Top 10 Most Scenic Spots in Hawaii

courtesy Hawaii's Big Island Visitor Bureau (BIVB)

Even the names of the islands sound beautiful: Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Hawaii. But sometimes words just don’t do the islands justice. The most beautiful places to seek out across the Hawaiian islands—from unforgettable lookouts on beaches and bays to the best spots to catch the sunset—are sure to inspire your next trip.

courtesy Hawaii's Big Island Visitor Bureau (BIVB)

Waipio Valley Overlook: Big Island

The road along the Hamakua Coast ends with a view into one of the Big Island’s most remote areas. From this point, view sheer black cliffs and the wide green valley that was once home to between 4,000 to 20,000 Hawaiians. Learn more: Waipio Valley Review

courtesy Hawaii's Big Island Visitor Bureau (BIVB)

Top of Mauna Kea at Sunset: Big Island

At almost 14,000 feet, a view from this cinder-covered summit at sunset provides an opportunity not only to see the sun slip into the Pacific through the pristine alpine atmosphere but also fabulous views of Maui’s Haleakala. Learn more: Mauna Kea Travel Guide

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority

Waimea Canyon: Kauai

The oft-used term breathtaking does not do justice to your first view of Waimea Canyon (otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific). Narrow waterfalls tumble thousands of feet to streams that cut through the rust-colored volcanic soil. Continue on to the end of the road for a view through the clouds of otherworldly Kalalau Valley. Learn more: Waimea Canyon Review

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Kee Beach: Kauai

At the end of the road on the North Shore, Kee Beach is as far as you can drive and as close as you can get to the fabled cliffs of Bali Hai. Surrounded by palm and almond trees, this stretch of white-sand beach is a great spot for viewing sunsets or even the occasional sea lion. Learn more: Kee Beach State Park Review, Kee Beach Review

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ)

Garden of the Gods: Lanai

Stones hurled from ancient volcanoes form a natural sculpture garden with dramatic views of Moloka’i for those with four-wheel-drive vehicles. Learn more: Garden of the Gods Review

adrewel / flickr

Road to Hana: Maui

Calling the Road to Hana a "scenic spot" may be a bit of a stretch. With innumerable waterfalls, black-sand beaches, views over taro patches, and the sheer engineering involved in the narrow bridges and switchback curves, this stretch of highway in a tropical paradise provides scenic views around every corner. Learn more: Road to Hana Review

dan_prat / iStockPhoto

Haleakala: Maui

Most known for its views at sunrise, the summit of Haleakala volcano is equally spectacular at sunset. On clear days the Big Island, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe and Molokini Crater are visible. Learn more: Haleakala National Park Review

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ron Garnett

Kalaupapa: Molokai

Surrounded by the highest sea cliffs in the world, a visit by mule or plane to this most scenic spot on Moloka’i is unforgettable. Impressive not only because of its precipitous green cliffs, but for the history of those forced to live and die here. Learn more: Kalaupapa National Historical Park Review

courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout: Oahu

With sweeping views of the verdant Ko’olau mountains and Kaneohe Bay, the point where Kamehameha I forced enemy warriors over the cliff is a must-stop on any tour around the island. Learn more: Nuuanu Pali Lookout Review

Waikiki Beach at Sunset: Oahu

This is quintessential O‘ahu: sailboats and catamarans cruise offshore, Diamondhead glows magenta in the last rays of sunlight while the turquoise Pacific washes gently up to pristine beaches. Learn more: Things to Do in Waikiki