While Hawaii is famous for daytime activities like lazing on the beach, surfing, snorkeling, and visiting volcanoes, it’s also a fascinating place to discover at night. But we aren’t talking about nightclubs and late-night parties here. Stargazing in Hawaii presents the chance to marvel at big starry skies and the Milky Way. So when the sun drifts downs on the horizon, make your way to these top stargazing locations.
Tips for Hawaii Stargazing
Before you head off in search of constellations, consider these stargazing tips
- Prioritize less-populated areas where there are fewer buildings and reduced light pollution.
- If possible, avoid the north and east (windward) sides of the islands, which are typically cloudier than the west (leeward)—so keep an eye on the weather forecast.
- Remember that the fuller and brighter the moon, the fewer stars you’ll be able to see.
- Elevated areas, such as volcanoes, offer enhanced viewing as they have viewing platforms above the clouds.
- Make sure to be equipped with a flashlight, proper footwear, and suitable clothing if heading off-the-beaten-track.
6 Awesome Spots for Stargazing in Hawaii
- Highlights: The largest museum in Hawaii offers a captivating insight into the history and culture of the islands. It’s also home to the J. Watumull Planetarium, therefore the perfect place for an educational stargazing tour.
- Location: 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu; 15-minute drive from the hotel (parking available for a fee).
- Good to Know: The Hawaiian Sky Tonight is a daily 45-minute show that explains the constellations and planets visible from Oahu. General admission for adults is $3.
- Highlights: This natural wonder, at the foot of the Koko Crater, sends geysers shooting 30 feet into the air. Away from the city lights, it’s also a popular spot for stargazing in Hawaii and the chance to combine two natural phenomena.
- Location: 8483 Kalaniana’ole Highway, Hawaii Kai; 25-minute drive from the resort.
- Good to Know: Nearby Lānaʻi Lookout and Sandy Beach Park are other worthy stargazing spots.
- Highlights: This remote state park spreads along a dramatic lava coastline on Oahu’s northwestern tip. Local legend states that this is where Hawaiian souls depart to the afterlife.
- Location: Just over a one-hour drive from the hotel. Parking is available on the north shore road, close to the Ka’ena Point Trail trailhead.
- Good to Know: Recognized as one of the darkest places on Oahu, making Milky Way sightings a likelihood.
- Highlights: On a clear night, the iconic surf beaches of Oahu’s North Shore offer some of the best stargazing in Hawaii. It’s as simple as picking a beach, sprawling out on the sand, and looking toward the sky.
- Location: Around an hour by car from the Waikiki Resort Hotel. Parking is available on the beach roads.
- Good to Know: Spend the whole day here and witness the island’s biggest surf in winter and excellent snorkeling in summer.
- Highlights: If your Hawaii adventure brings you to the Big Island, then Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must for budding astronomers. It’s open after dark and areas such as Kulanaokuaiki Campground and Nāmakanipaio Campground present clear views.
- Location: 45-minute drive from Hilo and 2.25 hours from Kailua-Kona.
- Good to Know: Eruptions can cause road closures, so check the current conditions before traveling.
- Highlights: The Mars-like landscapes of Haleakalā make stargazing here even more of an otherworldly experience. Try the Kalahaku Overlook to watch the sunset and then see the stars appear. Or head to Honomanū Bay.
- Location: The park is a 50-minute drive from Wailuku.
- Good to Know: For some tips from the experts, schedule a tour at the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory.