahu.
On Instagram you’ll find a ton of photos of the legendary pink Leonard’s Bakery box!
To get the pink box, you’ll need to order at least half a dozen malasadas.
Don’t worry: there are so many flavors and coatings that you’ll want even more!
Due to the fact that it’s such a popular spot in Oahu, it’s often pretty busy.
Expect to wait in line, unless you decide to get there as soon as they open in the morning.
We found out it’s less crowded in the early afternoon so that’s another option if you’re busy in the morning!
Note: Malasadas are also great souvenirs from Hawaii – they usually survive even long flights!
How to get to Leonard’s Bakery
Use the following address to get to Leonard’s Bakery in Oahu: 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu.
Diamond Head State Monument – Take Great Sunset Pictures
While Diamond Head is quite often used in the background for some tropical Hawaiian photos, it is also one of the instagrammable places in Oahu!
You can in fact hike to the top of Diamond Head.
The trailhead begins within the Diamond Head State Monument. You will be charged an entry fee of $5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor.
Beware: it’s cash only! No credit cards accepted!
The Diamond Head Summit trail hike is one of the most popular hikes in Oahu. It climbs about 500 feet (152 m) up the side of the volcanic crater, to the top of the rim.
Here you’ll be treated to great panoramic views. Especially if you get there at sunset!
Hiking to Diamond Head is moderately difficult. Mostly due to the fact that the trail is windy, rocky, narrow and uneven.
The round-trip hike should take you 2-3 hours.
How to get to Diamond Head
The easiest way to get to Diamond Head is to drive to Monsarrat Avenue. Once you have the Honolulu zoo on your left, and Kapiolani Park on your right, go straight ahead. The uphill road is Diamond Head Road.
Visiting without a car?
Hop on bus n. 23 from Kuhio Avenue towards Diamond Head and hop off at the Diamond Head State Monument bus stop.
If you have rented a car, use the following address with your GPS or phone: junction between Makapuu Avenue and 18th Avenue in Honolulu.
Here’s where you’ll find entrance to the parking lot.
The Best Places to Take Pictures in Oahu South Shore
Halona Beach Cove & Halona Blowhole Lookout
Halona Beach Cove is one of the “secret” places to take pictures in Oahu that are rarely crowded.
The locals also know it as “Eternity Beach“, because of a romantic scene shot here in a 1950’s Burt Lancaster movie, “From Here to Eternity“.
In recent years, Halona Beach Cove has also been used to film scenes from “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides“.
This spot is perfect if you want to take a few different pictures but are short on time.
Here in fact you’ll find a secluded beach cove and also a blowhole!
Halona Beach Cove sits below the blowhole. So you can just hike down to the beach from the blowhole lookout point.
While there are no public facilities here, this place is pretty awesome. If you’re lucky you might even see sea turtles resting on the sand!
How to get to Halona Beach Cove
Halona Beach Cove is just a 20 minute drive from Waikiki Beach. The drive is one of the most scenic on Oahu so you’ll have fun!
Take the H-1 Kalaniana’ole Highway South and keep following the road also when it turns into Hwy 72, past Hawaii Kai and around Koko Crater.
After passing Hanauma Bay, the single lane road winds around the cliff for a few miles, until you reach the Halona Blowhole Lookout parking lot.
Hanauma Bay – The Instagrammable Snorkeling Paradise
Exploring all the most instagrammable places in Oahu might take some time.
We have visited the island quite often. So we spent one day at Hanauma Bay and then on a second trip to Hawaii, we drove all the way to Halona Beach Cove to see the blowhole.
In case you’re short on time, you can visit both places in one day: they’re pretty close!
Hanauma Bay is considered one of the best snorkeling spots in the world. It’s every photographer’s dream, especially if you want to take pictures of the reef, with lots of tropical fishes swimming around!
Make sure you bring a waterproof phone case. They’re cheap and you’ll be able to use your smartphone to take underwater photos and videos for the ‘gram!
Before we got allowed to walk to the beach, we were asked to watch an informative video. With lots of info on what to do and what not to do at the nature preserve.
Have a look at our packing list for Hawaii: we noted down all the things that they suggested we use!
Hanauma Bay is not only one of the best places to take pictures in Oahu. It’s also a legally protected marine conservation site.
Due to its popularity, there’s a new online reservation system to limit the number of visitors.
Make sure to reserve a maximum of 48 hours in advance.
This is actually also a great way to make sure the beach is never overly crowded.
Which means you’ll get to shoot a lot more pictures without having to get there at dawn!
How to get to Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is located on the south side of Oahu, at about 12 miles (19 km) from Waikiki.
If you have rented a car, use this address in your GPS or phone: 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Maunawili Falls – A Secluded Waterfall
Maunawili Falls is one of the popular Oahu photoshoot locations that you can add to your day trip to Pali lookout. They’re pretty close!
This gorgeous hike is one of Hawaii’s gems.
The water drops look like dancing in the air, before they fall into a green rocky pool below.
The trail is usually very muddy, so you should wear a pair of hiking boots (hiking sandals aren’t a good option).
The hike to the waterfall is about 3 miles (4,8 km). It should take you a couple of hours… and a lot of bug spray!
Maunawili Falls – 2022 Update
Maunawili Falls trail was unfortunately closed on July 15, 2021.
This decision was taken due to the many acts of vandalism that nearly destroyed the area.
The closure is expected to be for two years, and includes the trailhead near the Maunawili Estates subdivision.
Meanwhile, you can reach Maunawili Falls by hiking the Maunawili Demonstration Trail.
Yet there’s no parking near the trailhead.
Waimānalo Beach Park – One of the Best Beaches in Oahu
Waimānalo Beach Park is one of the Oahu photoshoot locations where you can spend most of the day.
This beach is absolutely amazing and rarely crowded. Which is a huge bonus if you ask me!
The gorgeous landscape features the Ko’olau Mountains, blue waters, white sand and lots of trees.
While parking is limited, the parking lot is free. If you manage to get there during the week (weekends can be crowded), there will be no one else around.
Waimānalo is one of the best beaches in Hawaii, and provides a nice change of pace if compared to the super crowded Waikiki Beach.
Because it’s such a secluded spot, there aren’t restaurants or beach bars, so you might want to bring lunch with you, in case you’re planning to stay for a while.
How to get to Waimānalo Beach Park
Waimānalo is about 45 minutes from Waikiki Beach.
If you have rented a car, you can use this address in your GPS or phone: 41 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, Oahu.
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail – A Picturesque Park & Trail
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is one of the Oahu photo spots where you can spot whales, if you visit from December to April.
Because I’m kind of obsessed with whales, I added it to our itinerary. Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky!
Yet keep an eye out while you hike. I’ve read so many reports from other travelers who have seen them while climbing up.
According to the others, February and March are the perfect months to see humpback whales.
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a quite easy 2.5 mile hike (4km).
The trailhead is about half an hour from downtown Honolulu.
This is one of the quiet, very nice trails that are perfect for the whole family. Which includes children and furries!
If you have enough time, add the hike from Koko Crater Tramway to Koko Lookout to this day trip to shoot more amazing pictures!
How to get to Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
The parking lot and trailhead to get to Makapu’u Point Lighthouse are located off the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy 72).
From Honolulu, take the H1 freeway east to Highway 72. Follow the road beyond Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park until you reach the parking lot adjacent to the highway.
West Shore: The Secret Photo Spots in Oahu
The Byodo-In Temple – A Bit of Japan in Oahu
Not many people know that in Hawaii there’s a smaller-scale replica of Byodo-in Temple in Uji, that we also visited on our trip to Japan.
The fascinating Byodo-in temple is, in my opinion, one of the most instagrammable places in Oahu. The most picturesque and unexpected ever!
Located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe, this little piece of Japan in Hawaii is possibly the most peaceful corner on the island.
This is a non-practicing Buddhist temple, which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate, or just take lots and lots of pictures.
The temple is surrounded by a luscious landscape, nestled in a cleft of the pali and home to wild peacocks, cats and hundreds of huge Japanese koi carps.
Two of the most instagrammable spots are the red bridge at the entrance, and the bench right in front of the temple.
If you have time, I suggest you just walk around the zen garden: there are so many interesting spots for a nice photo session!
General admission will cost you $5 per person for ages 13-64, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children.
Parking is limited, so visiting early in the morning (they open at 8:30 am) is always a good idea.
How to get to Byodo-in Temple
The Byodo-in Temple is only 13 miles (21 km) from the Honolulu international airport.
You can type the following address in your GPS or phone: 47-200 Kahekili Highway, Kaneohe, Oahu.
Kualoa Ranch – A Great Hawaiian Adventure
Kualoa Ranch is one of the popular places to take pictures in Oahu, if you’re looking for the… Hollywood experience.
There’s a number of places where you can take amazing pictures, because the views on the Oahu coastline are absolutely breathtaking.
You can’t explore the Kualoa Ranch without a tour. Yet you might realize soon that there’s a number of different, super fun tours you will love.
ATV Raptor Tours, Hollywood Movie Sites tours, Horseback Walking tours and many more.
Make sure to reserve your spot well in advance: some of the popular Kualoa Ranch tours fill up months in advance!
How to get to Kualoa Ranch
Driving to Kualoa from Waikiki is super easy.
Use the following address: 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, Oahu.
Kualoa Regional Park – The Best Chinaman’s Hat Island Views
Kualoa Regional Park is an interesting alternative for those visiting Hawaii on a budget, who do not want to buy a ticket to enter Kualoa Ranch.
The entrance is located directly across the street!
Considered one of the good-and-free Oahu photoshoot locations, Kualoa Regional Park is also a great place to spend some time relaxing. Also with your family.
Surrounded by palm trees, Kualoa is popular because of the view to nearby Mokoli’i Island. Also known as Chinaman’s Hat because of its shape!
Kualoa Regional Park is great to take pictures of the Jurassic Park landscape, without having to book a tour at Kualoa Ranch.
You will also find free parking, bathrooms and a few nice picnic areas. So you can spend the day here relaxing and experiencing the Aloha Spirit!
How to get to Kualoa Regional Park
Kualoa Regional Park is located next to Kualoa Ranch.
Here’s the address: 49-479 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, Oahu.
Lanikai Beach – White Sand & Surfing Galore!
Lanikai Beach is the one place (aside from Haleiwa Town), where me and Al took the most surfing photos in Hawaii.
And also the place where you can take the perfect Hawaiian beach postcard picture.
This gorgeous beach on Oahu has the softest white sand, incredible views of Mokulua Islands… and a lot of photo options.
The local photographers love to take pictures of the sunrise.
The view is in fact amazing, because you can see the Mokulua Islands in the bay, and you can just walk though the palm trees on the beach. While someone (or your camera on a tripod) keeps on shooting.
Unfortunately, Lanikai Beach doesn’t have a parking lot. There aren’t even public facilities such as bathrooms or showers.
Make sure you park your car where you’re allowed to, and then just walk to the beach.
How to get to Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is about 40 minutes from downtown Honolulu.
From Waikiki, take the H1 west and then the Pali Highway (61) to Kailua.
Turn right on Kailua Street, then merge left, towards the ocean.
Turn right onto Kawailoa Street and follow the road until it turns into Aalapapa.
As the street loops around, keep driving until it turns into Mokumanu, on the oceanside.
Start looking for a place to park your car: be careful of the “No Parking” signs because patrol enforcement is frequent!
Lanikai Pillbox Hike – The Most Colorful Hiking Trail in Oahu
The Kaiwa Ridge Trail, also known as Lanikai Pillbox hike, is one of the most instagrammable hikes in Oahu.
The trail overlooks Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands.
The 1.8 mile (2,8 km) hike is marked as moderate to difficult, and it should take you a couple of hours roundtrip. Depending of course on your pace and how many times you’ll stop to take pictures.
The Lanikai Pillbox hike features gorgeous wild flowers, as well as scenic views of Chinaman’s Hat, Waimanalo Bay, Kaneohe Bay and the Makapu’u Lighthouse.
How to get to Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Drive to Lanikai to get to the trail.
The trailhead is located on a small street with no name, that branches off of Ka’elepupu drive.
There’s a sign indicating the Pillbox hike!
You will find a few parking spots on the right hand side, by the entrance gate to the Mid-Pacific Country club.
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This post is also available in: Italiano