Top Scenic Spots in Hawaii

Every Hawaiian island has spectacular scenery; from any angle, panoramic Pacific vistas span the sky, the sea, and the land. Yet each island has its own special charm.

Oahu

Bellows Beach Park. With sugary coral sand and jade green waters, this giant arc of a beach is why people come to Hawaii. Although the colors of the sea and sand and few crowds are its best features, the jagged Koolau Mountains provide a backdrop for this idyllic tropical spot.

Nuuanu Pali Lookout. With sweeping views of the verdant Koolau 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.

Waikiki Beach at sunset. This is quintessential Oahu: sailboats and catamarans cruise offshore, Diamond Head glows magenta in the last rays of sunlight while the turquoise Pacific washes gently up to pristine beaches.

Maui

Haleakala. Most known for its views at sunrise, the summit of Haleakala volcano is equally spectacular at sunset. On clear days the Big Island, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini Crater are visible.

Makena Beach. Rolling waves, views of Kahoolawe, and golden sand make this wide beach a weekend favorite for locals.

The Road to Hana. Calling the Road to Hana a "scenic spot" may be playing it down. 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.

The Big Island

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.Drive past waterfalls, ponds, orchids, and lush green vegetation on one of the Big Island's most scenic roads.

Top of Mauna Kea at sunset. 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.

Waipio Valley Overlook.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 and 20,000 Hawaiians.

Kauai

Hanalei Valley Lookout. On the way to Hanalei (just past the Princeville shops), this pullout provides views of the Hanalei River winding its way through wet loi kalo (taro patches) framed by jagged green mountains.

Kee Beach.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.

Waimea Canyon.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-color volcanic soil. Continue on to the end of the road for a view through the clouds of otherworldly Kalalau Valley.

Published 01/10/2017

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