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10 Awe-Inspiring Hawaii Photos

In case you were wondering, no, it is not difficult to capture amazing photos of Hawaii’s tropical island chain. In fact, it could be said that Hawaii’s photogenic qualities surpass even those of the world’s top supermodels, and (bonus!) does so with zero effort. It wakes up and goes to bed beautiful, and is up to you to notice!

Still, some photos are obviously more breathtaking than others. Below we present the 10 most stunning, awe-inspiring photos of The Aloha State, and recommend you take some time to explore the sights, sounds, and soul of Hawaii on your next Hawaiian adventure.

best hawaii photos

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Most Beautiful Photos of Hawaii 

#1 Oahu Shoreline

Oahu Helicopter Tours

Oahu is by far the most popular tourist island in Hawaii, and as you can see, for very good reason. The perfect mix of culture, history, nightlife, and nature is enough to keep visitors coming back year after year, and the dramatic colors of the shoreline meeting the turquoise waves is a site not to be missed. One of our favorite ways to see the island is by helicopter. From flying over the dramatic Diamond Head to the beautiful coral formations of Kaneohe Bay, Nuuanu Valley rain forest, and Pearl Harbor, it’s a great, time-efficient way to see the most gorgeous areas of the island from a whole new perspective.

Mahalo to the amazing Hawaii photographers at the Hawaii Photography Organization.

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#2 Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

top Hawaii travel photos

While Hawaii may not have any bears, crocodiles, raccoons or snakes, there are plenty of sea turtles to go around! Protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (and beginning in 1978), Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are the most plentiful turtle species seen in Hawaii, followed by the Hawksbill and Leatherback. Considered aumakua, or family guardians, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are highly respected and should be treated accordingly. Keep a safe distance when swimming with them, and refrain from feeding, chasing, or harming the marine life in any way. As they’re very accustomed to seeing people in the water, they’re even likely to approach you!

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#3 Molokai Sea Cliffs

molokai cliffs from helicopter

An often overlooked Hawaiian Island, Molokai is also one of the most authentic and naturally stunning. Home to the highest sea cliffs in the world, Molokai is an excellent location for travelers seeking ultimate island relaxation, rich (and tragic) historical significance, friendly locals, and adventures unlike anything else you’ll find in Hawaii. Take time to see the Molokai cliffs from the sky with a Doors Off West Maui and Molokai Helicopter Tour. Dubbed ‘The Friendly Isle,’ we also think it’s one of the most interesting places in the Pacific.

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#4 Marriott Wailea Resort, Maui

Marriott Maui

Located on the south shore of Maui in the high-end resort area of Wailea, the Marriott sits on an oceanfront property surrounded by pristine, manicured gardens, white sand, and perfect swimming conditions in the shallow, warm waters. Grab a mai tai and a plate of delicious food at the Marriott Luau and kick back to watch the always-amazing hula and fire dance show with sunset views from this gorgeous area of Maui, or hop in for a sunset swim alongside Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and tropical fish.

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#5 Mauna Kea Summit, Big Island

Mauna Kea snow, Big Island

Hawaii (Big) Island is one of the only places in the world where you can snowboard and surf in the same day. While snow is a somewhat rare occurrence, and conditions for snow sports aren’t exactly ideal, snow on the summit of Mauna Kea Volcano is one of the most beautiful sites in the world. If you happen to be a fortunate visitor during one of these amazing days, the absolute best way to see the volcanic snow is from the sky, as the road to the summit is typically closed to visitors. Learn more about the Hawaii Grand Circle Tour.

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#6 Big Island Lava Flow

Hawaii lava helicopter

Kilauea Volcano, located on Hawaii’s Big Island, is one of the best places in the world to witness an active lava flow. In fact, it has been continuously erupting since 1983 and has entranced photographers and videographers from around the globe. While you can see the steam rising from Halema’uma’u Crater from within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we highly recommend an aerial view of the ‘Circle of Fire,’ as well as a tour of the surrounding jungle and waterfalls. Don’t forget your camera!

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#7 Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

Dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific,’ Waimea Canyon on The Garden Isle is one of the most dramatic, stunning landscapes you’ll find in Hawaii. With shades of red, green, gold, brown, and everything in between, nature enthusiasts will love the rugged hiking trails within the canyon, as well as the drive to the several surrounding lookout points. While Kauai is known for its dramatic terrain, we love Waimea Canyon because it looks like nothing else you’ll see in the state of Hawaii. Ask the park for maps to find the best trail to fit your level of fitness, or take a helicopter ride to see the canyon from above!

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#8 Polo Beach and Fairmont Kea Lani Resort, Maui

Makena Maui aerial photos

South Maui’s rugged shoreline makes it easily one of the best places to snorkel on the island. The area fronting and surrounding the Kea Lani Resort, namely Polo Beach and the town of Wailea, is known for its excellent snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding at areas like Turtle Town, as well as its white sand and scenic sunsets. Be sure to reserve ample time to enjoy the amenities at the Fairmont Kea Lani, and visit the neighboring beaches, excellent restaurants, and reserve a spot at some of the best yearly events, including the Maui Film Festival.

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#9 Papakolea Beach, Big Island

green sand beach on the Big Island

One of only four green sand beaches in the world, Papakolea is reached by a 5-mile roundtrip hike on the Big Island’s southern shoreline. While swimming conditions can be somewhat dangerous depending on conditions, the hike is worth it to see the beauty of this rare worldly site. Or for those who prefer to skip the hike entirely, the views from a helicopter provide an equally memorable experience. You can see the entire island on the Circle Island from Kona Helicopter tour. If hiking, remember to bring plenty of drinking water and wear appropriate footwear!

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#10 Hilo Bay, Big Island

Hilo bay sunrise

Located on the eastern side of the Big Island, Hilo Bay is home to some of the island’s most breathtaking natural landscapes, including cascading waterfalls, tropical gardens, and rainforest, it is also the gateway for exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While you don’t want to miss attractions like the Imiloa Astronomy Center, Farmers Market, and several local museums, there’s plenty of natural, serene beauty to enjoy with friends, family, or a loved one.

Mahalo for reading our list of the Top 10 Most Awe-Inspiring Photos of Hawaii! We hope you enjoyed the gorgeous photos, and please let us know your favorite photogenic areas of Hawaii in the comments below. Aloha!