Top Oahu Sunrise Photoshoot Locations

Oahu sunrise elopement hike

Oahu sunrise. Are you tired of me talking about it yet? It is just the very best time of the day. The sensory experience of an Oahu sunrise is unparalleled to the rest of the day. The air is cool and usually kisses your skin with a breeze. The colors of the sky changes by the minute, illuminating what was hidden in the dark. Hearing the waves crash, the birds sing, and the roosters crow before the sound of cars, people, and busyness drowns them out. The smell of the dewy earth. It all wraps me up in an experience I have yet to find during any other time of the day.

For elopements and photoshoots, I love sunrise all the more. Oahu sunrises grant couples the luxury of privacy in otherwise busy locations. Taking photos and expressing your love in front of a camera is a vulnerable thing. Let’s take away any additional stress, like spectators. The Oahu sunrise locations I have listed below are typically filled with locals and tourists alike throughout the rest of the day. Here are just a few of the amazing locations to witness an Oahu sunrise.

Crouching Lion Hike

Crouching Lion Hike is on the Northeast side of Oahu. To catch the sunrise, this hike requires you to hike in the dark for about 20 minutes on a steep trail with a lot of tree coverage. For these reasons, it is not a popular sunrise hike for many due to the challenge of navigating in the dark. However, it is well worth it.

When you reach the top you have an incredible view of Kahana Bay, the mountains, and the valley. This is one of my favorite locations for elopements because of the privacy and diversity of the landscape.

You can see more of this Oahu sunrise elopement at Crouching Lion here.

Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail

Hanauma Bay is a popular destination for snorkeling during the day. There is a trail that lines the ridge along the bay. This is a great sunrise location for people who are not avid hikers but still want a view from above. You get a beautiful sunrise view of KoKo Head and Hanauma Bay. It is a paved path with no tree coverage so you still have light from the sun before it even rises over the horizon.

Be careful if you want your hair to look cute though because it is quite windy along the trail.

Lanikai Beach

Oahu sunrise photoshoot at Lanikai Beach

So you don’t want to do a hike but you still want to witness an Oahu sunrise? No problem. Let’s go to the beach. Lanikai is world famous for its white sand beaches, milky blue water, and view of the Mokes. During the day you can hardly find a place to lay a towel, let alone have privacy for a photoshoot. But before the sun reaches the horizon there is plenty of space to soak up the beauty with each other.

See more from Michelle and Chris’ dreamy Oahu sunrise anniversary shoot here.

Chinamans Hat

Oahu sunrise elopement at Kualoa Ranch.

Sunrise on top of Chinamans Hat is no easy feat but if you are in search of a true adventure, this is the one for you. Getting here required us to kayak at 4:00am to reach the island. We could not see or hear the waves coming towards us and the darkness also hid the docking location. Once we made it safely across the water, we still had to hike in the dark up the steep climb to the top of the island. It is an adventure I will never forget and with it comes the reward of looking back at the Ko’olau mountain range illuminated by the sun.

If you are interested in taking on this adventure, you can read more about Tyler and Max’s here.

Cockroach Cove

Oahu sunrise at Cockroach Cove

With its rocky outer terrain, contrasting blue water, and soft sandy beach Cockroach Cove is the ideal location if you are looking for an easy and diverse location to experience an Oahu sunrise. The bonus to this location for photoshoots is that because of the landscape, the waves often crash against the cliffs and creates a hazy, misty glow in the sun.

Have I sold you on sunrise yet? These are just a few of the locations on Oahu that offer beautiful views of each new day. If you are interested in others or are ready to schedule a session with me, let’s connect. Or if you aren’t sold and are more of a sunset person, you can check out some Oahu sunset locations here.

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