19 Of Hawaii's Most Epic Photo Ops

Do it for the 'gram.

10/24/2015 07:02 am ET

Hawaii is undeniably photogenic, but even in the Aloha state, some photo ops are better than others.

Vacations, after all, are as much about sharing your adventures with the folks back home as they are rest and relaxation.

Whether you’re a professional photographer, a selfie queen, or an amateur with a brand spankin' new GoPro, capturing the best of Hawaii is as simple as knowing where to go. Let us point you in the right direction.

Below, 19 photo ops too pretty to pass up. 

1. Take a dip in a crystal clear tide pool.

Make your way towards the ocean and chances are you'll stumble upon a tide pool or two. Oahu's Makapuu tide pools (pictured below) and the Big Island's Kapoho tide pools are popular for their clear waters and active wildlife. Be cautious and check the surf report. If conditions are rough, you can get swept out to sea or cut up on the rocks in the blink of an eye.

2. Pose with "The Mokes" at Lanikai Beach.

Lanikai, which frequently makes its way onto various "Best Beaches" lists, is one of Oahu's most picture-perfect spots. With its turquoise waters, soft white sand, and famous Mokulua Islands just offshore, it's no wonder tourists and locals alike flock to this beach.

3. Conquer the Awaawapuhi Hiking Trail.

Though the entirety of Kauai's Na Pali Coast just begs to be explored, the Awaawapuhi Trail is one of the crown jewels. Compared to the coast's famed Kalalau Trail, which boasts 11 miles of grueling terrain, the Awaawapuhi Trail's three miles sound like an inviting stroll -- and the view makes for a pretty epic selfie.

4. Feel the heat with the Big Island's fiery terrain.

Kilauea, which makes up the southeastern area of Hawaii's Big Island, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to a lava lake, frequent lava outbreaks, and endless fields of cooled lava. Depending on the activity of the volcano, some parts of the park may be off limits, so check closures and restrictions prior to your visit. When dealing with lava, safety always comes first.

A photo posted by EL👀A S. (@lyzzzzzz) on

5. Awaken your sense of awe at the Kalalau Lookout.

This lookout is the ultimate vantage point from which to gaze into Kalalau Valley, one of the most beautiful spots on Kauai's north shore.

A photo posted by Kate (@katefinnley) on

6. See Oahu from a whole new perspective.

If free falling over Oahu at 120 mph is your idea of a good time, head for the North Shore. Skydive Hawaii and Pacific Skydiving, both located in Waialua, offer tandem skydiving jumps with a birds eye view that's hard to beat. They'll take the photos for you -- all you have to do is jump out of a plane.

A photo posted by Mary Forbes (@marykforbes) on

7. Reach for the stars atop Mauna Kea.

The view of the Milky Way from atop Mauna Kea will make you feel like an itty-bitty speck in an incomprehensibly huge universe. Your iPhone camera won't do much good in this situation, but if you have a DSLR camera, a tripod and a long shutter speed will go a long way.

8. Sail the skies over Kaena Point.

Paragliding is a thrilling, yet relaxing way to sightsee in Hawaii. Kaena Point, the westernmost point on Oahu, is a beautiful, largely untouched part of the island, which makes for some gorgeous scenery on your glide to the ground.

9. Take the plunge at Waimea Bay.

Waimea Bay is one of the best spots on Oahu for a family beach day -- and everyone will want a photo jumping off its famous rock. Just make sure you go in the summer months. During wintertime, the bay turns into a frothing trough of monstrous waves

10. Experience seclusion at Honopu Beach.

Only the strongest of swimmers should attempt to reach Honopu Beach, which is only accessible by swimming from nearby Kalalau Beach. If you can get there, you'll likely be completely alone and utterly astonished -- its natural beauty is undeniable.

11. Befriend the ocean's most powerful predator.

Free diving with sharks is becoming a popular activity on Oahu's North Shore, and One Ocean Diving can help you do it safely. You'll come out of the experience with a new appreciation for shark conservation and an amazing set of photos.

12. Snag a selfie with Waimoku Falls.

After hiking through a dense bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail -- one of Maui's most popular hikes -- a selfie with Waimoku Falls is the perfect reward. Hawaii is bursting at the seams with cascading waterfalls, but Waimoku in particular is an ideal backdrop.

A photo posted by Clint Syftestad (@cts1994) on

13. Train your lungs like a surfer.

Weighing yourself down with a boulder and running on the ocean floor is a challenge for the legs, the lungs, and the mind. If you're looking to try it out, a sandy-bottomed bay like Waimea on Oahu is a good place to start. Just remember, holding your breath for too long can be extremely dangerous, especially for those who are less experienced in the ocean.

A photo posted by Ha'a Keaulana (@haakeaulana) on

14. Show Mother Nature's stairmaster who's boss.

The Koko Crater stairs are a leg workout like no other. After 1,048 steps and buckets of sweat, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of Oahu's east side. Stare in awe, snap a few pictures, and avoid the brutal realization that you have to make your way down for as long as possible.

15. Blend in with a pod of friendly dolphins.

Playful dolphin pods hang out in the deep blue coastal waters statewide, and tour companies like Wild Side Tours, located on Oahu's west side, will take you out on a boat to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and maybe even rare False Killer Whales.

16. Scale a banyan tree and build a nest.

Hawaii's trees are as diverse as they are beautiful. Expect to see winding banyan roots, peel away tattered rainbow eucalyptus bark, and smell the perfume of sweet plumeria. Banyans are ideal climbing trees and can grow to be huge. (Lahaina is home to a banyan so large it spans an entire city block). So scale nature's ladder and set up camp -- you won't ever want to leave.

17. Fly high over Molokai.

Compared to the other Hawaiian islands, Molokai receives few visitors. But that's not to say you shouldn't make the effort to go. The sleepy island is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world, which makes for some seriously impressive waterfalls. Book a helicopter tour to photograph them in all their towering glory. 

A photo posted by Todd Swanson (@toddhswanson) on

18. Catch a wave in Waikiki.

Sign up for a surf lesson and paddle out into the gentle waves of Waikiki. Some surf schools offer photo packages alongside their lessons. Otherwise, you'll need a partner in crime to trade off turns behind the camera.

A photo posted by Nique (@nique_miller) on

19. Chase rainbows.

Expect to see rainbows daily when visiting Hawaii, no matter what island you find yourself on. It's hard to do them justice in photos, but that shouldn't stop you from chasing them down.

A photo posted by Amanda Kutaka (@lovekimiko) on

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