If you are heading to Oahu, you will likely want to get some awesome photos for “The Gram”. There are so many options on the island that it can be difficult to choose where to go. After doing extensive research before our trip, we narrowed it down to 10 locations. We usually like to steer clear of crowds when traveling, so a lot of these places are a bit more remote and quiet.
These were our favourite spots to get Instagram photos on the island. Hopefully this will remove some of the leg work for your upcoming trip.
1. Stairway to Heaven
It is illegal to climb up the Stairway to Heaven. A guard monitors the entrance and there is a $1000 fine per person for violators. Luckily, there is another route to get up here. The Moanalua Valley Trail is a 10 mile round trip hike that will get you to the top. We went with a guide named Mike Karas. He is a photographer and if you are interested in hiking with him, send him a message on Instagram. He will take several pictures of you on the top like the one you see here. If you are going alone, make sure you download the trail map on the All Trails app so you don’t get lost. The hike is 8 hours long, which included an hour at the top.
2. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
This is the famous Oahu road that you have probably seen someone skateboarding down on Instagram. It is just passed the entrance gate to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens. It is illegal to get a photo here and there is a guard that monitors the road during opening hours. Do not try to get a photo here until the park is closed. It is dangerous and rude to do so, as there is lots of traffic during the day. Go either before it opens at 8am or after it closes at 5pm. There is an opening in the gate that you just walk around to get inside. We went at 6pm on a rainy day and got a nice a clear image.
3. Lanikai Pillbox Hike
No trip to Oahu is complete without hanging or sitting on the edge of the Lanikai pillbox. It is a short hike up here, but wear shoes with traction as there are some very steep spots with loose gravel. And don’t worry, this photo is deceiving. There is ground right underneath me. If you take this shot from the right angle you will look pretty badass!
4. Lanikai Beach
If you have completed the Pillbox Hike, then it is a no brainer to cool off at Lanikai Beach. It is no wonder this is named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is quite shallow and a bit rocky in the water, which can make it difficult for swimming. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful white sand beach to relax and catch some rays.
5. Hamama Falls
Located on the east side of the island, this waterfall is less visited than Manoa Falls and is just as beautiful. It takes about an hour to hike up to it through the jungle. We had the falls all to ourselves and only passed a few people on the trail. If you are looking to get away from the crowds, then this one is for you.
6. Ka’a’awa Beach
If you blink you may pass this iconic beach, which sits along the Kamehameha Highway on the east shore. There were only a few other people on this beach when we were there, so you could have this one all to yourself.
7. Kualoa Ranch
If you are into Jurassic Park, then Kualoa Ranch is your place. They have a Jurassic Park tour that takes you into the Ka’a’awa Valley where scenes from 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Lost and Hawaii Five-0 were filmed. Get a shot with a dinosaur or edit it into your photo using the JurassicPaint app.
8. Chinamen’s Hat
If you look across the street from Kualoa Ranch, you will see the island of Mokolii. This island is more commonly known as Chinamen’s Hat given it’s shape. If you shoot this at the right angle, it will look like you are wearing the hat. Mine ended up being pretty tiny…
9. Kewalo Basin Park
Just east of Honolulu and Waikiki sits Kewalo Basin Park, which has some great views from this mid evil looking tub. The park itself is very quiet for being so close to a busy city. There are picnic tables right next to the water with magnificent views. A great place to eat lunch and then go for a dip at the adjacent beach.
10. Barber’s Point Lighthouse
This beach sits on the Southwestern tip of Oahu. It is a bit off the beaten path and in an industrial area. We had the beach to ourselves in the middle of the day. In the evening, there is a Luau hosted on this beach at Germaine’s Luau. Might be a good idea to catch the show and get a sunset photo with the lighthouse in the background.
These were our favourite spots for photos on Oahu and there are so many other places that we could have explored. If you have any suggestions for other photo locations, please leave them in the comment section below.
You can see other photos of our trip to Oahu and Kauai on my Instagram. Go check them out!
Kira Canadian Girl