Cultural Experience | United States

10 sights to see in Oahu, Hawaii

From sunrise to sunset, you’re on island time in Oahu.

Oahu is one of the eight islands that make up the state of Hawaii and is home to Hawaii’s state capital, Honolulu.

1. Sunrise at Sandy Beach


You may be on vacation which means it’s time to relax, but you don’t want to miss out on the sunrise in Hawaii. Sandy Beach is better than that cup of joe to start your day off. You’ll experience the cool ocean breeze caress your face as you sink into the luscious sand. Be sure to check the time of the sunrise and arrive at least 30-45 minutes beforehand to get the most out of this amazing sunrise spot!

2. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach

The Hawaiian word Lanikai means “heavenly sea” and once you lay eyes upon this beach you’ll know exactly how it got its name. This beach is a favorite for both the locals and tourists because of its clear turquoise waters and the Mokulua islands you can see off into the distance. It’s also a great spot for taking a dip into the water and enjoying a nice relaxing swim.

3. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Top 10 Hawaii

This spot requires you to embark on a short hike but have no fear because it’s an easy paved trail. Not only will you get a breathtaking view of the Makapu’u island and deep blue waters but there’s plenty of other attractions during this hike. Along the way, there is a trail that leads you down to some tide pools which you can take a dip in. You’ll also be able to spot the famous lighthouse featured in the movie 50 first dates.

4. Hanauma Bay

This fun and beautiful spot is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park. This area is a curved bay and offers a very large marine ecosystem within its waters. It is a great place to snorkel and interact with tons of fish and marine life. It is here you may sometimes even spot sea turtles and Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (the Hawaiian state fish).

5. Laniakea Beach

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This beach is not only a favorite for tourists but for the Hawaiian green sea turtles as well! You’ll often find multiple sunbathing along the warm sand. While these turtles welcome you to take pictures of them and admire them from afar, they are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act and Hawaii state law and too close of a proximity is prohibited. This beach also has many volunteers that love to share information about the turtles and you’ll be able to even learn the turtles name and age. It’s a great way to see and learn about these beautiful animals that inhabit the Hawaiian islands.

6. Waimea Bay Beach Park

This beach is located within the famous area of North Shore. It offers a very large stretch of sand perfect for any type of beach activity. This beach is also home to a very popular rock famous for climbing and jumping into the clear blue waters. It is important to check the surf before diving into the water though because this beach is known for huge waves making it a popular spot for surfers.

7. Pali Lookout

This spot will give you a panoramic view of the Koolau cliffs and windward coast. It’s a nice getaway from the busy city as you get to embrace natural Hawaiian beauty. This spot not only offers beautiful scenery, but it also holds important historical significance to Hawaii. This is where the Battle of Nuuanu took place in 1795. It was during this battle that King Kamehameha I won and was able to unite Oahu under his rule. It was one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history and many soldiers lost their lives off these very cliffs. Some say you can even spot King Kamehameha’s face within the cliffs pictured above.

8. Waikiki


Waikiki is a popular tourist town located within Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu. It is widely known for its beach and the many hotels that house the immaculate white sand shoreline. There’s so much to do within this beach such as swim, boogie board, enjoy some shaved ice and even learn to surf. Nearby, you can also stop by the Honolulu zoo and many various popular stores and restaurants. This place has it all when it comes to a nice relaxing vacation.

9. Fireworks on The Beach


Fireworks always ignite a bright feeling within us but fireworks on the beach in Hawaii…now that’s out of this world! Every Friday night the Hilton Hawaii Village in Waikiki puts on a free firework show on the beach. The fireworks start around 7:45pm and last about 10 minutes. With many shops and restaurants within walking distance, the Hilton Friday fireworks show is a great way to spend your Friday evening.

10. Watch the Surf at Sunset Beach

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, this beach is widely known for its huge surf during the winter. Many surf competitions are held here as the waves can reach up to 30+ feet high. During the summer, it’s known for being a great spot to swim and snorkel when the water is calm. Regardless of the season, this beach is very popular for its gorgeous sunsets. You won’t want to spend the golden hour anywhere else but this amazing spot.

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Top 10 Sights To See in Oahu

Alyssa San Agustin

California State University San Marcos | 5 stories

Alyssa has an eye for adventure and photography. She constantly seeks adventure wherever she goes and longs for travel. Alyssa is a photography enthusiast and uses photography to inspire others to travel and seek adventure on her personal blog. Follow along on her travels and adventures at and on her instagram @baabylyssa

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