These days a photo seems to represent more than just ‘a thousand words’. Yes it captures a moment, a day, a vacation or a mood, but images today have also become statements of your personality. Since Instagram (the popular photo sharing social media app), was created in 2010, over 150 million people use it to upload and share photos of their lives. But just because you take part in this phenomenon doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a little help figuring out how to get THE shot. Especially if you’re new to Hawaii and want to maximize the photos you take.

I’m all about an adventure. And if you succeed in a fun and memorable (or at the very least entertaining) adventure while vacationing in Hawaii, what better way to relive it than to share the image with friends? The trick though is capturing the highlight of that adventure, which isn’t always easy to do. So for those of you that want to maximize your vacation in Hawaii and share your experiences with the world, here are my top picks for the best photo opps on Oahu. There is an ‘easy’ version of the photo opportunity and a more adventurous one for those looking to optimize the vacation and really nail THE shot.

Or, the Pill Boxes. If you visit this beach during its peak beauty hours, your picture will surely elicit a feed of comments from envious friends. Park in the neighborhood and walk through one of the many public beach access paths to the water. There you’ll see the stunning Moku Islands, which is the best photo opp along this stretch of white powdery sand. Or, get adventurous and hike the low mountains behind Lanikai beach. Known as the pillboxes, there is an incredibly insane view of the beach, waters and islands below. The view of Lanikai and the Moku Islands from above is a crowd pleaser.
Statue of Duke
Or, Diamond Head From the Perspective of a Surfboard. A vacation to Oahu is not complete without a depiction of classic Waikiki. You can easily get this shot by posing next to Duke Kahanamoku at Queen’s on Kalakaua. Bronzed and ethereal, Duke stands in front of his surfboard with arms outstretched, and it’s popular for visitors to stop by and place a lei around his neck (hint hint). This photo will definitely capture the timelessness of Waikiki, but not quite as much as if you were to nab a photo from the waters. Surf lessons and board rentals are available at this beach, and here you can enjoy an outdoor adventure and get a great photo of Diamond Head, which is a symbol of Honolulu and world wide recognition of Hawaii.
Chinaman’s Hat
Or, Stepping Foot on the Island. It’s like Hawaii’s version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If you stand in a specific spot in a specific way, it looks like you’re wearing a triangle shaped hat. A famous landmark of Oahu, it’s easy to get a photo of Chinaman’s Hat, but you’ll have a much more adventurous time if you rent a kayak and paddle to the island itself. Also known as Mokoli‘i, you will find a small, private cove on the backside of the island and a rocky path up to the ‘hat’s peak’. Once at the top, the 360-degree view of gorgeousness will have you in awe over Oahu’s beauty. And your Instagram photo might just make it to the popular page.
Waimea Bay
Or, Rock Jumping From the Beach. This bay of sand is most spectacular during summer months, when the waters are calm, clear and utterly turquoise. The best photo opp spot for capturing this slice of heaven is at the Haleiwa side of the bay (western side) on the main highway. While there is very limited parking here, you can sometimes find a spot parallel to the highway to jump out and nab the shot. Boasting an aerial view of Waimea, this is an incredible picture that will really highlight your journey to the North Shore. Take it one step (or ten steps) further and jump the black rock at the beach. Once you find parking, you can walk to the western side of the Bay, walk or wade out to the cropping of black lava rock, easily climb up, and then get the shot of Waimea Bay from the top of the rock. Or even while jumping into the waters below. Just make sure you invest in a waterproof camera for this adventurous and active option.
Ko Olina Lagoons
Or, A View From the Hotel Lanai. Located on Oahu’s west side, Ko Olina is a resort community that harbors four gorgeously calm coves with palm tree lined beaches and picturesque palapa umbrellas. Open to the public, you can park in any of the lots for Lagoons 1, 2, 3 or 4 and enjoy a beach day. Once you catch a glimpse of the waters, you’ll understand why this is a top spot for a photo opp, it simply epitomizes a relaxing Hawaii vacation. Make your day a bit more exciting and finagle your way into one of the condos or hotels for an aerial view of the lagoons. If you stand on a lanai facing the ocean, you’ll be in awe over the vivid scenery.


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