When it comes to sunsets, the Hawaiian Islands have all the right ingredients: dramatic coastlines, endless horizons, and even the occasional green flash. There are plenty of great places across Hawaii to watch the sun go down. But where to head if you’re in search of something really spectacular? We’ve rounded up four of our favorite places to view Hawaii’s most stunning sunsets. Grab your mai tai and get ready for nature’s best nightly show.
Puu Pehe, Lanai
Nestled between beautiful Hulopoe Bay and Lanai’s main boat harbor Manele Bay lies Puu Pehe, one of Hawaii’s most iconic natural landmarks. It’s a bit of a hike to reach the top of this 80-foot cliff, but a sunset view from the top makes the trek well worth it. The cliffside path to Puu Pehe winds above Hulupoe Bay, a protected marine reserve home to a unique species of spinner dolphins.
Known by many as Sweetheart Rock, this scenic lookout is steeped in Hawaiian legend. According to local folklore, a young warrior named Makakehau hid his lover Pehe, a beautiful young princess, in a cave at the base of the cliffs. When a storm hit and drowned Pehe, Makakehau was so distraught that after burying her, he climbed to the top of Puu Pehe and flung himself into the pounding surf below. The sad love story attached to this landmark makes catching a sunset here especially dramatic.
Kailua-Kona, Big Island
The pink and purple light reflecting off the dark volcanic rocks that dot the white sand along the coastline here make for some of the most dramatic sunsets you’ll find on the Big Island. But Kailua-Kona doesn’t just offer great sunsets – it also provides a glimpse into what Hawaii was like before becoming the tourist hub it is today. This lively seaside town used to be a retreat for Hawaiian royalty before the capital was moved to Honolulu, and much of its old-world charm has been preserved.
Located in the heart of the Kona coast, this area of the Big Island is only a 15-minute drive south of Kona International Airport, making it an easy and convenient spot to reach by car.
Haleakala Summit, Maui
Although it’s mostly known for it’s dramatic sunrise, Haleakala is also one of the best places in Maui to catch the sunset. If you pick a day that the summit is above the clouds, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning display of vivid orange and pink light reflecting off the white cloud cover.
This massive volcano on the east side of the island makes up almost 75 percent of Maui, and the summit sits over 10,000 feet above sea level. Although it takes a little planning to make it to the top, the views of the Big Island and almost all of Maui make the adventure worth it.
The winding Haleakala Crater Road allows you to drive to the top. Make sure to bring plenty of layers and warm clothing, since the temperature at the summit can vary dramatically, and pack food and water as amenities are limited within Haleakala National Park.
Kalalau Beach, Kauai
Accessible only by boat or an 11-mile hike along the Kalalau Trail, this secluded beach certainly isn’t easy to reach, but rewards travelers with one of the best (and most private) sunsets on the island.
Located along Kauai’s legendary Na Pali Coast, this one-mile stretch of beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs and rocky terrain, and the setting sun lights up the surrounding landscape and Pacific in a glittering array of colors. Permits are required to hike or camp in this pristine landscape, and often sell out early. We recommend reserving yours ahead online from the Hawaii DNLR.