Nuuanu Pali Lookout | Go Hawaii

Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout

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Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout, Oʻahu

What: Historical landmark and scenic spot with panoramic views
Where: Pali Highway between Honolulu and Kailua
Additional Info: More Info: No entry fee, $7 for cars

Just a five-mile drive northeast of Downtown Honolulu, the Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout offers panoramic views of the sheer Koʻolau cliffs and lush Windward Coast. Driving up the Pali Highway through tall trees and dense forests to get to the lookout, you’ll see the city disappear and the tranquil beauty of Hawaiʻi’s natural landscape emerge.

Perched over a thousand feet above the Oʻahu coastline amid mountain peaks shrouded by clouds, the stone terrace overlooks the areas of Kāneʻohe and Kailua, Mokoliʻi, and the University of Hawaiʻi’s marine biology research center, Coconut Island. Other notable landmarks that can be seen are Hawaiʻi Pacific University’s Windward campus, Kāneʻohe Marine Corps Base and the Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden, which is part of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens.

After you’ve soaked in the view, continue through the Pali Tunnels to Windward Oʻahu. As you near the bottom you’ll face a “tough” decision: go straight to the buzzing beach town of Kailua or turn left through Kāneʻohe and follow the lush coastline to Haleʻiwa and Waimea Bay on Oʻahu’s famed North Shore.

The Pali Lookout is a site of deep historical significance. Named “Pali” meaning "cliff" in Hawaiian, the Pali Lookout is the site of the Battle of Nuʻuanu, where in 1795 King Kamehameha I won the struggle that finally united Oʻahu under his rule. This fierce battle claimed hundreds of soldiers’ lives, many of which were forced off of the Pali’s sheer cliffs.

Note that the Pali Lookout is also known for its strong and howling winds. You’ll understand why the Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout is one of Oʻahu’s best scenic points when you feel the wind push up against you, hear the winds whistle through the mountains and see the breathtaking views of Oʻahu’s lush Windward Coast.