If you love gorgeous tropical flowers and cascading waterfalls, Oahu is a photographer’s dream! Find out some of the most beautiful places on Oahu that will make you fall in love with Hawaii!
This most beautiful places to go in Oahu post was originally written September 29, 2019 and was updated March 28, 2022 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Some of the most beautiful places in Oahu are the lush, green mountains and golden, sandy beaches.
Oahu is one of the best Hawaiian islands for photographers because it has such a variety of beautiful backdrops and amazing Oahu attractions.
Below you can read about 13 of the most beautiful places to visit in Oahu. They’ll definitely have you doing a double-take, deciding if that vision of beauty is real or just a figment of your imagination.
You’ll want to hit up these Hawaiian Island attractions for the best views in Oahu. These are seriously the best Oahu Instagram spots!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu.
Popular Oahu Tours/Activities
- Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour (this is a fun adventure with the prettiest views)
- Full Pearl Harbor Tour (this is the BEST way to do everything at Pearl Harbor)
- Hawaii Bucket List Tour (you get to pick where you stop on this custom Oahu circle island tour)
- Toa Luau (this is my all-time favorite Oahu luau)
- CLIMB Works Ziplining (this is the longest zipline on Oahu)
- Book a Photo Shoot (this is a Hawaii souvenir you’ll treasure forever)
Favorite Oahu Resorts/Hotels
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Oahu Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
FAQ about Beautiful Places on Oahu
Waikiki is one of the most popular Oahu places to visit and it’s also really pretty. There are beautiful parks and iconic golden sand beaches. Or you can walk toward the Diamond Head side to get away from the crowds.
Oahu truly has something for every traveler. There’s world-class shopping, epic hiking, incredible diving, and an exciting nightlife, and more! And there are awesome family-friendly Honolulu tourist attractions.
Most Beautiful Places on Oahu
Oahu is full of stunning natural wonders and scenic lookouts. You won’t have to go far to take in epic views!
1. Lanai Lookout
The breathtaking Lanai Lookout is often overlooked, but it’s one of the coolest Oahu island attractions.
What’s really special about this lookout are the stunning lava formations.
And the dazzling blue waves crash into the rock formations creating one of the greatest photo opportunities on Oahu.
At Lanai Outlook you may just be lucky enough to witness humpback whales frolicking off the coast!
2. Laniakea Beach
Also known as Turtle Beach, Laniakea Beach hard not to get excited by the giant green sea turtles that bask in the sun. They call this area home, so enjoy the sight, but don’t disturb them!
Laniakea Beach is part of the 7 Mile Miracle. This is a stretch of beaches all with an the perfect surf, sand, and shoreline found anywhere on Earth.
It’s a place of great beauty that people come from all over the world to see. Plus it’s a fun Instagram spot on Oahu’s North Shore.
Puʻuohiʻa, is also known as Tantalus, is a botanical paradise. It’s also popular with cyclists, hikers, and a birdwatchers. It’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu.
Few places on Oahu retain the mystery as Tantalus has.
Tons of kukui and banyan trees line the mountainous road where you might see mongooses crossing!
Enjoy the sound of shama thrush singing in the trees covered in giant vining philodendron leaves. It’s a peaceful and woodsy place to enjoy a walk.
Tantalus is one of the last places protected by the growing tourism industry. Islanders say it reminds them of old Hawaii or even the Garden of Eden.
4. Ka’a’awa Valley
Ka’a’awa Valley is one of Oahu’s most beautiful valleys and is largely untouched by modern development. That’s what makes it one of the top Oahu tourist attractions for photographers.
In ancient times, it was considered to be one of the most sacred places on Oahu.
The Ka’a’awa Valley has been used for location filming for more than 50 major motion pictures and television productions.
So if you feel like you’re in Jurassic Park, it’s because you are! Don’t worry though, it was just a movie, right?
5. Byodo-In Temple
The non-denominational temple grounds of Byodo-In Temple are a lush paradise nestled in a cleft of the Nu’uanu Pali cliffside.
The Byodo-In Temple grounds include meditation areas and a large reflecting pond with hundreds of Japanese koi. There are stunning statues, small waterfalls, and even wild peacocks.
It’s one of the most beautiful places in Oahu Hawaii to just get away from it all. And because it’s hidden away, it’s a popular place to take photos. Check out my full Byodo-In Temple guide.
6. Kaneohe Sandbar
Kaneohe Sandbar is a collection of exposed islets surrounding coral reefs and is the only such place in all of Hawaii.
It’s a very narrow beach protected by a coral reef. At low tide it’s a beautiful bright white beach with calm, waist-high water.
Kaneohe sandbar is surrounded by the striking Ko’olau Mountains, features crystalline turquoise waters, and fine white sand. It’s truly a picturesque slice of paradise!
7. Maunawili Falls
If you’re looking for an amazing Oahu hike to a waterfall, Maunawili Falls has so much character.
There are many gorgeous Oahu waterfall hikes are gorgeous, but this is one of my favorite!
It has several clearings that open up the valley and then you realize just how deep in the jungle you are. It’s a beautiful place to get away from the city.
8. Waikiki Beach
Even if you’re not a fan of crowds, you can’t deny that Waikiki Beach is a beautiful part of Oahu.
But if you head to the eastern part of the beach, closer to Diamond Head, you’re in for a real treat! It’s actually one of my favorite places in Oahu.
Here, it’s much less crowded. You’ll get to enjoy this amazing beach without having to fight for a spot for your towel.
And the views of Diamond Head are simply gorgeous. It’s no wonder it’s one of the top Honolulu attractions!
9. Kualoa Ranch
Technically the Ka’a’awa Valley and Kualoa Ranch are in the same space. But I decided to separate them for this post because they offer different experiences.
Kualoa Ranch is in the perfect spot to see mountains on one side and coastline on the other.
The ranch has some of the best activities in Oahu, like movie tours, ATV rides, and jungle treks.
It’s also a popular Oahu wedding destination, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s truly one of the must-do attractions in Oahu island.
10. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
You might have seen Instagram photos of people standing on an empty road in Hawaii. chances are it was taken at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden on Oahu.
It’s recently become one of the top tourist attractions in Oahu. It’s hands down one of the top places to see in Oahu!
Now, technically you aren’t supposed to take photos standing in the road. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not still one of the top beautiful Oahu Instagram spots.
Here, you’ll see lush gardens right up against the mountain and it’s enough to make any photographer fall in love.
There are also several other places to take photos here, like from the parking lot or service road. It’s no wonder it’s one of the top attractions in Honolulu.
11. Crouching Lion
If you are looking for magazine-worthy places on Oahu, Crouching Lion is it. In fact, it made the cover of Hawaii Magazine!
There used to be a few hiking trails up to Crouching Lion, but they were closed due to deaths on the trail. For your safety, I don’t recommend hiking here, though some people still try!
However, you can still take in the beauty of Crouching Lion from several places around Ka’a’wa on Oahu’s Leeward Coast.
12. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
It isn’t a natural wonder on Oahu. But the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is seriously one of the most beautiful hotels in Hawaii.
It’s nicknamed the “Pink Palace” and you will truly feel like a princess when walking around the grounds! You’ll love the dramatic and detailed architecture. And the lobby and the grounds are all stunning.
It’s also home to an awesome Waikiki luau that’s pretty impressive! Personally, I think this hotel is one of the prettiest places in Oahu!
13. Kailua Beach
If you are looking for one of the best beaches on Oahu, Kailua Beach will be at the top of your list. It’s one of the best places to go in Oahu.
Here, you’ll find powdery sand and clear blue water. It’s definitely a great stop on your sightseeing in Oahu tour of the island.
Plus, you can see Chinaman’s Hat, a little island right off the coast.
14. Waimea Valley
Another amazing North Shore Oahu spot is Waimea Valley (also home to Waimea Falls). This valley actually has a cultural garden you can walk through.
But, the reason you’ll want to head to Waimea Valley is to do the short hike to Waimea Falls. This is one of the few Oahu waterfalls you can swim in.
15. Nu’uana Pali Lookout
This place is the site of an important battle in Hawaiian history and that’s worth the stop alone. However, it’s also just an incredibly gorgeous view of Oahu.
Just be prepared, because it’s a VERY windy spot! It can feel like you’ll fly away. But, that’s also fun for photos!
Hire an Oahu Vacation Photographer
If you really want to take advantage of the most beautiful places to visit on Oahu, consider hiring a vacation photographer. Check out the latest prices and more details.
While we’ve used a lot of Oahu vacation photographers throughout the years, some of my favorite experiences have been through Flytographer.
They are a concierge vacation photography website where you can find photographers almost anywhere in the world. Check out our Oahu photoshoot HERE.
Flytographer makes it easy to choose the right photographer for your vacation destination. You can read all about their photography style, favorite places to shoot, and scroll through their portfolio.
And the booking process is simple and quick. Choose the photographer you like and pick your preferred dates. Then, Flytographer will check availability and get back to you with a proposed plan.
If your favorite photographer isn’t available, they’ll check to see if another photographer can do your shoot.
What I love most about Flytographer is that they’re FAST! We sometimes receive our photos before the end of our trip!
First-timers will save $25 off their first Flytographer photoshoot if they use my affiliate link.
They specialize in proposals, engagement, maternity, and family photography. It’s perfect for anniversaries, special occasions, or simply just because! And you can meet that at any beach or cool attractions in Oahu.
Wrap Up on the Most Beautiful Places on Oahu
And there you have some of my favorite beautiful places in Oahu! Whether you are looking for Hawaii points of interest, Oahu secret spots, or the best Oahu Instagram spots, now you have inspiration.