Just last week, I injured my foot surfing – perhaps breaking or fracturing something inside and it’s limited me in what I can do as of lately. It seems like a common problem. Accidents happen. And for many regular people, walking is a difficulty anyway. Which got me thinking, how can I still explore the island without the intense hiking or outdoor activities that I used to enjoy?
It seems like mobility and other issues, such as age or disease, prevent some people from being able to see the amazing views Hawaii has to offer. But that shouldn’t be that way. In fact, there are so many sights on Oahu that don’t require a physical component and this list cannot encompass them all. If we all live old enough, we will experience one point in life that reduces or even stops our mobility and this injury has given me a huge perspective change about how I took walking and running for granted. With that in mind, I’ve created a list of the best spots that you can view for anyone with a disability or injury. Let’s get to exploring!
Below is a list of scenic viewpoints on Oahu that are drivable. They would only require a short walk, if any. And can make for a great day for going around the island.
The Makapu’u Overlook is one of the best lookouts on the island. At any point in the day you can come and see the crystal clear blue water of the east side of the island. Off in the distance is Rabbit Island and the shores of Waimanalo. A parking lot lies only 100 ft. from the first concrete overlook. If your mobility allows you, then you can try the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail or go down to Makapu’u Beach for a swim or place to relax.
Tantalus Lookout and the whole way up Round Top Drive is one of the best viewpoints in downtown Honolulu. Located about 15 minutes from Waikiki, you can see Diamond Head, Manoa Valley, and Downtown Honolulu from a wheelchair accessible concrete landing. There’s a close parking lot, which has only a few stalls (the place to drop people off) and a farther parking lot that requires a short 4-5 minute walk. This is best to visit during the late afternoon or sunset.
Halona Blowhole & From Here to Eternity Beach:
The Halona Blowhole Lookout and From Here to Eternity Beach attracts many visitors. It’s one of the main stopping points if you are going around the east side of the island. Here you can see the waters of the Kaiwi Channel and the eroded cliff sides that make up the southeast shore of Oahu. The blowhole, which is best on a high tide and windy/wavy day, can shoot water up thirty or forty feet into the air.
Kamehameha Hwy + Opp Kaaawa:
This little beach park is a perfect stop for a classic Hawaii photo. The view from the beach accentuates and enlarges the dramatic cliffs in the background. It’s quite photogenic. I recommend you going in the early afternoon between 1-3pm for the best light. This was shot at 4pm, which meant the sun was already behind the mountains by that point.
Not exactly a scenic overlook, but a very scenic view, the H-3 has mountains that rise high above the highway on the Kaneohe side of the valley. You might be able to spot huge waterfalls along the way in each of the ridgelines (on a rainy day I saw at least 15, if not more). On a sunny day, you can spot the infamous Stairway to Heaven on a very narrow ridge. There’s no place to stop, but it is worth the drive that bisects the island.
Diamond Head Lookout:
From the high cliffs of Diamond Head (not to be mistaken for the Diamond Head Crater Trail), you can stop at two major lookouts that overlooks the vast pacific. Windy surf tends to catch from every angle, meaning an abundance of waves to watch, along with many avid surfers and windsurfers making the most of the large lineups. It’s a great place to stop by in the afternoon when the sun is starting to set.
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is actually a perfect road to drive with many scenic viewpoints and stopping points along the way. To explore half of the park requires walking, but the other half is all seen through the car window or closeby. You’ll want to visit here in the peaceful early morning at 9:00am when it opens. A map of all the spots and interesting trees can be found here.
The Pali Lookout sits high above the valley floor of Kailua, but is still far below the Ko’olau’s two major summits. The cliffside is steep and the wind picks up as it gets funneled through this small, narrow area. It’s a good stop if you are going from Kailua to town or vice versa.
More Oahu Guides Here:
These are my other guides for Oahu:
Ultimate Guide to Oahu: Best Things to Do on Oahu – Complete Bucket List
Best Hikes: The Best Hikes on Oahu
Best Beaches: Top 5 Beaches in Waikiki
Where to Stay: Best Areas to Stay on Oahu, Hawaii – Your Travel Guide