Visiting Oahu and looking for photo spots? Well, I’m here to share the best Instagrammable places in Oahu so you can get the coolest shots!
It’s no surprise that Hawaii is full of the most perfect Instagram spots. A tropical island with lush valleys, idyllic beaches, and towering peaks? Sounds like guaranteed Instagram photos to me!
Since Instagram and blogging is my full time job, I did all my research before visiting to make sure I’d hit the best spots on my visit.
And now I’m giving you a complete list of the best Instagram spots in Oahu.
That includes all the famous spots, lesser-known locations, my insider tips, and multiple hidden gems that I’ve personally found!
Their locations are marked on the map right below.
This list starts at the very northwest corner of Oahu and works its way around the island making a full loop.
(Psst… the photo above is from spot #2 on this list!)
And here’s my map of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu:
Let’s get to it!
1. Mokulē’ia Army Beach
This beach, located in Oahu’s northwestern corner, is perfect if you want to capture water, sand, and mountains all in one!
2. Dillingham Ranch
Dillingham Ranch is a beautiful setting for photos! We noticed them as we drove along the Farrington Highway and saw this stunning road with a “no trespassing/ private property” sign on the gate.
But good news! If you’re determined to get photos here, Dillingham prices photoshoots at $150 for 1.5 hours and $250 for 3 hours. You can email them at email@example.com or call (808) 382-3512 to schedule.
They also do weddings and events at the venue (currently doing Covid “drive-in” ceremonies where guests stay in their vehicles as the couple gets married)!
3. Waimea Bay
Can’t go to Oahu without getting a few beach shots for the ‘gram! I’ll include some of my favorite Oahu beaches on this list, including this one!
4. Sharks Cove
If you enjoy underwater photography, Shark’s Cove is a great place for snorkeling!
Here is the underwater phone case that I use; it allows you to bring your phone underwater (as the name suggests!).
5. Banzai Pipeline
If you enjoy surfing, show it off for the ‘gram!
Oahu is famous for its surf, especially on the North Shore! And the Banzai Pipeline is one of the best places to surf on the North Shore.
I can’t stand up on a moving surfboard for my life, so just enjoyed photographing the surfers and waves here!
6. The Sunrise Shack
The Sunrise Shack is one of Oahu’s most Instagrammable cafes, since it’s arguably the cutest outdoor café on the island!
With its vibrant yellows and their beautiful and delicious acai bowls, you’ll want to be sure to stop here!
7. Sunset Beach
Gorgeous views, soft sand, and turquoise waters await you!
8. Kawela Beach
If sunset beach is too crowded for sunset photos, pop on over to Kawela Beach, just down the road!
This small beach has some tide pools that, when their waters are still, reflect the sunset and add even more color to your photo!
9. Kawela Bay Beach Park
The banyan trees at Kawela Bay Beach Park were photogenic enough to appear in movies and TV shows like Pirates of the Caribbean and Lost. So I think they’re photogenic enough to appear on your Instagram!
10. Turtle Bay
Made popular by Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you’ll want to stop at this Instagrammable beach on Oahu!
11. Sideways Palm Trees
First, let me say, getting up here was way harder than it looks. So climb at your own risk! Slow and steady wins the race- these trees are quite high off the ground!
We just happened to drive past these and I made Harrison pull over because they beg to be photographed! (The exact location is marked on the map at the top of this post.)
12. Kaaawa Beach
Yet another picture-perfect beach on Oahu!
13. Secret Island
This isn’t the photo that you’ll get at Secret Island. But since Secret Island has been closed due to Covid, it’s the closest photo I could take to show you!
Okay, so here’s the photo: look at the lake to the left of the partition of trees. On that lake, there’s a very Instagrammable dock with a view of the Ko’Olau Mountains you see here!
So the shot involves the dock, a lake, and an epic mountain backdrop! It’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu! Next time I visit, I’ll definitely get a shot there- you can book the tour at Kualoa Ranch, which is the next item on this list!
14. Kualoa Ranch
Like I said, Kualoa Ranch has a tour that takes you to Secret Island.
But it’s much more than that!
You can book a variety of tours at Kualoa Ranch to see many areas where they filmed Jurassic Park!
15. Chinaman’s Hat Island
You can see Chinaman’s Hat Island to the right of me in the photo above. Sunrise at the island is beautiful, but we actually got this shot at sunset!
This exact photo was taken at Kualoa Regional Park, the next item on my list of Instagrammable places in Oahu!
16. Kualoa Regional Park
This is by far one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu! If not the most!
With epic (and free!) views of the Ko’olau Range, the Kualoa Regional Park is a must! I especially love it at sunrise and sunset (but honestly it’s great at all hours!)
17. Waiāhole Beach Park
There are technically no black sand beaches in Oahu. But black sand beaches are incredibly popular on Instagram!
Fortunately, we stumbled on this hidden gem and I knew I had to add it to this list!
Here’s the thing, though. It’s the tiniest little beach! In fact, so tiny that I think that it’s only there when the tide goes out. So this hidden gem is quite literally hidden part of the time!
18. Koʻolau Range
While you’re in this area, be sure to capture a photo of the Ko’Olau Range one way or another!
We got this photo at Waiāhole Beach Park (the same park that has the black sand beach mentioned above).
19. Windward Baptist Church
Here’s another hidden gem in Oahu! The lake and mountain views from Windward Baptist Church are stunning!
Go for the views, stay for the church service! 🙂
20. The Byodo-in Temple
This is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Oahu. With its Japanese design, the Byodo-In temple is visually stunning!
Set in the mountains, you’ll feel like you’ve transported to Japan! It’s worth the $5 per adult entrance fee.
21. Haiku Gardens
Unfortunately we missed out on this place during our recent visit, but you can bet that we won’t next time we’re on Oahu!
The Kaneohe location of Haleiwa Joe’s boasts this picturesque view of the Haiku Gardens, which is a wedding venue on Oahu.
22. Stairway To Heaven
Unfortunately, this hike is off-limits (read: illegal!!). But it remains one of the most Instagrammable places on Oahu, so I knew I still had to include it on this list! Would you risk the $1,000 fine? I wouldn’t, but if you dare, this makes for an epic view up in the clouds!
You might read online that there is a legal version, the Moanalua Middle Ridge Trail. Well, unfortunately, the Hawaii government notified me via email after I wrote this article that this trail is also illegal to access now. Bummer!
23. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
There’s a famous Instagram photo spot from the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens that you’ve probably seen before. It’s the entrance road, lined with palm trees, with an epic mountain backdrop.
Unfortunately, it’s now illegal to take a photo there, starting in 2020. I read somewhere that if you showed up right when they open, they might let you take the photo. Well, we showed up right when they opened and they definitely did not let us!
The first thing the entrance security guard said to us was “no photograhy on the road”. There are a ridiculous amount of signs lining the road that say “no stopping,” “no photography,” etc. They also warn you that there’s a $500 fine and/or jail time, too.
And before you go thinking you can get the photo before they open, know that it’s gated off when the gardens are closed, too.
All that said, there are still more areas of the garden that are photo-worthy.
For example, we got the photo above at the Loko Waimaluhia Reservoir on the trail from the Kahua Lehua area.
24. Kailua Beach Park
Yup, another beach park made my list! How could it not?!
Kailua Beach Park also happens to be our favorite beach for swimming in Oahu!
25. The Mokes/Lanikai Beach Park
These two islands are so charming and definitely highly photographed!
We got this shot from Lanikai Beach. Parking is almost impossible by Lanikai on the weekends, so I recommend visiting only on weekdays if you plan on driving there.
26. Lanikai Pillbox
While we didn’t have time to do this hike, it’s a famous one on Oahu for it’s great views!
27. Waimānalo Bay State Recreation Park & Sherwood Beach
Here’s another park and beach that are photo-worthy! The park is beautiful, with rows and rows of the trees you see pictured above.
28. Waimānalo Beach Park
You can see Rabbit Island, pictured above, from Waimānalo Beach Park!
29. Makapu’u Tide Pools
Tide pools with a view are always a yes in my book!
Whether you stand or float in the tide pools, the Makapu’u tide pools are one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu!
30. Makapu’u Beach Park
Let’s be honest… this whole coast is stunning!
But you can see why this beach park is on my list; just look at that clear blue water!
31. Makapu’u Lookout
We got the photo before this one with our drone; this is the type of photo you can get from the lookout!
32. Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse
A hike will bring you to the Makapu’u Lighthouse. This charming lighthouse is definitely an Instagram-worthy spot on Oahu!
33. Sandy Beach
Do you know how many times I had to write “aloha” in the sand? Each time I’d write it, it would almost immediately get washed away, even though I kept moving higher and higher up the sand!
Eventually we managed to get this shot in!
Regardless, this beach makes for some great Instagram photos!
34. Halona Beach Cove & Halona Blowhole Lookout
The Halona Beach Cove is definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu if you ask me!
Steep, rocky “stairs” bring you down to this spot. We visited on a Monday and it was basically empty, which made for prime drone photo time!
You can also get a top-down view of the cove from the Halona Blowhole lookout. We didn’t see the blowhole in action while we were there, but keep an eye out in case you visit at the right time!
35. Lanai Lookout
Just next door you’ll find these gorgeous rock formations! On a clear day, you can even see out to some of the other islands from the Lanai Lookout!
36. Koko Head
Hiking to the top of Koko Head offers spectacular views!
37. Hanauma Bay
This bay was closed for most of 2020, which was fantastic since it allowed the coral to heal! When Hanauma Bay was closed, it actually made for a phenomenal time to fly our drone over the bay since no one was in our photos! It has since reopened and is a stunning place for snorkeling on the island, so you’ll want to bring your waterproof phone case for photos. You can see updated operations and entrance fees/information here! There is now a daily limit of 720 people, so I’d recommend going early.
38. Summit Of Diamond Head Crater
The hike up to the Diamond Head crater summit is worth the climb for the tremendous views of Waikiki!
39. Leonard’s Bakery
Ready for some Instagrammable cafes and bakeries in Oahu? Because here are some of my favorites, all in the Waikiki area!
Leonard’s Bakery is famous for their malasadas (Portuguese donuts) and they’ve been around since 1957, so you know they must be doing something right over at Leonard’s!
We ordered four and they were delicious!
40. Kona Coffee Purveyors
You’ll find B. Patisserie at Kona Coffee Purveyors, and their pastries were simply made to be ‘grammed!
41. Olive & Oliver
The cutest coffee cups with the cutest coffee sleeves live at Olive & Oliver! Throw in a cute pink back drop and you’ve got the perfect Instagram photo!
42. Tantalus Lookout
This is one of the coolest overlooks; its views make it one of the most Instagrammable places in Oahu!
Check out that Waikiki vista with the Diamond Head volcanic cone standing tall in the background!
43. Kaka’ako Downtown Murals
This cute Honolulu downtown is full of the coolest murals! You’ll find them everywhere but this one specifically is right by Laka Skin Care & Spa.
44. Arvo Cafe
Here’s another very Instagrammable cafe in Oahu!
45. Iolani Palace
This slice of history is both educational and Instagrammable! The Iolani Palace was home to Hawaii’s last monarchs.
46. Manoa Falls
A 1.7 mile hike takes you to this beautiful 150-foot tall waterfall! Unfortunately as I write this, the trail is closed, but you can check for updates here!
47. Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout
While this is another very Insta-worthy lookout on Oahu, note that you might have some serious wind when you visit!
We visited at sunset on a Monday and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced wind like it!
This was basically the one photo I got where my hair wasn’t doing some crazy medusa dance! (I’m talking sticking straight up, not some cute wind-blown hair!)
The views here are spectacular, so if you’re already on this highway, it’s worth stopping at.
48. Farrington Highway (Makua Valley Roadside View)
As you head west on Oahu to the Leeward side of the island, you’ll find more gorgeous valleys!
Unfortunately, they are kind of hard to photograph. Why? Well, they are largely inaccessible!
There is a fence behind me in this photo, but by sitting on our Jeep, you don’t really notice it all that much. (I also edited two fence posts out of this photo!)
If you want to get a similar photo of the Makua Valley, you can see this photo spot marked on the map!
49. Makua Valley Highway Pull Off
This is another hidden gem of a photo spot where you can get a photo of the Makua Forest.
I’ve marked it on the map as well so that you can visit this pull off!
50. Yokohama Bay & Ka’ena Point
Now we’ve made a full loop around Oahu as I bring you to the last Instagrammable spot on Oahu: Ka’ena Point! Home to an albatross sanctuary and incredible views, Ka’ena Point is a great place for hiking and photography.
You can access Ka’ena Point from the Farrington Highway coming from the North Shore, or from the Farrington Highway driving up the west coast. But if you’re not familiar with Oahu, note that these Farrington Highways do not connect!
As you head up the western route, you’ll also see Yokohama Bay. Not many people visit this secluded beach since not many tourists drive on the west coast, so you may have it all to yourself!
Wow, that’s a lot! I hope this list helps you take some great photos while you’re in Oahu!
If you’ve visited Oahu and know of more great Instagrammable places in Oahu, let me know the places I’ve missed in the comments below!
And if you’re heading to Hawaii, here are some more posts for you: