Just like the other five main Hawaiian Islands, O’ahu is a dream vacation. From sprawling coastlines, and beautiful beaches, to a volcanic tuff crater, a nature preserve, and a botanical garden, all just waiting to be explored. It’s hard not to fall in love with any of the Hawaiian Islands.
O’ahu is unlike any of the other islands, in that it has a large downtown area that resembles Downtown Los Angeles, but cleaner. Chances are if you are heading to O’ahu, you’ll be staying in and spending most of your time in the Honolulu/Waikiki area.
The heart of Waikiki is completely walkable, but you will need a car to get into the Downtown Honolulu or beyond this area. If you’re looking for those Instagram worthy shots in Honolulu, don’t fret! I’ve got you covered!
Probably the most well-known beach of all the Hawaiian Islands. Waikiki Beach is a 2-mile stretch of beautiful white sand beach packed with almost every kind of hotel and resort which caters to the flocks of tourists who come here year-round.
You can do every type of water sport on the beach from surfing, paddle boarding, canoeing, and snorkeling. If you are more of a land dweller, no worries! Sit back and work on getting that golden Hawaiian tan while you people watch.
The resorts and Lē’ahi (Diamond Head) will serve as your background at this Instagrammable location. Don’t forget to check out the sunset from this famous beach, Hawaiian sunsets are some of the most epic in the world!
Pro Tip: Because Waikiki Beach is so famous, you may need to photoshop some people out of your shots if you don’t get down here early enough.
Another popular tourist destination, this 760-foot tuff crater is one of O’ahu’s most famous landmarks. The iconic state monument’s silhouette is recognizable anywhere.
Formed 100,000 years ago, Diamond Head crater was used as a strategic military lookout in the early 1900s. In 1968, it became a National Natural Landmark and today it is an incredibly popular hiking destination.
If you plan to hike Lē’ahi, I recommend getting there as early as possible. I went during the week in February and pretty close to sunrise, and it was already jam-packed with tourists.
Plan on spending a few hours here; the hike itself isn’t very long but all of the people will slow you down. If you can brave the tourists and the 210 stairs (if you go left on the trail) the breathtaking views of Waikiki and the South Side are well worth it all.
Pro Tip: When you’re finished with your hike, stop at the red food truck in the parking lot and treat yourself to a fresh fruit smoothie.
Located in Downtown Honolulu, this National Historic Landmark is the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. ‘Iolani Palace was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs and it was once used as the capitol building. It fell into despair and was renovated to its once former glory and opened to the public in 1978.
You can tour this incredibly beautiful palace, which has a lot of Instagrammable rooms. You can even catch a glimpse of the Hawaiian Royal jewels, swords and golden crowns of the King and Queen, tell me that isn’t worthy of Instagram!
KING KAMEHAMEHA I STATUE
Across the street from ‘Iolani Palace, you’ll find one of four statues of King Kamehameha I. Not only was Kamehameha a great warrior and leader, but he is also the reason in 1810 that the Hawaiian Islands became united as one kingdom after years of conflict.
If Kamehameha never unified Hawai’i, the islands may have been torn apart by different western interests. And the Hawai’i we know and love today may have looked very different.
As I said, the statue of Kamehameha in Honolulu is just one of four, and it stands in front of Aliiolani Hale, which is home to the Hawai’i State Supreme Court. The second statue can be found in North Kohala on the Big Island, which is Kamehameha’s birthplace. The third is in Hilo also on the Big Island. The fourth can be found in Washington D.C.
Make sure you stop by and pay your respects to The King if you’re in the Downtown area for uniting Hawai’i and allowing you to visit the Hawai’i that we know today.
Pro Tip: The Friday closest to June 11 (which is King Kamehameha Day) the statue will be draped with leis to celebrate Hawai’i’s king, making this statue even more Instagrammable.
THE LAYLOW, AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION
This hotel is an Instagrammer’s dream! I stayed here on my recent O’ahu vacation and fell in love with The Laylow the second I got off the elevator!
Once I arrived in the lobby, I was instantly transported back to what I think 1960’s O’ahu would have looked like but with a modern, hipster vibe. Behind the check-in desk is an impressive collection of Hula Girls displayed on wooden shelves.
The rooms all have a monstera wallpaper that was made for selfies for “the gram.” Even if you aren’t staying here, you can still enjoy the other IG worthy locations as a guest.
In the lobby, you can find a couple of wicker hanging chairs, a vintage little coffee shop, or you can head to the bar for some IG worthy food and drinks. Depending on where you sit, you could have a view of Kūhiō Ave in the background.
DUKE KAHANAMOKU STATUE
Located further down Waikiki Beach on famous Kalākaua Avenue, you can find the statue of Duke Kahanamoku.
This Olympic Gold Medalist played an essential role in spreading the sport of surfing and the aloha spirit around the world. He was one of the pioneers of the Waikiki Beach Boys, teaching visitors how to surf and canoe. This is why today he is known globally as the “father of modern surfing.” Duke was also the first person to be inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame.
Whether you visit early morning, during the day, or at night, you will often find leis hanging from the Duke’s outstretched arms. His bronze statue stands with a bronze surfboard behind him, tiki torches, palm trees, and the ocean serves as your background for this Instrammable location.
Pro Tip: My first visit to Duke was at night and there were still loads of people around. I went back again, before sunrise and was able to get my shot. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the shot I wanted with the ocean but it was free of people. Be prepared to wait for people to walk by to get the shot you want.
OLIVE AND OLIVER
The couple behind Olive Boutique and Oliver Men’s Shop partnered with Surfjack Hotel to open this Instagram worthy artisan coffee shop and boutique. This cute, vintage, hipster coffee shop makes for the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee.
The bar is covered in an IG worthy blue printed wallpaper. Light pink walls, cement floors and a couple of wicker chairs out front will make for another Instagram worthy spot.
On top of the espresso machine sits the real Insta worthy shot, all of their Hawaiian themed paper cups, complete with a little hula girl. While I was here all of the customers in front of me and behind me, all took pictures of their drinks, so you know this place is Instagram worthy.
KONA COFFEE PURVEYORS + B. PATISSERIE
This coffee shop combines two of my favorite things, Kona coffee and French pastries. Located in the International Market Place this specialty coffee shop is definitely worthy of Instagram.
It may not be as flashy as some other coffee shops but its sleek lines, beautiful wood and marble tabletops will help showcase the Insta worthy pastry and coffee you will be devouring. While you are in line you will be forced to walk past the freshly made French pastries sitting atop white marble, waiting for their IG moment. Instagram aside, this is my favorite coffee shop in Honolulu.
The pastries are made fresh multiple times a day using traditional French technique. You can find some Hawaiian influence with some of the pastries as well. I ended up getting a pineapple coconut almond croissant and it was the best croissant I’ve ever had!
The coffee is all high-quality single-estate Kona. Kona Coffee is used behind the bar and they sell it plus other coffee grown on other Hawaiian islands. I ordered a mocha to go with my croissant and it was pure perfection!
HONOLULU INSTAGRAM WRAP UP
Honolulu is a hot spot for great photography, and there is much more on O’ahu to see. If you can find time in your vacation to explore the other side of the island, I highly encourage it.
I hope this guide was helpful to find some great Instagram spots in Honolulu!
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Honolulu, Hawaii. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
Do you want to share your own travel tips by guest writing for We Are Travel Girls? Please visit our Contribute page for guidelines and to submit your article.
Discover some of our favorite places to stay in Honolulu, Hawaii:
- Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
- The Ritz-Carlton Residences
- Aston Waikiki Beach Tower
- Find the best accommodation in Oahu, Hawaii
- Sign up to AirBNB and get US $35 off your first booking
Read More About Hawaii
- Top 10 Things To Do in Oahu
- 8 Instagrammable Spots on Maui
- 5 Must Have Experiences In Oahu, Hawaii
- 8 Things Not To Miss In Maui
- The Ultimate Road Trip: Driving The Road To Hana
Pin For Later
This website is a free resource and to keep it free for our readers we may use affiliate links in our articles. If you make a purchase via the links on our site you will pay the same price, but we may receive a small percentage which helps us to keep bringing you new and informative travel content every day! Any products we endorse we personally use and love. Please see our Disclosures for more information.