Where to watch some of the most spectacular sunrises in Hawaii

Where to watch some of the most spectacular sunrises in Hawaii

Posted by Hawaiian Isles on 2/22/2018 to Best of Hawaii
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It’s time to wake up and smell (and sip!) the coffee to the sound of waves lapping the shore and sight of a multi-colored Hawaiian sunrise.

We recently told you where to watch a Hawaiian sunset for some of the most romantic moments you’ll likely ever share. Yet, island sunrises are equally enchanting, as they jump-start the day by awakening all your senses.

Here are a few of our favorite places to watch darkness give way to dramatic shades of red, orange, purple and pink. It’s sure to perk you up and set the stage for a perfect day in paradise.

Haleakala National Park, Maui

Cuddle at daybreak at 10,000 feet above sea level.


Photo Credit: Alexander Demyanenko

In the Hawaiian language, Haleakala translates to “House of the Sun.”
Legend tells that this is where the demigod Maui lassoed the sun to slow its passage, so his mother had more time to dry kapa (bark cloth).

It’s hard to top the surreal experience of watching sunrise from the 10,000-foot summit of this massive shield volcano that became a National Park in 1916. While this is undeniably one of Maui’s most spectacular adventures, it takes a little planning.

The National Park Service requires reservations for visitors in personal and rental vehicles to enter the Summit District between 3-7am.

Since the air is as much as 30°F colder than at sea level, don’t dress for the beach. In fact, temperatures often dip below freezing in the winter. Bundle up with pants, shoes, layers of clothing, and blankets. Couples especially love this sunrise, since it’s a natural for cuddling! Also bring a Thermos or two of Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee to keep you warmer.

Aside from under-dressing, another common mistake is departing immediately after the sun rises. Just 10-20 minutes later, the dawn sky unfolds with intense hues across the landscape. Since you’ve made the effort, extend the day on the 30,000-acre park’s hiking trails or a pre-arranged horseback riding tour.


Volcanoes National Park, Big Island of Hawaii

Sunrise colors contrast a black lava landscape.


Joining Haleakala as a National Park in 1916, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park presents a primo sunrise perch overlooking Halemaumau Crater near the park entrance. This mystic, primordial experience truly doubles the pleasure with the fusion of lava from the fuming vent and emerging sun. This is another place where you should layer clothing and stay into the day to explore Mother Nature’s marvel.

Anahola Bay, Kauai

East Kauai’s mellow mood begins at dawn.


Imagine the solitude of waking up to a gorgeous sunrise and sharing a hot cup of coffee–all on white sands just steps from where you fell asleep to a lullaby of crashing waves the night before. As one of the few overnight camping grounds on Kauai’s east coast, Anahola lets you do just that. Thanks to a protective outlying reef, this beautiful bay also appeals with nice swimming and snorkeling most of the year.

Chinaman's Hat, Oahu

Welcome the day at a legendary Windward Side landmark.


Photo Credit: Rcdigital

Ask a local where to find Mokolii, and you’ll likely receive a blank stare. Ask about Chinaman’s Hat, and they’ll have you covered! Resembling a laborer’s hat worn in rural China, this Oahu icon is located offshore from Kualoa Regional Beach Park with the Koolau Mountains in the background. Bring a blanket, coffee, and breakfast bento to share as a ball of orange slowly rises from the Pacific and paints both the bay and sky in brilliant colors.

Sandy Beach Park, Oahu

Water enthusiasts catch waves & a stunning sunrise.


Photo Credit: Shane Myers

Few places have waves that actually make a cracking sound as they break on the beach. Sandy Beach is one of them. This expansive south shore hot spot draws daring pre-dawn bodysurfers who add to the magic of a peaceful sunrise. Watch the sun come up bundled in a blanket, or stroll down the beach to the tide pools and soak in nature’s splendor as the waves come rolling in.

If you’re feeling super ambitious, drive a bit further north along Kalanianaole Highway for a pre-sunrise Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail hike along a paved path to the 647-foot summit. Prepare for an epic view of the eastern shoreline, offshore islets, and islands of Molokai and Lanai on the horizon–and possibly a humpback or two from December through April.

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

A stellar setting to soak in dawn’s first light.


Photo Credit: Shane Myers

As the sun peaks above the horizon, you’ll embrace the energy of a new day and why Lanikai is considered among the world’s most beautiful beaches. It’s great to share this popular spot with a few runners and pet owners walking their canine minutes before a new day begins to unfold.

Raising the view bar, Lanikai Pillbox Trail delivers the sunrise splendor from a higher 360-degree vantage point. On the downside, it takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the first bunker and another 10-15 to hit the second. Both reveal a panorama of “The Mokes” (Kailua’s twin islands), Kailua Bay, and Chinaman’s Hat in the distance. Since you’ll have to hike up in the dark, bring a flashlight.

Pick a spot, set your alarm, grab a cup (or Thermos) of Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee, and set out for an early morning adventure that will make your day!

We hope you enjoyed our little taste of Aloha! If you ever have any questions or story ideas, please e-mail us at [email protected]!


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