Hawaii is one of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth, with many sights to behold.
From lush rainforests to historical attractions, Hawaii has something magical for everyone.
However, if that's your first time in the Aloha state, you'll want to know the best Hawaii landmarks for your vacation.
We've combined all the best 15 Hawaii landmarks through this ultimate guide to the must-see attractions!
The Best 15 Landmarks in Hawaii
Hawaii is home to some of the most awe-inspiring landmarks on the planet that offers so much more than the sun and sand.
You will experience firsthand the beauty of these magnificent treasures through our guide, so let's get started.
Diamond Head State Monument
Diamond Head State Monument is the place to be for an exciting adventure.
This iconic volcanic tuff cone stands tall at the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline. Named by British sailors, who were tricked into thinking they had discovered diamonds on the slopes – it turned out to be just elegantly glinting calcite crystals.
The trail winds about 0.8 miles one way and gains around 560 feet in elevation. The climb is just enough to get your blood pumping but not too strenuous.
Once at the summit, you will be greeted with a breathtaking view of Honolulu cityscape and the endless blue Pacific Ocean. All in all, that's everything you need when vacationing in Hawaii!
Experiencing Waikiki Beach
A trip to Hawaii is not complete without a visit to the world-renowned Waikiki Beach.
With its golden sands, calm waters, and palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, the beach itself is a landmark that draws visitors from all over.
However, Waikiki Beach also offers something else that is equally as iconic - the statue of Duke Kahanamoku.
As the father of modern surfing, this legendary figure welcomes you with open arms on Kalakaua Avenue and sets the tone for a day of leisure and relaxation in paradise.
Whether you're a surfer or not, Duke's presence is a reminder of the laid-back lifestyle that Hawaii is known for, making it impossible not to soak up every moment of your time at Waikiki Beach.
Nestled within the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is a hidden gem: the Byodo-In Temple.
This stunning structure is a replica of the 900-year-old temple in Uji, Japan, and is surrounded by lush gardens, towering palm trees, and majestic mountains.
Stepping onto the temple grounds is like stepping into another world. You can experience peace and serenity as you walk around the tranquil koi pond or ring the temple's massive brass bell.
The Byodo-In Temple is not only a place of beauty but also a symbol of Hawaii's rich cultural diversity.
Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium
These incredible attractions offer a unique opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the native creatures of the island.
The Honolulu Zoo is home to a variety of species that are important to the Hawaiian culture, and you can catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat.
Moreover, the Waikiki Aquarium is another popular destination that provides opportunities to interact with marine life found in Pacific waters.
You to both attractions can learn about Hawaii’s unique wildlife and Polynesian traditions that have been so important to the state for centuries.
Often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," this landmark offers incredible views and a chance to experience the island's beauty up close.
As you hike the trails, you'll discover the diverse terrain of Waimea Canyon, complete with arid expanses at the top and verdant greenery further down.
The best time to visit is during sunrise or sunset, and we're confident you'll have a fabulous time here.
This stunning landmark boasts lush, emerald greenery that stretches out as far as the eye can see.
But the real standout of this natural wonder is the Iao Needle. This towering lava remnant rises an impressive 1,200 feet from the valley floor, covered in vibrant and lush vegetation.
For those who love to dive deep into local folklore and cultural significance, the Iao Valley State Monument is not to be missed.
With a rich history and stunning views, this beautiful valley is a must-visit for anyone exploring the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii.
Haleakala National Park
Nestled on the island of Maui, Haleakala National Park offers a stunning display of natural beauty for visitors and locals alike.
With its dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views, it's no wonder that this landmark has become a top attraction among nature enthusiasts in Hawaii.
Whether you're looking to hike through the park's verdant trails or witness the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala, there are plenty of ways to explore this magical place.
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is one of the most solemn and significant landmarks in Oahu, Hawaii.
At the heart of this iconic complex is the USS Arizona Memorial, a powerful monument to the brave men and women who lost their lives during the fateful attack on December 7th, 1941.
Built over the wreckage of the battleship, the memorial offers a poignant reminder of the human cost of war and the heroism of those who fought and died for their country.
While visiting the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, you can pay your respects and learn about the history of this important moment in World War II, which changed the course of both American and world history forever.
The best way to visit is to join a Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City tour, and we recommend booking as soon as possible, as it's one of the most popular tours in Hawaii.
As you make your way through downtown Honolulu, you can't miss the imposing Iolani Palace.
This historic landmark was once the official residence of Hawaii's last reigning monarchs and remains the only royal palace in the United States.
You can step back in time and learn about the lavish lifestyles of Hawaii's former kings and queens, while also delving into the complex history of the island's relationship with foreign powers.
With its beautiful architecture and rich cultural significance, Iolani Palace is a must-visit for anyone looking to truly understand Hawaii's past.
National Memorial Cemetery
A dormant volcano located on Big Island in Hawaii is a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.
Rising over 13,800 feet above sea level, it's the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and touch the heavens.
As you make your way up this majestic mountain, you'll journey through unique ecosystems that look like something out of a dream world.
But it's not just nature that draws people here; it also holds significant cultural importance to the native Hawaiians.
By taking in the lava rock formations, you'll be reminded of how these beautiful islands were formed from volcanic activity millions of years ago.
The real treat begins once you reach the top and get to explore the advanced astronomical observatories. You'll be amazed by the crystal-clear clarity with which you'll see celestial bodies.
Due to its elevation, remember to prepare for thin air and cold temperatures even during summer months.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
This park has two of the most famous volcanoes in Hawaii, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which happen to still be active to this day.
The real highlight of this park is the spectacular lava tubes that have formed underground. As you walk through these beautifully sculpted tunnels, it's almost like you're walking through a natural time capsule.
The sheer power of Mother Nature is undeniable and awe-inspiring to witness firsthand. And if you're lucky enough, you might even catch a glimpse of molten lava flowing before your very eyes.
One of the most iconic of these landmarks is the Aloha Tower, located in Honolulu. Standing tall at 184 feet, it served as a beacon for incoming ships to Hawaii in the early days.
Today, the tower has become one of the most recognized landmarks of Hawaii. It now houses a marketplace with more than 60 shops and restaurants, making it an ideal spot for you to go shopping, and admire the stunning waterfront views.
You can also take a tour of the tower to learn about its history and importance to the people of Hawaii.
Next on this list best Hawaii landmarks is Tantalus Lookout, offering stunning views of Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean from 1,048 feet above sea level.
Nestled atop a mountain in Oahu, this incredible viewpoint offers visitors a panoramic view of Honolulu and the surrounding tropical forests.
From the moment you step foot onto the scenic overlook, you'll be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of the lush greenery and sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Make sure to come for sunset, as it's one of the best viewpoints in Oahu!
Polynesian Cultural Center
An extraordinary landmark that exhibits the rich heritage and customs of Polynesia. Spread across a massive 42-acre area, this living museum comprises of six authentic Polynesian villages.
Walking through these villages feels like a surreal experience, as if you are returning to an era when the community, culture, and traditions still flourished.
You can explore and soak up the customs of different Polynesian cultures, try your hand at traditional arts and crafts, or witness the exhilarating canoe pageant.
This incredible Dole Plantation is a symbolic representation of the significant influence that pineapples have had on Hawaii's agricultural industry over the years.
A visit to this famous landmark gives tourists and locals alike a chance to learn about Hawaii’s pineapple farming history while surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens and interactive exhibits.
The vibrant gardens contain many exotic plants and towering trees that make for a great place to explore with loved ones. Lastly, when coming, do you forget to enjoy a typical Hawaiian Dole Whip!
Hawaii is home to some of the world's most remarkable landmarks with breathtaking beauty. You can experience from the stunning beaches to the historical places. Hawaii covered all of them.
Exploring Hawaii is an experience that you'll simply never forget. From its captivating natural beauty to its immense historic importance in Oahu and beyond, it's a place unlike any other.
From the panoramic views of Waimea Canyon to Pearl Harbor and more, we're certain your vacation will be one for the books,
Frequently Asked Questions
Hawaii's most iconic landmark is the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, a pivotal site in World War II history.
Hawaii has diverse landmarks like Waimea Canyon, Iao Valley, Mauna Kea volcano, and the cultural Polynesian Cultural Center.
The beaches of Waikiki on Oahu Island are often dubbed as the most visited places in Hawaii because of their stunning beauty.
The Hawaiian Islands' famed landforms include active volcanoes like Kilauea and Mauna Loa and unique formations such as Diamond Head Crater and Black Sand Beaches.
The best time to visit Hawaii is between March and September. During these months, the temperature is at its warmest and the chances of rainfall are much lower.
This is the perfect time to go on the beautiful beaches and hike to breathtaking waterfalls.