The 50 Most Instagrammable Places in Oahu (& Hidden Gems!)

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, plus a video of some of my favorite Insta-worthy locations.

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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 protected] 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

Shawn Clover via Flickr

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 might’ve 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. 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.

However, we learned after-the-fact that if you go before the garden opens, there is a side gate for people who want to walk the garden. You won’t be able to drive into the park, but that’s one way to grab the famous photo. (You’ll also have to photoshop out the bunch of signs saying “no photography.”)

That being said, if you want to abide by the rules, 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

Alan Yeh via Flickr

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

Photo source

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:

Safe travels!


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About the author
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
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16 Responses

  1. We took some great pictures at “China Wall” lava-rock ledges & cliffs. The black rock and the surf here are very dramatic. Our pictures there were remarkable.

  2. First time visiting your blog and now Im officially one of your followers. Love and appreciate this infos as my fiancé and I are unexpectedly flying there in few days. This is just the most helpful, informative and the most fun to read atleast for me (among the other iones I read). Thanks for sharing! ❤️

    1. Somehow I’m just now seeing this comment! Thank you so much for letting me know, Anne! That is so sweet and makes me so happy to hear! I hope you had the most wonderful time there!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately, when we visited, the ranch was limiting tours due to the pandemic, so we weren’t able to go on one! But we definitely plan to next time!

  3. I know this is a long shot, but I love the dress you had on in the Kualoa Regional Park photo, do you remember where you got it??

  4. I must say I love your photographs and I’m so excited for our Hawaii trip with all your tips. May I ask how many days it took you to visit all these places?

    1. Hi Cristina! Thank you for your kind words, you are going to love Hawaii! We spent four full days in Oahu and pretty much spent every hour of daylight exploring to see as much as possible! So if you’re looking to go at a slower pace, I’d recommend at least 5 days (ideally a week!).

  5. Really appreciate the effort you have put together allowing many of us to enjoy the best of Oahu. I’m travelling soon to oahu, and this page really helped me to plan out my trip! thank you!

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on Instagrammable spots in Oahu! Your vivid descriptions and stunning photographs truly brought the beauty of the island to life. As an avid traveler and photography enthusiast myself, I appreciate your recommendations for capturing the essence of Oahu through Instagram.

    Your suggestions, from the iconic Diamond Head and the vibrant street art in Kaka’ako to the serene Byodo-In Temple and the picturesque Lanikai Beach, offer a diverse range of scenic locations for capturing memorable shots. I particularly loved your emphasis on embracing the local culture and engaging with the community while exploring these Instagrammable spots.

    Your tips on timing, lighting, and composition were incredibly helpful. It’s fascinating to learn about the optimal times to visit each location to make the most of the natural lighting conditions and avoid crowds. Additionally, your insights on incorporating unique elements, such as traditional Hawaiian symbols or local delicacies, into photos will undoubtedly add a touch of authenticity to the Instagram feed.

    As the owner of I must commend you on the way you provided practical information and directions to each spot, ensuring that readers can easily navigate their way around Oahu. It’s evident that you have a deep appreciation for the island and a wealth of knowledge to share with your audience.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise and passion for photography and travel. Your article has inspired me to plan a visit to Oahu and explore these Instagrammable gems firsthand. Keep up the fantastic work!

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