The Hawaiian Islands are undoubtedly home to some of America’s best views, with an excess of majestic mountain peaks, striking valleys, cascading waterfalls and pristine beaches. But not all views are created equal – especially when you want to utilize that nifty panorama feature on your camera or cell phone. From mountain peaks to valley and ocean lookouts, these 13 incredible spots offer sweeping panoramic views of the beautiful islands we call home.
1. Polulu Valley Lookout
Far less crowded than nearby Waipio Valley, the Polulu Valley Lookout offers dramatic views of Hawaii Island’s northeastern coastline and impressive cliffs, a black sand beach, and small offshore islands.
2. Mount Tantalus Lookout
Head to Mt. Tantalus if you're looking for a fun drive, as well as unobstructed views of Honolulu and Diamond Head.
3. Waimea Canyon Lookout
Undoubedly one of Hawaii's most famous natural wonders, Waimea Canyon is truly a piece of heaven on earth. Sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” no vacation to Kauai is complete without a stop at the Waimea Canyon Lookout.
4 Kalaupapa Lookout
Overlooking a former leprosy colony nestled between the vast Pacific and steep cliffs, Kalaupapa Lookout provides visitors with one of Molokai's most famous views.
5. Lanikai Pillboxes
A short, one-mile hike on Oahu's windward coast that provides not only expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Mokes, two offshore islands that are popular kayaking destinations.
6. Mauna Kea Summit
Mauna Kea measures in at 13,796 feet above sea level, the highest point in the state of Hawaii. In fact, when measured from its oceanic base deep in the vast Pacific, the mountain measures in at more than 33,000 feet tall – that’s higher than Mount Everest.
7. Honolua Bay
Though I can't find a name for this magical spot, this photograph is taken from the pineapple fields above Maui's Honolua Bay, and is quite the vista.
8. Diamond Head State Monument
This extremely popular tourist attraction south of Honolulu offers sweeping views of the city, Diamond Head crater, and beyond. I'm not sure there is a more iconic view than this one.
9. Kalalau Valley Lookout
Whether you're planning to complete the 22-mile Kalalau Trail on Kauai's Na Pali Coast or not, a visit to the Kalalau Lookout is an absolute must.
The valley and surrounding cliffs have been used in several movie productions, including Jurassic Park and King Kong.
10. Lanai's Garden of the Gods
Also known as Keahiakawelo, this otherworldly rock garden is located 45 minutes from Lanai City at the end of Polihua Road, a dirt path only advised for vehicles with four-wheel drive. On a bright, clear, day, you can see the islands of Oahu and Molokai in the distance.
11. Nu'uanu Pali State Wayside
For breathtaking vistas of windward Oahu, Nu’uanu Pali State Wayside is your best bet. This windy 1,186-foot high lookout was the site of the Battle of Nu'uanu, where Kamehameha I drove more than 400 soldiers off the cliffside.
12. Hanalei Valley Lookout
If you live - or are vacationing - anywhere near Hanalei, it is imperative that you visit this stunning lookout point, which features an unobstructed view of the Hanalei River and expansive taro fields, flanked on either side by towering mountain peaks.
13. Mount Haleakala
Just 27 square miles short of equaling the entire size of Oahu, Mount Haleakala is a gentle giant – a dormant volcano that has inspired those who make the journey to its summit for centuries.