Locals always know the best places to go in any city, so we asked Priscilla Sharp, Event Coordinator, and Richelle Abiang, Marketing Manager at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties to recommend their favorite spots for sunrise and sunset viewing. Here are the fabulous places they shared with us.
Koko Head Crater
Richelle says exercise enthusiasts should catch the sunrise up on Koko Head Crater. The crater is at an elevation of 1,200 feet, or, for those of you with a Fitbit, 1,048 steps, and boasts stunning views.
Diamond Head is an inactive volcano that only takes about 40 minutes at a steady pace to climb. There is nowhere to purchase food or water at the top, but there are vending machines at the bottom of the trail.
Priscilla’s recommended sunrise hike is the Lanikai Pillboxes. If the first bunker is too crowded, she suggests you go up a little further to the second one. Dogs are allowed on leash for this 800 foot, 1.6 mile out and back moderate hike with beautiful wildflowers.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Another sunrise hike recommended by Priscilla is the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. This is a moderate two-mile round trip trail with a 500 foot elevation gain within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, with views that include Koko Head and Koko Crater. According to the Division of State Parks, on a clear day you can see Moloka’I and Lana’I, and if you hike the trail between November and May, take binoculars to view the migrating humpback wales. There are interpretive signs along the trail to help you identify the whales, and dogs are allowed on leash.
If you don’t want to start your day with a hike, Priscilla suggests watching the sunrise from Sandy Beach (Sandy’s, as the locals refer to it). This popular 1,200 foot-long beach on Oahu’s south shore is only about 20 minutes from Waikiki and is renowned for the golden-colored sand. A word of caution, the conditions for swimming are often dangerous, and the waves are only recommended for experienced body boarders and body surfers. More lifeguard rescues occur here than any other beach. But the waves make for great viewing during a sunrise breakfast on the beach.
Priscilla and Richelle agree that anywhere along the North Shore is a great place to watch a sunset, noting Haleiwa Beach Park, Sunset Beach, Sharks Cove and Turtle Bay as offering unforgettable views. Priscilla added that in the winter there is the bonus of huge swells and crashing waves.
Turtle Bay is the entrance to the North Shore and is named for the large number of green sea turtles residing there. Although it is not a particularly good spot for swimming, it is a good place to do some surfing, diving or fishing before you settle in to watch that beautiful winter sunset.
Priscilla said that if you don’t mind the afternoon rush hour traffic, the West side of the island provides more remote vistas where you might be lucky enough to catch the “green flash.” Ko Olina Lagoons and the Electric Beach are not too bad a drive, but if you are feeling really adventurous, and want a truly spectacular view, she recommends that you keep driving to the end of the road at Keawa’ula (Yokohama Beach), and then hike out to Ka’ena Point, the most Western tip of the island.
Yokohama Bay (Keawa’ula Beach) is the northernmost beach on Oahu’s west shore and as one of the most remote beaches on the island, it is a great place to go if you want to avoid the crowds. There is no bus service beyond Makaha Beach, so you need a car to get there.
Ka’ena Point is a remote, 2.7-mile (each way) hike along volcanic coast with tide pools, small natural stone arches, early morning dolphin sightings and a large sea cave.
Rumfire at the Sheraton
If you plan to spend the evening in Waikiki, try one of Priscilla’s favorite places for Pau Hana (Happy Hour), live music and sunset viewing during the fall and winter months, Rumfire at the Sheraton.
There are many wonderful places to view sunrises and sunsets on the island, and many options for doing that. From early morning hikes to meeting up with friends for food and drinks, there is always the chance to begin and end your day with a beautiful sky.
Do you have any favorite ways to enjoy our beautiful sunrises and sunsets? Let us know in the comments below.