From gorgeous weather to a laid-back atmosphere, Oahu is the epitome of paradise. But perhaps the greatest benefit of Oahu is its scenic beauty. From geologic to natural phenomena, Oahu has an incredible array of sights to make tourists and locals alike go "ahh!". Here are the top five scenic wonders of Oahu.
Hawaii is known as the "Rainbow State" and certainly lives up to its name. On any given day on Oahu, you are likely to see multiple rainbows across the island. Rainbows are created when the sun's rays shine on water droplets in the air, resulting in a spectrum of light, or the colored rainbow. The rainbow appears opposite the direction of light. Rainbows are so pervasive on Oahu because the mountains often release rain into the valleys while the coasts remain sunny. The best time and location to see rainbows are late afternoon in the valleys facing the south shore. These valleys include Manoa, Palolo, Pahoa, and Nuuanu.
Ah, the Hawaiian sunset. Perhaps the most famous and breathtaking sight of Hawaii. No beach day is complete without watching the sun set across the Pacific Ocean. Grab a blanket, some drinks, and someone special and you've got a moment that you'll never forget. Fortunately, there are many places on the island where you can watch the sun set from the beach. Due to the angle of the sun, the winter or the spring is the best time of the year to watch the sunset from Waikiki beach. Year round you can also watch the sunset from the west side of the island, such as Makaha or Waianae, or from the North Shore, such as at Sunset Beach.
Because Oahu is a volcanic island, it has many unique geologic features. Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring is the Halona Blowhole, which is located on the east side of the island between Hanauma Bay and Sandy's Beach. Formed from an old lava tube, the Halona Blowhole is a hole that connects a rock formation to the ocean. When the waves hit the rocks, the water is forced into the tiny lava tube and as the tube gets smaller the energy in the wave compresses. As a result, pressure builds up and the water is released dramatically from the top, often shooting dozens of feet high into the air with a loud whooshing sound.
The Hawaiian sea turtles, or Honu, have a long tradition in Hawaii history. Today, locals and tourists can get an up-close view of sea turtles at Laniakea Beach on the North Shore of Hawaii. At this beach, turtles come back day after day to bask in the sun on the shore. Because sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act, visitors must keep at least 6ft away from the turtles at all times, and volunteers from the Malama na Honu organization are present to ensure the turtles' safety and answer questions about the turtles. Laniakea beach is located between Waimea Bay and Haleiwa town. Look for all the cars parked along the south side of the road.
View of Honolulu From Tantalus
There is something quite breathtaking about the skyline of Honolulu. The outline of the buildings against the lush tropical backdrop of the mountains is something you can see in very few places worldwide. The best place to view the skyline of Honolulu is from Tantalus. Here, you can also see the town set against Diamondhead. If you drive up Tantalus or Round Top Drive, you will encounter many lookouts in which to see the skyline. For the best view, head over to Puu Ulakaa State Park (free entrance) for a sweeping view of Honolulu.