15 Of The Most Beautiful Places on Oahu

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.

You’ll find enchanting hiking trails and beautiful farms, tranquil beaches, and awe-inspiring temples. Oahu really is home to a seemingly limitless supply of magical places most people only dream of!

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!

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FAQ about Beautiful Places on Oahu

What’s the top place to visit 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.

Why is Oahu the best place to visit?

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.

What’s the rainiest month on Oahu?

Winter is definitely the rainy season in Hawaii. If you want to minimize the chances of it raining on your Oahu vacation, aim to travel from mid-April to September.

Dreaming of an Oahu vacation? You won't want to miss these 13 most beautiful places on Oahu

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Lanai Lookout is an unique thing to see on Oahu
Lanai Lookout is located in East Oahu.

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!

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Laniakea Beach is a great place to see turtles on Oahu
Close view of sea turtles resting on Laniakea beach on a sunny day on Oahu.

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.

3. Tantalus

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Oahu photographers love coming to Tantalus for the sweeping views
Tantalus is a popular spot for Oahu photographers.

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.

The Most Beautiful Places In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Ka'a'awa Valley is a popular Hawaii movie location.
Many movies were filmed in Ka’a’awa Valley on Oahu.

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 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The Byodo-In Temple is a popular Oahu photography spot.
The Byodo-In Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Hawaii.

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Kaneohe Sandbar is a popular place to swim on Oahu
Grab your favorite pool floatie and soak in all the gorgeous scenery at Kaneohe Sandbar.

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.

Maunawili Falls on Oahu: Image of three trickling waterfalls going into a basin.
Maunawili Falls on Oahu.

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Head to Waikiki Beach, one of the most beautiful places on Oahu
Head to the East side of Waikiki for fewer crowds. Photo credit: Cindy Marie Photography

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Kualoa Ranch is a popular Oahu wedding destination.
Molii Fishpond is a great place for photos at Kualoa Ranch. Photo credit: Kualoa Ranch

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!

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: HO'OMALUHIA BOTANICAL GARDEN is a popular photo spot on Oahu
This is definitely one of the most Instagrammable spots on 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!

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The view from Crouching Lion is absolutely stunning
Crouching Lion is definitely magazine-worthy.

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is the trendiest Waikiki hotel
The “Pink Palace” is one of the most beautiful hotels in Hawaii. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

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.

The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Oahu featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Kailua Beach is a popular Oahu beach for families
Kailua Beach is one of the places where you can see Chinaman

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.

Check out this full guide to visiting Waimea Falls on Oahu by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a popular Oahu waterfall surrounded by greenery.
Waimea Falls in North Shore Oahu

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

If you’re driving around Oahu on a circle island tour, you’ll definitely want to park at Nu’uanu Pali Lookout to take in the epic view.

View of the windward coastline of Oahu, Hawaii, from the Nuuanu Pali Lookout in the mountains above Honolulu
View of the windward coastline of Oahu from the Nuuanu 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.

Image of a man and woman posing at Kualoa Beach Park on Oahu
Kualoa Beach Park photo shoot. Photo credit: Natalie from 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!

SAVE $25 ON YOUR FLYTOGRAPHER OAHU VACATION PHOTOGRAPHER

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.

Looking for more Oahu Travel Resources for when you visit Oahu? Find out the best things to do in Waikiki, my North Shore Travel Guide, and fun things to do in Haleiwa!