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5 Amazing Places You Must See on Oahu, Hawaii

The best part about Oahu is that everything is just a day trip away (or closer!).  Here are 5 places you must go if you are planning a stay on Oahu.  All include gorgeous scenic and historical areas, some with breath-taking overlooks.  Get your camera ready (and you may want to bring some hiking shoes as well!)

hanauma bay sunrise

Travel and Tourism Photography by Caroline Martin Photography.

Overlooking Hanauma Bay at sunrise.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is the home to living coral reefs, tropical fish, eels and turtles.  It is a protected marine life conservation area, to help preserve the fragile coral reef that is food to so many of the sea creatures.  The bay is a favorite for snorkelers because it offers crystal clear waters and plenty of sea life to behold.  The park opens at 6am and it is suggested that you get there and find a parking space as early as possible because it will fill up fast!  I recommend waking up early for a sunrise hike up the trail along the bay.  The overlook is amazing and watching the sunrise here is absolutely breathtaking.  After a hike, head down to the park and enjoy some snorkeling.  You are guaranteed to see some beautiful fish and other sea life!

 Waikiki at Diamond Head Overlook

Overlooking Wakiki from the top Of Diamond Head

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a very popular spot for hiking on the eastern side of Oahu.  It is a crater which formed over 200,000 years ago during an explosive volcanic eruption.  This spot was Hawaii’s first military reserve and served as a way to protect Honolulu from sea based attacks.  Part of the crater is now open to the public and offers absolutely amazing views from the shoreline of Koko Head to Wai’anae.  The hike is about 0.8 miles and is suitable for most levels of hikers.  I even saw many people climbing it in flip flops!  Climb to the top in time for sunset.  You will not be disappointed!

Surfing at Sunset Beach North Shore Oahu Hawaii

Travel and Tourism Photography by Caroline Martin Photography.

Surfer heading out for a sunset surf at Banzai Pipeline.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is the the home to the famous Banzai Pipeline and is the longest stretch of ride-able surf in the world!  The beach is located in Pupukea on Oahu’s North Shore.  In the winter time, waves can reach amazing heights and the break is shallow which forms the “tube” that surfers all over the world love to ride.  You must be experienced to ride here because the surf is so huge and the coral reefs are unforgiving if you fall on them.  The culture in Sunset Beach is laid back and made for surfers but even if you aren’t one, you’ll feel welcome to explore or bike along the beach for some amazing sites.  You will also find food trucks lining the main road.  Try the Elephant Truck for some great Pad Thai and an Acai Bowl from Crispy Grindz.

 Lulumahu Falls Hike Oahu Hawaii

A scenic point along the way to Lulumahu Falls.

Lulumahu Falls Hike

Lulumahu Falls is a hike ending with a beautiful waterfall and the views along the way are spectacular!  Located right off the Pali Highway and on the way to Kailua, this hike is easy to access and a good medium level trek.  The first part of the hike is through the woods, but not very far.  You then come to a clearing surrounded by mountains full of texture where the light plays with the curves in the landscape.  Standing in the valley made me feel like I had been transported into a scene from Jurassic Park!  Take some time and soak in the landscape here then be prepared for the next part of the journey to the waterfall!

 Scenic spot from Makapu'u Lighthouse hike on Oahu Hawaii

Overlooking Makapu’u Beach Park.


The overlook at Makapu’u is right off of the Kalanianaole Highway and is easily accessible to anyone traveling on the east side of Oahu.  This entire stretch of this windy coastal highway has breathtaking views around every curve.  The Makapu’u beach itself is located under neath of the Makapu’u Lighthouse, which is a perfect short hike and is most beautiful at sunrise.  The Makapu’u Beach Park below is a popular spot for body boarding.  Go a little further north to Baby Makapu’u, one of the local’s favorite surf spots!

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