It simply cannot be understood how gorgeous Oahu is until you've seen the immaculate sights in person for yourself. Whether it's looking over the spectacular terrain from the top of Diamond Head State Monument or taking in a sunset on the beaches of Waikiki, there's no shortage of opportunities to make a memory or take a picture that will last you a lifetime. You haven't truly experienced Oahu until you've soaked in the breathtaking sights that make it one of the most enchanting Hawaiian islands. After you've settled into your Oahu vacation rental, here are a few of the ultimate lookouts where you can officially capture some of the renowned natural beauty of Oahu:
Chase some waterfalls
The only thing that's more majestic than a towering waterfall is experiencing an Oahu cascade firsthand. The island is filled with plenty of captivating waterfalls, with many nestled within the famous state parks or amidst beautiful stretches of tropical terrain. Arguably the most breathtaking waterfall on Oahu can be found by hiking up to Manoa Falls, which is only a quick 5 mile drive from Waikiki. In a little under an hour, you can venture up toward the top of Manoa Falls, where you can see rainbows residing within the descending waters that tumble into pools 150 feet below. If the trail looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen it in the movie "Jurassic Park" – some of the opening scenes were filmed within the rainforest surrounding the waterfall.
Another stunning Oahu waterfall that's popular among travelers is Lulumahu Falls, located near the Kaniakapupu Ruins. Create your own Oahu adventure by touring the Kaniakapupu Ruins where King Kamehameha I once ruled the land, then set out on the rainforest trails that ultimately lead to Lulumahu Falls.
Trek the trails
Outdoor enthusiasts and scenery lovers alike will relish the opportunities Oahu provides for anyone looking to set out on a hiking expedition. Right next to Honolulu resides Puu Ualakaa State Park, a place where visitors can find dozens of trails that all lead to accessible views of the land's marvelous topography. Making your way to the top of the more than 1,000-foot hill that the park is centered around will provide you with one of the more intimate chances to catch an Oahu sunset. A great trek for those feeling adventurous is a hike through Nuʻuanu Pali State Wayside in Honolulu, where you can see everything from the cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range to the site of the Battle of Nuʻuanu, an epic turning point in the tenure of King Kamehameha I that took place in 1795.
Bask on the beach
Of course, nothing says scenic quite like the views from the incredible beaches of Oahu. You'll think you've finally found paradise after relaxing in your Oahu vacation rental, then spending the day basking in the sun at Lanikai Beach, located on the coasts of Kailua. If you're up for it, try to wake up early and catch a sunrise there, where the transition from darkness to a burnt autumn-orange sky as the sun rises is a scene you can't replicate anywhere else in the world. Even if you're not a surfer, there are a few Oahu beaches where towering waves serve as an excellent chance to watch some boarding experts at their best. The waves simply don't get any higher than at Ehukai Beach Park, located on the North Shore of the island. This is the home of the Banzai Pipeline, one of the most famous surf breaks in Hawaii, and seeing surfers take on these massive waves in person is definitely an awe-inspiring experience.