With Honolulu, Pearl Harbor and Waikiki on the island, Oahu is loaded with exquisite photo ops. Just about anywhere you go, there is an Instagram-worthy moment waiting to happen. Of course, half the fun of being in Hawaii is making your friends jealous. So here are our favorite "pics or it didn't happen" selfie spots around Oahu.
Also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a moderate 30-minute-or-so hike on Oahu's windward side. It gets its name from two concrete bunkers at the top of the ridge that were once part of the coastal defense system. Their location at the top of the ridge gave a perfect vantage point for spotting targets and relaying firing coordinates. Raise your phone and snap a selfie framed by the beautiful views of Kailua Bay and the twin Mokulua Islands.
Sky Waikiki Lounge
Nineteen floors above the heart of Waikiki is Sky Waikiki, a sleek rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city and the ocean. Enjoy a sizzling surf-and-turf entree or grab a platter of sliders and a mushroom mascarpone pizza to share with your besties. Sip a signature cocktail at happy hour and then dance the rest of the night away—the beat drops at 10 pm. After dark, grab your friends, stand on the balcony and snap a pic with the shimmering lights of Waikiki behind you.
The Modern Honolulu
If you plan to stay at The Modern Honolulu or grab a drink at The Study, duck into the pool's bathroom. After making sure your hair and makeup are spot on, make good use of the perfect lighting and the floor-to-ceiling mirror to take a selfie in your night-out best. Then reserve an outdoor table at The Grove Restaurant and Bar, order a signature cocktail like the Frozen Coconut Mojito and enjoy the island breeze and relax as the sun sets.
Royal Hawaiian Center
You're invited to join Royal Hawaiian Center's growing social ‘ohana (family). Share your discoveries and experiences that make Royal Hawaiian Center special to you and your ‘ohana. As you are immersed in the center's rich culture and as you indulge in unique restaurants, uncover your in-the-spotlight moment at luxury retailers, or find the perfect keepsake at an authentic island boutique.
Waikiki Beach at Twilight
Waikiki Beach is perhaps the most famous beach on Oahu. There's so much to do here—shopping, surfing, horseback riding and swimming. This famous stretch of beach has plenty of nightlife, too, and at night the skyline sparkles. The beach curves toward Diamond Head, a series of volcanoes that illustrates a topography that is uniquely Hawaiian. At sunset, poise your camera to capture the majestic city on your right and Diamond Head behind you.
Dine on seafood or prime rib island-style while looking out over the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor at this upscale restaurant. Contemporary Hawaiian musicians provide a soundtrack in the restaurant's lounge, and the sunsets here are to die for. Take a break from sipping a signature cocktail at dusk to snap a selfie framed by golden sunset-lit yachts in the backgrounds.
A malassada is a Portuguese donut and Leonard's Bakery is famous for them. They started making the hole-less doughnut in 1953 and are a local favorite with accolades from some of the U.S.'s biggest publications, including USA Today. Try one of these fluffy, fried dough balls filled with custard, chocolate or coconut and dusted with cinnamon sugar, or li hing (dried plum), and snap a "pics or it-didn't-happen" memento in front of the sign.
This ranch is a private nature preserve that was the location site for "Jurassic Park," "Jurassic World," "Godzilla" and "Skull Island." It's also a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch that stretches from mountain cliffs to the ocean. Tour the ranch on horseback or ATV, or explore the ancient fishpond and tropical garden. Be sure to get the Koolau Mountains in the frame when you snap your selfie here.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Snorklers and scuba divers will love Hanauma Bay. It's one of the best places on Oahu to see approximately 400 species of tropical fish and sea turtles. You can't feed the fish, but you can sure take a selfie with them. Keep in mind the park is closed on Tuesdays to give the fish and reefs a break from their human friends.
The newly named Daniel K. Inouye Airport, formerly Honolulu International Airport, greets visitors with a big Hawaiian Aloha over the escalator leading to baggage claim. Nearly 20 million visitors go through the airport each year from all over the world as it is served by 27 airline carriers—domestic and international—in addition to three inter-island and four commuter airlines. Visitors can purchase lei made of fresh flowers; get one of your favorite flowers then step onto the escalator to snap a selfie under the Aloha sign. But be sure to do it on the escalator. Standing on the top to do it will block fellow passengers.
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
A mile's hike along the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail leads to the top of Makapuu and on a clear day the vantage point offers views all the way to Molokai and Lanai. The red-roofed white lighthouse, built in 1909, is a striking contrast to the deep blue ocean. The lighthouse is off limits, but be sure to get it into the frame when you snap your selfie. If you're really lucky, a breaching humpback whale will do a photo bomb, as they migrate past here between November and May.
The third oldest aquarium in the U.S., the Waikiki Aquarium is home to nearly 500 species of marine plants and animals. Watch Hawaiian monk seals play, explore reef life like giant clams and carpet anemone, and watch the sharks swim up close. Find a cool viewing dome and snap a selfie with the fish. Maybe a shark will swim up close enough to smile for the camera, too.