When it comes to finding spectacular views in America, Hawaii takes the cake. Images of lush rainforests, crystal clear waters, and sandy shorelines easily come to mind. But these islands are more than a tropical destination. Carved by volcanic activity, find the colored, jagged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast; molten lava from the Halemaumau Crater crashing into the cool waters of the Pacific; or the deep, chromatic gorge at Waimea Canyon.
Mauna Loa Observatory, Big Island
Considered to be the largest volcano on the planet, a drive up to the top of Mauna Loa‘s peak reveals stunning views at over 11,000 feet (3352.8 meters) high.
Diamond Head, Oahu
Take the Diamond Head Trail to the summit of Oahu’s volcanic tuff cone nestled along the coastline, and find panoramic views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean. Created by a volcanic eruption, Diamond Head is estimated to be about 200,000 years old.
Halemaumau Crater, Big Island
Within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater lava lake has been rising, drawing crowds to see its molten rock and flowing lava as it creeps across the floor 100 feet (30.4 meters) below the adjacent crater.
Kualoa Ranch, Oahu
With over 4,000 acres of lush flora, towering mountains, and sweeping views of the ocean, Kualoa Ranch has it all.
Also known as Sweetheart Rock, Puupehe is one of Lanai’s iconic landmarks: a crimson-colored triangular sea stack sits just off the peninsula that separates Manele Bay from its neighboring Hulopo Bay.
Waipio Valley Lookout, Big Island
For panoramic views of Waipio Valley and the surrounding landscape, Waipio Valley Lookout is the ticket. But if you’re yearning to get close, take the Waimanu or Muliwai Trail to the valley floor, which lies 2,000 feet (609.6 meters) below the towering mountains.
Waimea Canyon, Kauai
Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is deep and colorful. Stretching nearly 10 miles (16 kilometers) and 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) deep, sweeping views of the massive gorge are best seen from a mountain rim.
Seven Sacred Pools, Maui
Deep within the dense forest of Oheo Gulch, seven swimming pools are hidden within the landscape, each connected to the next by waterfalls.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai
Be transported to another world on Hawaii’s oldest island. Sharp and jagged mountains hug the coastline as varying hues of sediment color the steep mountainsides.
The Road to Hana, Maui
The Road to Hana (the Hana Highway) stretches for over 60 miles (96.5 kilometers), winding through the tropical mountain landscape of Maui from Kahului to Hana. Be sure to stop along the way for awe-inspiring sunsets.
Hanauma Bay, Oahu
Named the best beach in America in 2016, it’s no surprise that Hanauma Bay wins in the stunning views sector, complete with a massive crescent-shaped bay, white sand beaches, and remarkably blue waters.
Kee Beach at sunset, Kauai
Golden colors illuminate the coastline in Haena State Park. Referred to as the “end of the road,” Kee Beach marks the end of the Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s North Shore.
Haiku Stairs, Oahu
The Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, offers unparalleled views of the island of Oahu. But visitors must hike up the steep, 4,000-step trail on the Koolau mountain range – considered to be the most epic, and famously illegal, hike in Hawaii.
Mount Haleakala, Maui
Mount Haleakala, a massive shield volcano, forms more than three-quarters of the island of Maui. Head here during sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views at nearly 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) above sea level.
Hanalei, a small, peaceful seaside town on the North Shore, is filled with verdant forests and dense greenery. Is there anything more serene?
Makapuu Lookout, Oahu
From Makapuu Point, the easternmost point of the island, catch a glimpse of Makapuu Beach Park, Rabbit Island, and the rising sea cliffs as they stretch along the coast westward.
Nuuanu Pali, Oahu
A popular Oahu scenic outlook, Nuuanu Pali boasts panoramic views of Nuuanu Valley, the Koolau mountain range, and the windward coast of Oahu.
Honokohau Falls, Maui
Honokohau Falls is the tallest waterfall on Maui, plunging 1,100 feet (335.2 meters) to an inaccessible valley floor below. Because of its remote location, a trip via helicopter is the only way to see the falls.
Chinaman’s Hat, Oahu
Mokolii (commonly referred to as Chinaman’s Hat) is a small island in the Kaneohe Bay, just one-third of a mile (one-half kilometer) off the shores of Kualoa Point.
Kilauea Point, Kauai
A visit to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge isn’t complete without a trip to the famous lighthouse, a tall, white structure that sits high above the ocean on a cliff created by volcanic activity.
Ko Olina Resort, Oahu
As suspected, there are few things better than a vision of palm trees, blue skies, and sandy shorelines.