From breathtaking Waikiki Beach to the remarkable Na Pali Coast, there’s a spectacular array of natural landmarks in Hawaii. Renowned as one of the USA’s most visited destinations, Hawaii has something for all kinds of travellers.
Whether you want to shop til you drop in Waikiki, or get lost in nature on the island of Kauai, Hawaii has landmarks that are bound to impress. So get ready to say “Aloha” to the destination of your dreams. Here are 20 incredible Hawaii landmarks to discover on your next tropical adventure.
- 20 Landmarks in Hawaii
- Natural Landmarks in Hawaii
- Historic Landmarks in Hawaii
20 Landmarks in Hawaii
Natural Landmarks in Hawaii
1- Diamond Head
Towering over the Honolulu Skyline on the island of Oahu, the Diamond Head State Monument is an iconic landmark of Hawaii.
Diamond Head was once an active volcano but hasn’t erupted in over 150,000 years.
Today, the extinct crater is a popular hiking destination that draws travellers from all over the world.
Diamond Head is also one of Hawaii’s most photographed and well-known landmarks appearing on many postcards and can be seen from all over Waikiki.
It’s a destination that needs to be on every Oahu itinerary.
2- Hanauma Bay
Renowned as Hawaii’s most popular snorkelling spot, Hanauma Bay is an incredible Hawaii landmark and a top spot to explore Hawaii with kids.
Located on the island of Oahu just 25 minutes from Waikiki, Hanauma Bay is a wonderful snorkelling destination for families and travellers of all ages.
Here you can discover a world of underwater natural beauty and expect to find just about all the characters in Finding Nemo (minus the big sharks).
Swim and snorkel the day away and get up close and personal with the incredible marine life and colourful coral.
3- Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and is a breathtaking natural landmark on the west side of Kauai Island.
Reaching depths of up to 3,600 feet and stretching over ten miles, this incredible canyon has jawdropping views (Hint: the top two places to take in the views are Puu ka Peela and Puu hinahina lookouts).
The gorgeous landscapes feature colourful rock formations, cascading waterfalls and an abundance of hiking trails for all to discover.
You can also embark on a thrilling rafting tour to explore the river below to the canyon. If you love canyon scenery, check out these landmarks in South Dakota.
4- Mauna Kea Volcano
Holding the title at the highest mountain in Hawaii, the Mauna Kea is an awe-inspiring dormant volcano in Hawaii.
Located on the Big Island, the volcano rises 4,207.3 m above sea level and can only be reached by 4WD.
Once at the top, you can discover the breathtaking views over the Big Island, watch one of the most incredible sunsets in Hawaii, or enjoy stargazing at its very finest.
Hikers will also love the challenging six-mile trail to the top of the summit. Reaching an altitude of 13,800 ft, this hike is not for the faint-hearted.
5- The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
Known for its towering green cliffs, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking natural scenery, the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park was made famous in is an undeniable natural wonder.
Made famous from the Jurassic Park Films, this incredible Hawaii landmark showcases ripples of emerald green mountains and razor-sharp ridges that stretch 17 miles along Kuai’s North Shore.
One of the best opportunities to see this amazing landmark is to take a helicopter tour above the fantastic park where you can take in the breathtaking contrast of the green mountains with the shimmering ocean below.
Keen hikers can conquer the 11-mile Kalalau Trail which travels through five valleys over a full day journey.
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6- Volcanoes National Park
Prepare to experience some of nature’s most spectacular scenes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Renowned as one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions, the Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit natural landmark.
Located on the Big Island, the park offers a unique encounter with an active volcano system.
See a volcano erupt before your very eyes, feel the thrill of the eruption and the boom of the gas as it sprays into the air.
Watch the lava flow through valleys and seep from the ground.
7- Iao Valley State Park
Showcasing giant emerald peaks and lush tropical scenery, the Iao Valley State Park is an incredible natural landmark.
Located in Central Maui, the Ioa Valley State Park spans 4,000 acres and 10 miles and has some of Hawaii’s most incredible natural scenery.
The crown jewel of Iao Valley State Park is the 1,200 foot Iao Needle.
This magnificent green-mantled rock towers over the Iao stream and offers an excellent place for hiking and sightseeing.
8- Maui Seven Sacred Pools
Maui’s Seven Sacred Pools is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Hawaii.
Located on the east side of Maui, the Seven Sacred Pools or the Pools of Ohe’ o is a breathtaking sight to be seen.
Part of the Haleakala National Park, the pools can be visited along the world-famous Road to Hana.
This series of small waterfalls and plunge pools are a beautiful place to get acquainted with Mother Nature, and there is so much natural beauty to discover.
You can also enjoy swimming, sunbathing and even cliff-jumping into the crystal clear pools.
9- Kehena Black Sand Beach
Showcasing some of the most unique scenery on earth, Kehena Black Sand Beach is a spectacular landmark to see in Hawaii.
Located in the Puna district of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Black Sand Beach is situated in one of Hawaii’s most volcanically active regions.
The sand’s deep black colouring contrast with the lush green forest and the vibrant blue ocean makes for a scenically stunning landmark.
Kehena Black Sand Beach is one of Hawaii’s “clothing optional beaches” so don’t be surprised if you see some nude beachgoers.
The beach is a fantastic place to spot spinner dolphins.
10- Waimea Rock
With its golden sandy shore and shimmering blue water, Waimea Bay is undoubtedly one of Hawaii’s most breathtaking beaches.
Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Waimea Bay is the perfect place to soak up the tropical sunshine and spend endless days swimming, sunbathing and enjoying the idyllic landscapes.
There’s also a spectacular rock that offers an excellent spot for cliff jumping.
It’s an easy climb to the top, and you can enjoy a thrilling leap as you dive 9 metres into the shimmering sea.
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11- Wailua Falls
Wailua Waterfall is a Hawaii landmark you will love.
Located on the island of Kaua’i, Wailua Falls is a magnificent destination to visit on your Hawaiian adventure.
Tucked away behind the Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve, the Wailua Falls are a beautiful sight to be seen and a bucket list item for many travellers from across the world.
Featuring in the opening scene of the long-running television series Fantasy Island, the falls showcase 80ft of thundering water across a double cascading waterfall.
A top spot for those who love nature and the outdoors, Wailua Falls is a great place to soak up Hawaii’s natural beauty.
Historic Landmarks in Hawaii
12- Pearl Harbour
Pearl Harbor is a landmark of Hawaii not to be missed.
Located on the island of Oahu, just 20 minutes from downtown Waikiki, Pearl Harbour is a national historic landmark that is one of Hawaii’s most visited attractions.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor where 2400 Americans died, and another 1000 were wounded.
This attack led to the USA’s formal entry into WWII.
Today, Pearl Harbour is an educational and historic landmark dedicated to educating the public on the history of the attack and the war, as well as pay respect to the thousands of victims that lost their lives.
13- Ala Moana Centre
Centrally located in Honolulu, Ala Moana Centre is the largest open-air shopping mall in all of Hawaii (and the world).
With over 290 shops, 80 dining outlets and over 40 luxury retailers, this mall is the perfect destination for shopaholics.
Spend hours browsing through the boutiques, shopping up a storm and indulging in some delicious local cuisine.
The Ala Moana Centre is walking distance from Waikiki’s major hotels and attractions and is open seven days a week.
14- Aloha Tower
Located on Pier Nine right in the heart of Honolulu, The Aloha Tower is an iconic Hawaii landmark.
Built in 1926, this historic lighthouse has been guiding ships to shore for many decades.
At 10 stories high, the Aloha Tower was once the tallest building in Hawaii – and it held the title for four decades.
Today, the Aloha Tower acts as a docking port for Hawaii’s large cruise ships as well as a marketplace for restaurants, meeting spaces, community events and even the Hawaii Pacific University.
15- Honolulu Zoo
The perfect holiday activity for couples and families alike, the Honolulu Zoo is a wonderful day out.
Showcasing a fantastic array of animals, you can get up close and personal with crocodiles, tortoises, elephants, monkeys and more.
Best of all, this incredible Hawaiian landmark is right in the heart of Waikiki, walking distance from many of the major resorts and hotels.
Open from 9 am to 4.30 pm every day, the Honolulu Zoo also participates in many conservation activities.
It encourages visitors to get involved and learn about the range of endangered species at the zoo.
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16- Road to Hana
Stretching 52 scenic miles from Paia to Hana, the Road to Hana is one of the most fantastic car journeys in all of Hawaii.
Winding through lush landscapes and scenic beaches, driving the Road to Hana is a must-do while visiting Maui.
The Road to Hana features over 59 single-lane bridges, 617 blind corners over the 2.5 hr journey.
The trip is worth your while for the views alone but there are also many attractions along the route.
From scenic lookouts to golden beaches, you can also discover an abundance of hiking trails and waterfalls along the way.
17- Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Statue
A shrine to the father of International Surfing, the Duka Paoa Kahanamoku statue is an iconic landmark of Honolulu.
Standing 9ft tall in front of a bronze surfboard at Waikiki beach, the statue is adorned with colourful leis from admiring fans.
Duke is remembered as Hawaii’s most famous surfer.
He was an Olympic champion and helped the sport reach its peak popularity.
18- The Lyon Arboretum
A gorgeous botanic garden, The Lyon Arboretum is a serene landmark to visit while staying in Honolulu.
This 194-acre garden is home to over 5,000 tropical plants across several themed gardens including a herb and spice garden, bromeliad garden and many more.
Also operating as a research facility, the Lyon Arboretum works to preserve Hawaii’s tropical forests and natural flora and fauna.
While visiting the park, you can stroll throughout the gardens and visit the 150-foot Moana Falls, which is a great place to swim, so be sure to pack your bathers!
19- The Royal Hawaiian
With its pink pastel exterior and ideal location on Waikiki Beach, The Royal Hawaiian is an unmissable Hawaii landmark.
Operating since 1927, the resort is renowned as the “Pink Palace of Hawaii” and offers a 5-star luxury accommodation experience with world-class service and amenities.
Long before Hawaii became famous as a tourist destination, The Pink Palace was a favourite residence and recreational centre for Hawaiian chiefs and kings.
A room will set you back a couple of hundred dollars per night.
However, you can still experience this fantastic landmark without actually staying the night.
One look inside the lobby and you will be blown away by the incredible interiors and features.
Sign up to a Historical Tour of the Royal Hawaiian to learn more about the history and fascinating features of the resort.
20- Waikiki Aquarium
Located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach, the Waikiki Aquarium is an excellent place for the whole family.
Established in 1904, this iconic Hawaii Landmark is situated next to a living reef and showcases more than 500 species of marine life.
From spectacular green sea turtles and reef sharks to hordes of tropical fish including the rare Peppermint Angelfish, the Waikiki Aquarium has many fascinating creatures to discover.
The aquarium is the second oldest in the United States and is an iconic landmark of Honolulu.
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