5 Jaw-Dropping Lookouts in Oahu
This 20-part wellness challenge outlines Oahu’s various outdoor pursuits, including beach yoga, nocturnal paddleboarding, and Waikiki Beach surfing. However, a brief, albeit semi-strenuous jaunt to and from one of Oahu’s most spellbinding overlooks should also be on that list. Each of these lookouts provides awe-inspiring, panoramic views of the rolling terrain, as well as ample outdoor acreage for social distancing and aerobics.
Kailua’s Lanikai Pillbox (as pictured above) may not reach 600 feet above sea level, but it remains the prettiest panoramic lookout in Oahu (and all of Hawaii, for that matter). The Pillbox boasts stunning views of Lanikai Beach’s Nā Mokulua islets, Kailua Bay, and Mōkapu Point. Be prepared for a subtly-steep, 550-foot climb to the summit.
Travelers often exclaim that Waimanalo Beach is the prettiest stretch of sand on the island. A few ticks southeast of the beach and 600-plus feet above the ocean’s surface lies an oft-photographed lighthouse. Surprisingly, the lighthouse itself pales in comparison to the vibrant, eye-popping mountains north of the sandy beach. Interestingly enough, the Lanikai Pillbox rests on the other side of that cliffside mountain chain.
Mount Tantalus towers above the heart of Honolulu, approximately 4.7 miles north of Prince Waikiki (as the crow flies). The short, 0.9-mile out-and-back trek bestows faraway views of Diamond Head State Monument, Honolulu’s skyscrapers, and the always enthralling Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve, which houses countless waterfalls, exotic birdlife, and acres upon acres of untouched natural beauty.
Between the aforementioned Makapu’u Point and Diamond Head lies a hidden, south-facing marvel known as Hanauma Bay, an ultra-popular aquatic activity hub. Sunbathers, snorkelers, aspiring surfers, and paddleboarders frequent this bowl-shaped cove. Locals revere this section of sand for its glorious sunsets, post-storm rainbows, and all of that crystal-clear turquoise water.
Diamond Head narrowly thwarted Nu’uanu Pali to nab the final spot on this Oahu lookout index. The state monument itself is a volcanic tuff cone, formed by a long-ago Koʻolau Volcano eruption. Volcanic ash, dust, and rock helped create this remarkably symmetrical crater, leaving behind a visually-stunning, postcard-esque natural marvel. From the summit, hikers obtain unobstructed views of the vast Pacific, downtown Honolulu (and Prince Waikiki), and the crater’s interior, home to the visitor center.