Moonlit Marvels: A Night Owl's Guide to Nocturnal Adventures in Oahu

Say aloha ahiahi ("good evening" in Native Hawaiian) as the sun sets off of West Oahu and we enter the time of pō (the time of night and, mythically, the realm of the Hawaiian gods). As the neon lights of the Waikiki strip flicker on, a new world opens up — a world of thrilling nocturnal escapades and adventures that unveil a stunning, magical landscape under a shimmering arena of brilliant stars. 


Oahu Night Adventures: A Night Owl's Guide to the Best Hawaii Has to Offer

Depending on when you're visiting the Aloha State, sunset tends to happen between 6:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (you can check handy online sunset charts to see the specific sunset times when you're on the island). Some of the best places to catch Hawaii's trademark, vibrant sunsets include:

  • Shark's Cove (Northern Oahu): Perched on Oahu's fabled north shore coast just an hour's drive from Waikiki, sit under one of the numerous coconut trees and take in a stunning sunset while you explore rocky tidepools.
  • Yokohama Bay (Western Oahu): Escape the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and enjoy a sunset unimpeded by skyscrapers and large groups of tourists.
  • Ala Moana Beach Park: Found just minutes from the centrally located Waikiki Resort Hotel, it's the perfect spot for a dinnertime picnic while watching for the luminous "green flash" that occurs as the sun dips below the Pacific Ocean's horizon.

But the sunset itself is just a pu pu platter (appetizers) for the main course: As the darkness creeps in, a new world of adventure opens up on Oahu.


Nocturnal Wonders on Oahu: Moonlit Explorations and More

As the tropical sun fades, the fun is just getting started for night owls in Hawaii.


1. Go Stargazing

While light pollution is increasingly a problem in the islands, it's still a breathtaking place to see the universe up close and personal with the Milky Way stretching across the sky with a vibrancy you won't see on the U.S. continent. Some of the best places to go stargazing in Hawaii include:

  • Diamond Head State Monument: Get there before the gates close at 6 p.m.
  • Bishop Museum: Hawaii's largest museum has an indoor planetarium and often hosts stargazing events and astronomy-infused tours
  • Mount Tantalus: This Honolulu dormant volcano has sweeping views of the Honolulu skyline with equally stunning stars above

Runner-ups for stargazing include Hanauma Bay, the Lanai Lookout (if you visit in the winter and spring, you might even see whales!), and the Halona Blowhole.


2. Relax at a Beach Bonfire

Regulations and laws vary from town to town, and state rules apply, too — especially when it comes to public spaces and public parks. Check with local authorities for your location and time, but a beach bonfire is the perfect way to relax after a beautiful day of hiking, surfing, or chasing waterfalls. Some areas where locals often set up an evening beach fire include Oahu's north shore, especially the areas around Haleiwa.


3. Watch a Moonrise

Everyone talks about sunsets, but the rising of the moon (called "mahina" in Hawaiian) is equally stunning. You should check online moon charts to see when the moon is at her brightest, and the exact time she's rising. Great places to take in a moonrise include:

  • Makapu'u, which includes starlit views of a historic lighthouse
  • Lanikai Pill Boxes
  • Koko Head Crater


4. Do a Ghostly Tour of Historic Oahu's Mythology

Hawaiian is a land of ancient legends, including the stories of the nightmarchers — ghostly Hawaiian warriors devoted to protecting Hawaiian royalty. Combined with the tales imported to the islands by plantation workers from around the globe, it creates a fascinating and historical world that gives you insights into the culture and philosophy of Hawaii's locals. 

Explore these nocturnal mysteries with the numerous tours taking place in and around Honolulu, including the Waikiki Night Marchers Ghost Tour and the Ghosts of Old Honolulu Walking Tour. Most tours take place in the evening, and you'll have expert guidance through Hawaiian temples, ancient sacred spots, and haunted forests.

When the sun sets, your adventure in Oahu is just beginning. These tours, excursions, and nighttime escapades are just moments from the centrally located Waikiki Resort Hotel. Book your stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel online or call us at 1-800-367-5116 to see why our location, friendly staff, convenience, and amenities give us top ratings among our guests, night owls included.